Unauthorized Disposition of Federal Records
Under 44 USC 3106 and 36 CFR Part 1230, "Unlawful or Accidental Removal, Defacing, Alteration, or Destruction of Records," Federal agencies are required to "notify the Archivist of any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal, defacing, alteration, corruption, deletion, erasure, or other destruction of records in the custody of the agency." NARA also receives notifications from other sources such as the news media and private citizens. NARA establishes unauthorized disposition case files to track each allegation and any communications with the agency until the issue is resolved.
The Records Management Oversight and Reporting Program is responsible for handling all unauthorized disposition cases. For more information or to report a case of unauthorized disposition, please contact us via email at UnauthorizedDisposition@nara.gov.
The table below lists all open and closed cases for the current fiscal year and includes pdf files of open and close letters (when available or permissible) for each case from NARA to the agency. The unauthorized disposition case file contains more information including the communications between NARA and the agency. If you would like more information on a case, please contact the NARA Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office to file a FOIA request for the case information. Please use the Case ID indicated on the below table in your FOIA request. You can also see records previously requested in the FOIA Electronic Reading Room.
The table is updated monthly. At the end of the fiscal year, the closed cases will be removed from the table and saved on the Unauthorized Dispositions Closed Cases web page. For information on any cases that closed prior to the end of Fiscal Year 2017, please refer to NARA's Annual Performance and Accountability Reports. Please note Performance and Accountability Reports prior to the 2008 report do not contain information on unauthorized disposition cases. For additional information on older cases, you can review this spreadsheet of all cases that were opened prior to October 1, 2016.
As of October 9, 2018, there are currently 21 open cases and one closed case.
Current Fiscal Year
|Agency||Secondary Agency||Case Open Date||Case Close Date||Records||Status||Case ID||Case Letters|
|Agency for International Development||7/18/2016||OIG records including employee travel files, performance evaluations, audit report, prior strategic plans, prior semiannual reports to Congress, prior versions (1998) of the Guidelines for Financial Audits Contracted by Foreign Recipients||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2016-0017||UD-2016-0017 Open|
|American Battle Monuments Commission||7/11/2017||Erroneous disposal and removal of various ABMC records and uncaptured emails of ABMC commissioners.||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2017-0025||UD-2017-0025 Open|
|Commerce||U.S. Patent and Trademark Office||2/10/2016||The potential unauthorized disposition of records related to the sale of patent documents to the owner of Riverby Books in Washington, DC.||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2016-0005|
|Environmental Protection Agency||7/10/2018||Allegation made by media that former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's official calendar were altered or removed.||Pending NARA review/follow-up||UD-2018-0018||UD-2018-0018 Open|
|Homeland Security||2/21/2017||Email using private (non-.gov) account for Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Chief of Staff Christian Marrone, & General Counsel Steven Bunnell. All emails dating from December 23, 2013 through the present.||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2017-0018||UD-2017-0018 Open|
|Homeland Security||Customs and Border Protection||7/11/2018||Media reported that Customs and Border Protection officials were altering or deleting records of families crossing the border between Mexico and the United States.||Pending NARA review/follow-up||UD-2018-0019||UD-2018-0019 Open|
|Homeland Security||Customs and Border Protection||10/5/2018||Border Surveillance Systems Records (BSS).||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2019-0002||UD-2019-0002 Open|
|Justice||Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms & Explosives||9/5/2017||Laboratory Case files generated between 1976 and 1991||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2017-0032||UD-2017-0032 Open|
|Justice||Executive Office for United States Attorneys||10/29/2018||Records related to USA v. Valera, et al.||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2019-0004||UD-2019-0004 Open|
|Justice||Federal Bureau of Investigation||2/18/2014||FBI Case Files: Case files were identified as missing through the normal course of conducting business, through updating the FBI's records disposition tracking systems, and through the FBI's efforts to inventory its entire records collection.||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2014-0001||No letter available|
|Justice||Federal Bureau of Investigation||1/23/2018||Text messages and emails from government and personal devices and accounts pertaining to FBI business.||Ongoing Investigation||UD-2018-0003||UD-2018-0003 Open|
|Social Security Administration||5/21/2018||A relatively small grouping of Earnings Records (referred to hereafter as “1086 film”) stored on cellulose acetate-based microfilm has begun to deteriorate through a process called “Vinegar Syndrome”, whereby the film outgasses acetic acid and becomes warped, brittle, curled and over time, unusable.||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2018-0015||UD-2018-0015 Open|
|State||3/3/2015||Alienation of Federal email records created or received by Sec. Clinton (2009-2013) from the State's official recordkeeping system. Potential alienation of email records created or received by former Secretaries of State dating back to Sec. Albright.||Ongoing litigation||UD-2015-0005||UD-2015-0005 Open|
|State||9/4/2015||Alienation of Federal email records created or received by senior embassy staff including Amb. Caroline Kennedy, and overall management of records at Embassy Tokyo, Japan.||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2015-0006||UD-2015-0006 Open|
|State||8/8/2016||Possible emergency destruction of Central African Republic embassy records; Amb. Lewis Lukens' e-mails that he deleted; U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Michael Ratney's e-mails that he deleted; Alleged destruction of Sec. Clinton's schedules.||Pending NARA review/follow-up||UD-2016-0022||UD-2016-0022 Open|
|Treasury||Bureau of Engraving Printing||8/24/2017||Preliminary product design records (for currency, etc.) disposed of without an approved schedule.||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2017-0031||UD-2017-0031 Open|
|Treasury||Internal Revenue Service||5/15/2018||Alienation of IRS Federal Advisory Committee Act email records.||Pending agency review/follow-up||UD-2018-0010||UD-2018-0010 Open|
A Forest Service employee in the Pacific Northwest Region has admitted to stealing Agency financial records and states that the records have been provided to her attorney.
|Commerce||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration||7/10/2017||10/15/2018||
NOAA might illegally be destroying records (electronic messages through Skype and Google Chat) of a recent meeting discussing new regulations against the fishing industry.
|Environmental Protection Agency||10/26/2018||11/29/2018||EPA OIG closed audit reports, from 2007-2011. During a review of audit files EPA found that some audit files were found to be incomplete and did not contain all expected audit records. EPA believes that some records were inadvertently deleted during a January 2011 file migration.||Founded||UD-2019-0006||UD-2019-0006 Open/Close|
|Environmental Protection Agency||2/16/2017||10/31/2018||
Use of encryption messaging application, Signal, to achieve specific goals circumventing the governments ability to monitor communication related to government business and to covertly avoid federal records requirements
|Defense||Office of Inspector General||6/23/2015||10/5/2018||
Former and current DoD IG employees Lynne Halbooks and Henry Shelley are subjects of court investigation that they allegedly destroyed documents in DoD IG's investigation of former NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake.
|Defense||Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences||5/23/2018||12/11/2018||
Wound Data Munitions Effectiveness Team (WDMET) electronic records and audio recordings.
|Health and Human Services||Centers for Medicare and Medicaid||10/2/2018||11/9/2018||
Documents submitted via Healthcare.gov pertaining to income of healthcare applicants.Pending agency review/follow-up
|Homeland Security||Transportation Security Administration||12/3/2018||12/4/2018||
Temporary TSA records destroyed due to mold & mildew contamination after exposure to flooding and wind damage sustained from Hurricane Irma. Records include: financial purchase card & travel card records; leave request, overtime request, and shift bid forms; vehicle tracking, maintenance, and service records; emergency preparedness exercise records; official correspondence with the Virgin Island Port Authority; and property hand receipts.
|Transportation||Federal Aviation Administration||6/13/2018||10/15/2018||
The FAA Academy trains and evaluates air traffic controllers in simulators that have an audio recording capability. This capability records ambient audio as well as audio directly from the headset of the air traffic control trainee as he speaks instructions to aircraft in the simulator. The FAA admitted that it does not have a retention schedule for such records. Instead, the FAA claimed they must delete the audio within 7 days due to “space limitations."