January 15, 1997.

Reference: F96-1718

Dear Mr. Nguyen:

This is in response to your 7 October 1996 letter in which you appealed the 2 October 1996 determination of this agency in response to your 28 August 1996 Freedom of Information Act request for:

"a copy of [this] Agency's declassified file on General Nguyen Van Hieu of the South Vietnamese Army." You stated that "[h]e is [your] brother and was killed in his office at the headquarters of the Third Corps stationed at Bien Hoa, where he held the position of Deputy Commander of the Third Corps, two weeks before the fall of Saigon into the hands of the North Vietnamese Communist in April 1975." You further stated that "[a]t that time he was in close relationship with Mr. Richard Peters who was the American General Consul in Bien Hoa at that time."

Specifically, you appeals our determination to neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request on the basis of Freedom of Information Act exemptions(b)(1) and (b)(3).

Your appeal has been presented to the appropriate member of the Agency Release Panel, Mr. William H. McNair, Information Review Officer for the Directorate of Operations. Pursuant to the authority delegated under paragraph 1900.51(a) of Chapter XIV, Title 32 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.), Mr. McNair has determined that we must neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of any records which indicate any analytic or operational interest in the subject of your request. He has determined that such information, that is, whether or not any responsive records exist, would be classified for reasons of national security under Sections 1.5(c) [intelligence sources and methods] and 1.5(d) [foreign relations] of Executive Order 12958. Further, the fact of the existence or nonexistence of such documents would relate directly to information concerning intelligence sources and methods which the Director of Central Intelligence has the responsibility to protect from unauthorized disclosure in accordance with Subsection 102(d)(3) of the National Security Act of 1947 and Section 6 of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949. Accordingly, pursuant to Freedom of Information Act exemptions (b)(1) and (b) (3), your appeal is denied. By this statement, we are neither confirming nor denying that any such documents exist. Further, in regard to your appeal and in accordance with CIA regulations appearing at 32 C.F.R. paragraph 1900.51(b), the Agency Release Panel, meeting as a committee of the whole, has affirmed this determination.

In accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to seek judicial review of this determination in a United States district court.

We appreciate your patience while your appeal was being considered.


Edmund Cohen, Chairman, Agency Release Panel