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FOIA Basics

Effective FOIA Requesting for Everyone - A National Security Archive Guide
Making the FOIA Work for You
Follow a Request Through the FOIA Process (pdf)
Classification of Government Information
FOIA Audits
Noteworthy News Stories Made Possible by FOIA Documents
Government Guidance, Directives and Statistics on FOIA
Legislative History of FOIA
Archive's Litigation (coming soon)
International FOIA
FOIA Links
Declassification, Reclassification, and Redeclassification (PowerPoint - 14 MB)
Secrecy and Declassification in Foreign Policy Records
(PowerPoint - 15 MB)


The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law ensuring public access to U.S. government records. FOIA carries a presumption of disclosure; the burden is on the government - not the public - to substantiate why information may not be released. Upon written request, agencies of the United States government are required to disclose those records, unless they can be lawfully withheld from disclosure under one of nine specific exemptions in the FOIA. This right of access is ultimately enforceable in federal court.

Text of the FOIA

What's New

April 17, 2008
Ruling on Preservation of White House E-Mails Awaited
New Law Proposed to Address Destruction of Electronic Records

April 24, 2008
Court Sets Deadline for White House Answers on Missing E-mail
Magistrate Judge Cites "Lack of Precision" in White House Statements

May 6, 2008
House Backups are Incomplete, May Not Contain Some Missing E-mails

Court Filing Says White House Cannot Identify Hard Drives in Use When E-mails Were Lost

March 20, 2008
FOI in Practice: Analysis of the Mexican FOI System
Archive publishes first comprehensive analysis of the Mexican freedom of information law

March 19, 2008
Treasury Wins 2008 "Rosemary Award" as Worst FOIA Agency

National Security Archive Annual Award Cites Shredded Letters, Decade-Long Delays, and Sub-Prime Performance

March 18, 2008
Court orders White House to show cause why it should not create forensic copies of all electronic media
Seeks means to protect missing e-mails in response to Archive lawsuit

March 16, 2008
Mixed Signals, Mixed Results

The Knight Open Government Survey
How President Bush's Executive Order on FOIA Failed to Deliver


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