See Article History Alternative Title: Johnson on July 4,that granted American citizens the right to see the contents of files maintained about them by federal executive branch agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigationthe State and Defense departments, and the Internal Revenue Service. The FOIA, a codification of the amendment to the Administrative Procedure Act ofwent into effect a year after it was signed and has since been amended many times. It should be noted that files maintained by Congressthe judicial systemand state governments are not covered by the federal FOIA, although many states and courts have similar access rules for their own files.
The Act provides that any person has a right which is enforceable in federal court, to maintain access to records of any federal agency, The impact of the freedom of information act of 1966 for those documents which are exempt from disclosure by one of nine specific exemptions.
This outline sets forth the manner by which a person with no legal training may gain access to the workings of the agencies of the government of the United States by means of the mechanisms of FOIA. A successful FOIA requester will always remember and incorporate the following simple rules: Whenever you speak with agency personnel on the telephone, get their name and make sure that they know you are writing it down e.
These surprisingly elementary points are fundamental to establishing the groundwork of a successful FOIA request but are often surprisingly overlooked by otherwise savvy activists. The result being that documents which should be disclosed are not, cases which should be won, are lost. The purpose of this statute is to shed light "on an agency's performance of its statutory duties.
The FOIA creates the presumption that records in the possession of agencies and departments of the executive branch of the U. Before the FOIA became law on July 4,the burden was on the requester to establish a right to examine government records.
Moreover, there were no statutory guidelines or procedures in place to help a person seeking information as was there no provision for judicial review for those denied access. When FOIA was signed into law, the burden of proof shifted from the individual to the government.
Those seeking information were no longer required to show a need for information. Instead, the "need to know'" standard was replaced by a "right to know'" doctrine.
The government now has the burden to justify a need for secrecy in order to withhold requested information. The FOIA sets standards for determining which records must be disclosed and which records may be withheld. The law also provides administrative and judicial remedies for those denied access to records.
Above all, the law requires Federal agencies to provide the fullest possible disclosure of information to the public. The crux of FOIA is to make Federal agencies accountable for information disclosure policies and practices.
While the Act does not grant an absolute right to examine government documents, it does establish the right to request records and to receive a response to the request.
If a record cannot be released, the requester is entitled to be formally advised of the reason for the denial.
The requester also has a right to appeal the denial and, if necessary, to challenge it in court. Consequently, access to information of the Federal Government can no longer be controlled by arbitrary or unreviewable actions of a hidden bureaucracy.
It will serve you well to remember that should you be confronted by an obstructionist bureaucrat who is clearly not going to provide you with materials to which you feel you are lawfully entitled, do not argue or quarrel.
Rather, in such a situation the best retort because it is the response most likely to ensure your ultimate access to the desired information is to do everything you can to ensure that you have created an adequate record for review at the next level as afforded by FOIA.
You are not likely to accomplish anything productive if you fall into an argumentative posture with the agency and you will probably tarnish the administrative record which you require to win on appeal.
To be fair, the role of the agency FOIA staffer is not always as straightforward as one would hope. Administering FOIA requires making determinations of fact, law, and policy. To do this adequately is sometimes a large or complex task, especially when requests are for records that may be numerous or sensitive.
Difficulties are often magnified by new or conflicting court decisions; by gaps in an agency's knowledge, resources, organization, or training; by a need to involve other agencies; or by a need to reconcile divergent policies.
Correspondingly, it is usually appropriate to give the agency the benefit of the doubt the first time you encounter a problem in regard to your request.
In that situation, we recommend that you do what you can to work with the agency to facilitate resolution of the problem. However, if you continue to encounter resistance, it is probably safe to assume that the real obstacle is intentional agency opposition to disclosure and you should then do everything you can to make a good record for review.
Primarily, as the name of the amendments suggest, the congressional intent was to force agencies to open a great majority of their records to automated access via the electronic phenomenon of the 's; the Internet. Congress found that "Government agencies increasingly use computers to conduct agency business and to store publicly valuable agency records and information; and.
Government agencies should use new technology to enhance public access to agency records and information.
Accordingly, if you have access to a computer with a modem and a web-browser, you may now get information from an agency's site on the Internet which previously required the time and difficulty of submitting a written FOIA request.
However, not all of the agencies have complied with the mandates set forth in the amendments as well as required by law and there is also a significant variability in the quality and "user-friendliness" of the differing sites.
These issues will be discussed below in more detail. FOIA is unique in the world for effectuating the concept of public disclosure of internal governmental operations. FOIA allows "any person" to request materials. FOIA applies to any "agency records" which are documents which are 1 either created or obtained by an agency, and 2 under agency control at the time of the FOIA request.
Dep't of Justice v. Tax Analysts, U.5 USC § et seq. () The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law that generally provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records.
The Ashcroft Memo was rescinded by Attorney General Eric Holder on March 14, The AG Holder Memo appears to have reinstated the Reno Memo standard and extends the policy.
The policy of the executive branch is to be open, responsive, transparent, and accountable. The War on Poverty [This is a huge and controversial topic that may be too large and complex for a History & Timeline timberdesignmag.com the mids, Freedom Movement activists hold a wide range of views on LBJ's War on Poverty program (WoP): Some Movement activists, particular at the local level, see it as a sincere effort to alleviate poverty and an opportunity for them to significantly better.
TOP. Opinion. WARREN, C.J., Opinion of the Court. MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court. The cases before us raise questions which go to the roots of our concepts of American criminal jurisprudence: the restraints society must observe consistent with the Federal Constitution in prosecuting individuals for crime.
Find all documents that contain the word. Stuck? Use our browse tips. The Freedom of Information Act - Summary. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which can be found in Title 5 of the United States Code, section , was signed into law in and provides that any person has the right of .