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Freedom of Information Act

Uncle Sam 
Government Publications Department
Tennessee Regional Depository
FOIA Information "...The Freedom of Information Act has played a unique role in strengthening our democratic form of government. The statute was enacted based upon the fundamental principle that an informed citizenry is essential to the democratic process and that the more the American people know about their government the better they will be governed..." ~ William J. Clinton

Publications of interest:
Executive Order 12958 Classified National Security Information
Amendment to Executive Order 12958
Your Right to Federal Records
Report of the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy 1997
Citizen's Guide on Using FOIA and the Privacy Act of 1974 to Request Government Information

Department of Agriculture
Before you make a FOIA request check out the various agency Electronic Reading Rooms to see if the information you need is there. If not read the section on how to make a request and then send your request by e-mail to the appropriate agency.

Department of Education
Contains a reading room and instructions on how to make a request for information.

Department of Energy
There is so much at this site it's difficult to know where to begin. A good place to start is DOE FOIA Program. There are other databases here as well with two of the more interesting being the Historical Nuclear Weapons Test Films Database and the Human Radiation Experiments Database.

Department of Health & Human Services
Contains public use data files, request information, and offices for the various agencies within HHS.

Housing & Urban Development
Contains handbook, reports to Congress and current reading room.

Department of Interior
Check out the Electronic Reading Room to find frequently requested documents, some are full-text online. Other areas of interest are the contacts, policy and guidelines, and the frequently asked questions page.

Department of Justice
FOIA reference guides, proposed regulations, contacts and links to DOJ Agency Electronic Reading Rooms.

Department of Labor
Has links to DOL Agencies with FOIA sites, annual reports, reading rooms, and more.

Department of State
Search frequently requested State Department FOIA documents online and view them in PDF format.

Department of the Treasury
Check out the Electronic Reading Room to find frequently requested documents.

Veterans Affairs
Contains documents, reading room, guides, and annual reports.


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
In addition to the APHIS FOIA Guide, the agency has placed reports on its site involving animal welfare, imports and exports, financial reports, and wildlife damage management. A search engine is also available.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
The Electronic Reading Room offers the ATF Users Guide, GILS Index, and an index of documents which require a FOIA request. "Perfected" requests must be made in writing.


Bureau of the Public Debt
Vast amount of information here. BPD suggests that you take a look at what is currently available at their site and if you still can't find what you need then you can e-mail your request.

Central Intelligence Agency
The recently developed Electronic Document Release Center has a Popular Documents page containing declassified information on some of the more highly publicized spy cases and UFO information. In addition to popular reports the CIA has a search engine which allows you to search for declassified full-text documents issued prior to 1996. If you still want more declassified information the CIA has The Center for the Study of Intelligence which conducts research on intelligence from an historical perspective. The Center publishes classified and unclassified editions of journals, books, monographs and a quarterly newsletter.

Civil Rights Division (DOJ)
The Electronic Reading Room contains the FOIA requested documents concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Consumer Product Safety Commission
Commission briefing packages, in-depth investigation and incident reports, manufacturer investigation files and much more are available in PDF format for 1997-1998.

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Elvis Presley, John Wayne, Klaus Barbie, Project Blue Book, John Dillinger, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. What do these people/things have in common? FBI files that's what and you can read the declassified records at the FBI web site. All files are in PDF format.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Visit the Electronic Reading Room to view a limited number of most requested NASA FOIA documents including documents about Cassini, the controversial NASA mission to Saturn. Also available is a guide to requesting documents and who to contact when making a request.

National Archives and Records Administration
There are several guides to the many federal records held in the National Archives. The FOIA guide is a list of declassified documents held at NARA as described under Executive Order 12958.

National Endowment for the Arts
Excellent guide to what it is, how to make a request, fees involved, and what to do if your request is denied by the NEA.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Extensive information on how to submit FOIA requests, fees, appeals, policies and reports. At this time NOAA's Electronic Reading Room is available only at their Public Reference Facility located in Silver Spring, Maryland, however you can view the NOAA FOIA Annual Report, Organization Directory and National Weather Service Operation Assessment at this site as these are NOAA's most requested FOIA documents.

National Reconnaissance Office
Corona was the one of the first U.S. photo-reconnaissance satellites. Thanks to E.O. 12958 you can now view online video clips from Corona, The Movie, photographs, find out who the pioneers were as well as system information.

National Science Foundation
General information about requesting NSF FOIA documents including a guide, FOIA annual reports, frequently requested records, and electronic request forms.

National Security Agency
Available online is the FOIA Handbook but at this site you will want to check out FOIA Released Records to find the many declassified NSA documents relating to UFO's (note all of these are in PDF format) as well as the Venona Project which provides a window into Soviet espionage in the 1940's.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission
A lot of NRC information is already available in the Public Document Room and the Reading Room. If you don't find what you're looking for in the PDR's then check out other areas of the website to learn how to submit a foia request to the NRC.

Office of Inspector General (DOJ)
Minimal amount of information here about FOIA requests. However the Special Reports Electronic Reading Room contains reports of some of the most high-profile investigations of the last few years such as the "Good Ol' Boys Roundup" and alleged misconduct in explosives-related (Oklahoma City Bombing, World Trade Center Bombing) and other cases (O.J. Simpson).

Office of Personnel Management
Before filing a request be sure to check out the Reference Guide and also the Reading Room which contains frequently requested documents. If you still need help a list of contacts is also at the website.

Small Business Administration
Extensive amount of information can be found in the FOIA Reading Rooms. In addition there is the SBA mission, staff directory, FAQ's, and guides on how to submit and/or appeal FOIA requests.

Social Security Administration
Search FOIA requested documents by keyword an view many SSA publications online.

United States Information Agency
Although the agency's FOIA documents aren't online you can search the FOIA database at their web site. Once you have the information in hand you can make your request in writing. All the information you need can be found here.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
In the FOIA Reading Room you can view the most frequently requested PTO documents, final decisions, and annual reports. Other areas of interest inform you about FOIA exemptions, fees and how to submit your requests.

Veterans Administration
The most requested documents are located in the Electronic Reading Room but there are very few at this time. More informative is the Agency Policy page which has the same headings as the ERR but so much more information is available under the policy heading.



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Last Updated: 11/28/12