Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Types of Requests

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Review

  • Classified Documents
    • NARA reviewers do not have the authority to declassify information.
    • Copies of classified documents must be sent to equity agencies for review.  Due to the complexities of coordinating the review with other agencies, this will not be a quick process.
  • Unclassified Documents
    • May contain other sensitive information restricted under the provision of the FOIA.
    • Each document is reviewed line by line by NARA FOIA staff.
    • Redactions are made to remove specific words or portions of a document in order to release as much as possible.
  • A FOIA request is the best way to request small volumes of records (specifically documents, folders or a single box).
  • All DOJ and FBI case files must be requested under the FOIA.

Mandatory Review (MDR) Requests Under Executive Order 13526

  • MDR requests may only be submitted for classified documents (unclassified documents must be submitted under the FOIA or Special Review).
     
  • NARA reviewers do not have the authority to declassify information.
    • Copies of classified documents must be sent to equity agencies for review.
    • Due to the complexities of coordinating review with other agencies, this will not be a fast process.

Special Review Requests

  • Special Review
    • Review is conducted under the General Access Restrictions of the National Archives.
    • All documents are reviewed using a pass/fail review process.
    • Researchers will be notified if documents have been withdrawn during this process.
    • These reviews tend to be faster (depending on the volume of the request and the size of the review backlog), but may not result in the release of all possible information.
       
  • This is the best way to request volumes of unclassified records totaling more than one box.
     
  • Requestors still have the right to file a FOIA request on any withdrawn documents.

 

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