home | about | documents | news | postings | FOIA | research | internships | search | donate | mailing list

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

The Ten Oldest Pending FOIA Requests

The National Security Archive
Freedom of Information Act Audit

Press Release
Executive Summary
The Ten Oldest FOIA Requests in the Federal Government
Chart - Agency Response Times
Table - Oldest Outstanding FOIA Requests
Findings Regarding The Ten Oldest FOIA Requests and FOIA Backlogs
Summary Discussion of Individual Agencies
Update on Phase One: The Ashcroft Memorandum
FOIA Audit Phase One: The Ashcroft Memo



Download the entire report in Adobe PDF format (927 KB)

Note: Many documents on this Website are in Adobe PDF format.
You will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

Recordkeeping Issues - AID reported that its database was not designed in a manner that permitted it to easily identify its oldest FOIA requests.
Ten Oldest - AID responded approximately 21 business days after the request was made; it reported ten FOIA requests ranging from October 14, 1997 to October 19, 1998. Of these, six were news media requests from the Chicago Tribune relating to Save the Children's Mali operations, itemized contracts and records regarding international food programs, and related material, including performance evaluations and financial analyses concerning grants. The remaining four requests are requests for proposals and contracts entered into by AID, and related materials, possibly filed by unsuccessful contract bidders.
Workload Statistics - Although AID's reported statistics from 1998 through 2002 indicate that the agency has received a diminishing number of FOIA requests (down 28% from 294 in 1998 to 212 in 2002), the number processed each year also has decreased (down 16% from 263 processed in 1998 to 222 processed in 2002). AID's processing rate per year - a comparison of the number processed to the number received - dipped from 89.46% in 1998 down to 81.50% in 2001 and then up again to 104.72% in 2002.
Backlog Statistics - AID's backlog of pending FOIA requests has increased (from 99 FOIA requests pending at the end of 1998 to 148 FOIA requests pending at the end of 2002). AID's backlog as a percentage of FOIA requests processed each year has increased from 37.64% in 1998 to 66.67% in 2002. Its backlog rate by year - a comparison of those requests pending at the end of the year to those received during that year - has increased from 31.29% in 1998 to 69.81% in 2002.
Processing Time - While its median days to process has ranged from 36-52 days over the 1998-2002 period, AID reports that the median days that backlogged requests have been pending has increased from 149 to 356 days. The 5-6 year backlog for the Ten Oldest FOIA Requests described above show that some requests suffer a much more extensive wait, as those have been pending between 1250 to 1500 business days. No processing times are reported for expedited requests.



AID Response Letter

AID October 14, 1997 Letter

AID October 21, 1997 Letter

AID November 4, 1997 Letter

AID April 6, 1998 Letter

AID July 6, 1998 Letter

AID July 23, 1998 Letter

AID October 2, 1998 Letter

AID October 5, 1998 Letter

AID October 7, 1998 Letter

AID October 19, 1998 Letter

Contents of this website Copyright 1995-2017 National Security Archive. All rights reserved.
Terms and conditions for use of materials found on this website.