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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



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Recordkeeping Issues - CENTCOM indicated to the Archive that it has a high staff turnover, including rotating FOIA officers, in its FOIA office and that there are delays in transfers of records.
Ten Oldest - CENTCOM responded approximately 184 business days after the request was made, reporting ten FOIA requests ranging from October 10, 2002 to January 16, 2003. These ten concern records regarding implementation of White House Chief of Staff's Andrew Card's March 19, 2002 memorandum regarding safeguarding information concerning weapons of mass destruction, a news media request for records regarding the investigation into the death of Army Chief Warrant Officer Stanley L. Harriman in Afghanistan, news media requests regarding security breaches at CENTCOM between 1990 and 2002, records regarding inspector general inquiries concerning various personnel, military whistleblowers, details regarding CENTCOM personnel and expenditures by CENTCOM.
Workload Statistics - Although CENTCOM's reported statistics from 1998 through 2002 indicate that the agency has received an increasing number of FOIA requests (up 45% from 31 in 1998 to 45 in 2002), the number processed each year also has increased (up 68% from 25 processed in 1998 to 42 processed in 2002). CENTCOM's processing rate per year -- a comparison of the number of requests processed to the number received -- increased from 80.65% in 1998 to 93.33% in 2002.
Backlog Statistics - CENTCOM's backlog of pending FOIA requests has remained stable (12 FOIA requests pending at the end of 1998 and 12 FOIA requests pending at the end of 2002). CENTCOM's backlog as a percentage of FOIA requests processed each year has decreased from 48% in 1998 to 28.57% in 2002. Its backlog rate per year -- a comparison of the number of requests pending at the end of the year to the number received during that year -- has decreased from 38.71% in 1998 to 26.67% in 2002.
Processing Time - CENTCOM reports a median processing time of 52 days for 2002. The median processing time has ranged from a median of 33 days to a median of 52 days over the 1998-2002 period. The median days that backlogged requests have been pending is reported as 45 days for 2002. The FOIA request for the Ten Oldest FOIA Requests, however, was pending more than 180 business days. No processing times are reported for expedited requests.


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