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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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Ten Oldest - DOE responded approximately 147 business days after the request was made; it reported ten FOIA requests ranging from May 14, 1991 to August 7, 1996. The requests seek records related to the Atomic Energy Commission involvement in U.S.-U.K. military nuclear cooperation in 1952-1958, records regarding the operation of the T, B and Redox plants at Hanford from December 1944 to December 1954, human exposure to iodine, ruthenium and/or plutonium at the same location during the same period, and a number of additional specified reports, letters and other documentation from the same period, Atomic Energy Commission document cited in the book "Atoms for Peace and War, 1953-1961," contract correspondence from 1946-1965, records regarding incidents at the Medina Base Plant in San Antonio, Texas in November 1963, declassification of footnote files from the book "Atoms for Peace and War, 1953-1961," documents concerning the possibility of nuclear armament of Japan, a report entitled "Nuclear Weapons Surety: Annual Report to the President" from the years 1985 to the present, and intelligence reports that the Atomic Energy Commission may have produced concerning a possible Chinese nuclear weapons test from August to October 1964.
Workload Statistics - DOE's reported statistics from 1998 through 2002 indicate that the agency has received a growing number of FOIA requests (up 27% from 2288 in 1998 to 2900 in 2002). The number processed each year also has increased (up 43.4% from 2314 processed in 1998 to 3319 processed in 2002). DOE's processing rate per year -- a comparison of the number of requests processed to the number received - increased from 101.14% in 1998 to 114.45% in 2002.
Backlog Statistics - DOE's backlog of pending FOIA requests has increased (from 741 FOIA requests pending at the end of 1998 to 1027 FOIA requests pending at the end of 2002). DOE's backlog as a percentage of FOIA requests processed each year has decreased from 32.02% in 1998 to 30.94% 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 increased from 32.39% in 1998 to 35.41% in 2002.
Processing Time - Under its two track system, DOE reports a median processing time in 2002 for simple requests of 75 days, but the processing time has ranged during the 1998-2002 period from 16-211 days. Complex requests during 1998-2002 have ranged from a median of 55-1788 days (up to 7 years), with 238 days reported in 2002. Expedited requests have a median processing time range of 4-118 days over the 1998-2002 time period. The median days that backlogged requests have been pending is reported as 97 for 2002, although it has ranged from 24-2090 (up to eight years) during the 1998-2002 periods.



DOE Response Letter

DOE May 14, 1991 Letter

DOE December 20, 1991 (1) Letter

DOE December 20, 1991 (2) Letter

DOE November 22, 1993 Letter

DOE April 11, 1994 Letter

DOE August 5, 1994 Letter

DOE February 13, 1995 Letter

DOE January 25, 1996 Letter

DOE July 8, 1996 Letter

DOE August 7, 1996 Letter


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