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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 - FBI advised the search would take some time because the Ten Oldest FOIA Requests are older than the database used to search for records.
Ten Oldest - FBI responded approximately 130 business days after the request was made; it reported eight FOIA requests ranging from November 9, 1987 to May 28, 2000. The agency withheld two FOIA requests in their entirety because they were "first party" requests from people asking for information about themselves. This response was appealed on August 26, 2003, but no decision on the appeal has been received. The FOIA requests that were provided concerned a 1987 request that revises an original broader request submitted in 1981 regarding Mr. Seth Rosenfeld's research into FBI activities in the Berkeley Area and at the University of California, a copy of the FBI headquarters file maintained under the name "Central Intelligence Agency" (file number 62-80750), records concerning a deceased Cuban national Jorge Mas Canosa, the Cuban American National Foundation, investigations into individuals and organizations in the United States concerning actions to harm Cuba, complaints by Cuba concerning U.S. flyovers, and concerning an outbreak of African swine fever in Cuba in 1971, files on specified chapters of the Black Panthers, files relating to Abraham Johannes Muste, files on Leon Hirsch Keyserling, investigation of First Chicago Corp executives taking kickbacks, and information concerning General Jose Pedraza from Cuba.
Workload Statistics - FBI's reported statistics from 1998 through 2002 indicate that the agency has received a varying number of FOIA requests from a high of 23,889 in 2000 to a low of 15,024 in 2002 (down 4.79% from 15,780 in 1998 to 15,024 in 2002). The number processed each year rose for several years to a high of 27,519 in 2000, but recently decreased (down 26.91% from 20,344 processed in 1998 to 14,869 processed in 2002). FBI's processing rate per year -- a comparison of the number of requests processed to the number received -- decreased from 128.92% in 1998 to 98.97% in 2002.
Backlog Statistics - FBI's backlog of pending FOIA requests has decreased (from 10,816 FOIA requests pending at the end of 1998 to 2,633 FOIA requests pending at the end of 2002). FBI's backlog as a percentage of FOIA requests processed each year has decreased from 53.17% in 1998 to 17.71% 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 68.54% in 1998 to 17.53% in 2002.
Processing Time - Under its two track system, FBI reports a median processing time in 2002 for simple requests of 67 days, while it reports a median in 2002 for complex requests of 336-447.5 days. Expedited requests have a median processing time of 2337 reported for 1999 and have ranged from 58-118 days over 2000-2002 time period. The median days that backlogged requests have been pending is reported as 90 for 2002.



FBI Response Letter

FBI Response Letter 2

FBI November 9, 1987 Letter

FBI May 1, 1992 Letter

FBI December 8, 1992 Letter

FBI January 17, 1994 Letter

FBI May 2, 1994 Letter

FBI 1997 Letter

FBI August 3, 1998 Letter

FBI May 28, 2000 Letter


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