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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 - NASA informed the Archive that it had recently been inundated with FOIA requests due to the Space Shuttle tragedy and that it would take some time to process the request.
Ten Oldest - NASA responded 178 days after the initial FOIA request. It provided ten requests dating from July 12, 2001 - April 3, 2003. These requests concerned shipments of big leafed mahogany detained by U.S. authorities upon entry into the United States from Latin America from January 2002 to present (a referral of one document from the Department of Interior, and a referral of a request submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), correspondence and records of Ted Kassinger, General Counsel of the Commerce Department (a referral from the Department of Commerce), NRO Directive NROD 82-6 "NRO Space Debris Mitigation Policy," and several referrals of records that other agencies, including NRO, Department of Commerce and Department of State, determined contained NASA equities.
Workload Statistics - Although NASA's reported statistics from 1998 through 2002 indicate that the agency has received a decreasing number of FOIA requests (down 20.10% from 2144 in 1998 to 1713 in 2002), the number processed each year also has decreased (down 18.50% from 2114 processed in 1998 to 1723 processed in 2002). NASA's processing rate per year -- a comparison of the number of requests processed to the number received - increased from 98.60% in 1998 to 100.58% in 2002.
Backlog Statistics - NASA's backlog of pending FOIA requests has decreased (from 230 FOIA requests pending at the end of 1998 to 137 FOIA requests pending at the end of 2002). NASA's backlog as a percentage of FOIA requests processed each year has decreased from 10.88% in 1998 to 7.95% 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 7.70% in 1998 to 8.00% in 2002.
Processing Time - While its median days to process simple requests has ranged from 15-24 days over the 1998-2002 period, the median days to process complex requests has ranged from 27-45 days over the 1998-2002 period. Expedited requests have been processed in 3-20 days over the 1998-2002 time period. The median days that backlogged requests have been pending has 31 to 78 days over the 1998-2002 period, with 44 days reported for 2002.



NASA Response Letter

NASA July 12, 2001 Letter

NASA February 1, 2002 Letter

NASA December 9, 2002 Letter

NASA February 6, 2003 Letter

NASA February 12, 2003 Letter

NASA February 25, 2003 Letter

NASA April 3, 2003 Letter


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