home | about | documents | news | postings | FOIA | research | internships | search | donate | mailing list
For Immediate Release
Sunday July 4, 2004
Contact: Meredith Fuchs 202-994-7059
Tom Blanton 202-994-7068


More than 2.4 million FOIA requests filed at a yearly cost of just over $1 per citizen.
Archive releases selection of "38 Noteworthy News Stories Made Possible by FOIA."

Edited by Meredith Fuchs, Barbara Elias, Daniel López and Thomas Blanton

Washington D.C., July 4, 2004 - George Washington University's National Security Archive, the leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, today released its annual Freedom of Information Act birthday posting, 38 years to the day after President Johnson was "dragged kicking and screaming" to sign the U.S. FOIA into law on July 4, 1966.

Documents released under federal, state and local freedom of information acts sparked more than 4,000 news stories in the last 12 months (according to the Archive's searches of on-line databases). The Archive posted an itemized list of 38 noteworthy news stories from the last 12 months that cited documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and include revelations about critical technological flaws on space shuttles, tainted meats that are not caught by the food inspection system, potential conflicts of interest between pharmaceutical companies and National Institutes of Health staff, numerous health and safety risks to the public, misuse of government funds, suspected conflicts of interest in government research and evaluation activities, and the possible role of political interests in government policies and recommendations. The past year also saw the promulgation of new regulations for handling so-called Critical Infrastructure Information under a new FOIA Exemption (b)(3) statute that protects the records from disclosure under the FOIA and a Supreme Court decision that recognized the existence of survivor privacy rights in situations where a FOIA request is made for law enforcement records.

The most recent government summary of FOIA requests handled by the 14 federal departments and 75 other federal agencies indicates that the total number of Freedom of Information/Privacy Act requests for the 2002 fiscal year was 2,402,938. A total of 5237.23 employee work-years were devoted to the administration of the FOIA throughout the federal government during Fiscal Year 2002 and the total cost of all FOIA-related activities for all federal departments and agencies, as reported in their annual FOIA reports, was $300,105,323.51. With an estimated United States population in 2003 of 290,809,777 people, according to Census Bureau projections, the cost of the FOIA amounted to approximately $1.03 per person.

In addition, the Archive's website is newly updated to include the latest guidance from the Archive's experts on how to use the FOIA, including FOIA Basics, tips on Making FOIA Work for You, a sample FOIA request, a sample FOIA appeal, a FOIA flowchart, an archive of past FOIA Audits, past compilations of Noteworthy News Stories Made Possible by FOIA, and other useful information for FOIA requesters.

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

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