The Freedom of Information Act was signed into Law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. From the FOIA.gov website:
“Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.”
All 50 states also have their own versions of the FOIA act that pertain to governmental information at the state and local levels.
If you’ve been paying attention for at least the last several decades, it may appear to you that things at all levels of government may not be fully on the up and up. Its up to the citizens of the country that “elects” the government to demand answers to why things are the way they are. One way to get answers, for now, is through FOIA.
“But where do I start?” you may ask. That is up to you. It will take some research. A good way to start is to find something that bothers you (there’s probably more than a few areas), and begin researching on your own. Figure out who is involved in the issue, where does funding come from, and keep researching until you hit a significant stumbling block or missing information, then begin your FOIA process.
Rogues beware, there is a general process that one needs to follow to use the FOIA process.
Here are some links that might be useful as you begin and proceed through your process.
Check out the Twitter hashtag #FOIAFriday to get an idea of what other people are using the FOIA process for.
http://www.archives.gov/foia/foia-guide.html – An “official” guide from the U.S. National Archives, although most agencies have a similar page.
http://www.skepticfiles.org/aclu/foia.htm – A description of FOIA process, including helpful hints to improve your chances of success. This was originally published by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation.
http://www.theblackvault.com/ – This is a site produced by a John Greenwald Jr., who has been active in the FOIA process since the tender age of 15, and has posted the fruits of his efforts online. Greenwald’s focus has been more on the paranormal than financial or ethical malfeasance, although we suspect there may be a common link somewhere behind the curtain.
The Rogue’s Medallion for FOIA comes in three versions, bronze, silver and gold. Depending on your level of resistance and persistance. Once you’ve accomplished the criteria for one, right click and save the appropriate image and post it to your social media profile pages. Use the rectangle notices below to post into your feeds and timelines.
Bronze: Submit a FOIA request, and get the documents that you requested.
Silver: Submit a FOIA request, receive a rejection citing one of the nine exemptions.
Gold: Submit a FOIA request, get rejected based on one of the nine exemptions, and pursue it until you eventually get the desired information through reclassification or declassification.
Use the following notices for your timelines and feeds.