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last updated: 7/1/2013

Guide: The Freedom of Information Act

A Webpage to Accompany the Podcast

Link to Podcast

Link to Index of Resources

Historical FOIA Documents:


The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr.



The CIA in Guatemala

The CIA in Chile


Kissinger Transcripts

Finding Previously Released Materials:

List of Agency Contacts
WorldCAT
Declassified Documents Reference System
Digital National Security Archives

Submitting a Request:

Department of Interior Online Form
Sample Request Letter
Freedom of Information Letter Generator

Index of Resources:

Legislation:

The Freedom of Information Act
OPEN Government Act

Other FOIA resources:

FOIA FAQ
FOIA Contacts
Sample Request Letter
Freedom of Information Letter Generator

Databases for Declassified Information (available through IU Libraries):

WorldCAT
Declassified Documents Reference System
Digital National Security Archives

Selected FOIA Electronic Reading Rooms:

Central Intelligence Agency
Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice, National Security Division (Current Site) (Archived Site)
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Communications Commission

Government Documents on FOIA:

For an annotated bibliography of government documents pertaining to transparency and information policy under the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, click here (in pdf format).


Public Laws

"Freedom of Information Act." (P.L. 89-487). United States Statutes at Large. 80 Stat. 250.

  • The original Freedom of Information Act, signed into law July 4, 1966, amended section three of the Administrative Procedure Act. As an effort "to clarify and protect the right of the public to information," the original act was codified and amended by P.L. 90-23 (81 Stat. 54) and P.L. 93-502 (88 Stat. 1561).

"Government in the Sunshine Act." (P.L. 94-409). United States Statutes at Large. 90 Stat. 1241.

  • Signed into law on September 13, 1976, the Government in the Sunshine Act called for governmental agencies to make their meetings open to the public.

"Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986." (P.L. 99-570). United States Statutes at Large. 100 Stat. 3207.

  • The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 made two significant amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, further restricting requests to intelligence agencies and codifying the fee and waiver system.

"Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996." (P.L. 104-231). United States Statutes at Large. 110 Stat. 3048.

  • Responding to technological advances, the Electronic Freedom of Information Act requires agencies to provide information in a variety of formats, including electronic formats. In some cases that can reduce duplication fees by putting large files on CD-ROM.

"Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act." (P.L. 105-246). United States Statutes at Large. 112 Stat. 1859.

  • This act requires disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of "Nazi war criminal records without impairing any investigation or prosecution conducted by the Department of Justice or certain intelligence matters."

"Open Government Act of 2007." (P.L. 110-175). United States Statutes at Large. 121 Stat. 2524.

  • The Open Government Act seeks to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act by adapting itself more fully to the digital environment, strengthening the disciplinary actions for agencies that reject requests unnecessarily, and creating the Office of Government Information within the National Archives and Records Administration to help ensure the effective implementation of FOIA policies.
Executive Orders

Carter, Jimmy. "National Security Information." Executive Order 12065. June 28, 1978. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=31009

Reagan, Ronald. "Federal Regulation." Executive Order 12291. February 17, 1981. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=43424

_______. "National Security Information." Executive Order 12356. April 2, 1982. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=42356

_______. "Predisclosure Notification Procedures for Confidential Commercial Information." Executive Order 12600. June 23, 1987. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=34468

Clinton, William J. "Classified National Security Information." Executive Order 12958. April 17, 1995.http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=51235

_______. "Access to Classified Information." Executive Order 12968. August 2, 1995. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=51699

Bush, George W. "Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act." Executive Order 13233. November 1, 2001.http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=61514

_______. "Further Amendment to Executive Order 12958, as Amended, Classified National Security Information." Executive Order 13292. March 25, 2003. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=61388

_______. "Improving Disclosure of Information." Executive Order 13392. December 14, 2005. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65227

Obama, Barack H. "Presidential Records." Executive Order 13489. January 21, 2009.http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=76782



last updated: 7/1/2013