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Agencies Struggling to Respond to FOIA Requests for Email

National Security Archive audit results: One in Three Agencies Have Yet to Acknowledge 11-Month-Old FOIA Request; Three Years After Clinton Case Brought Government Email to National Attention, Agencies Still Behind the Curve; FOIA Offices Demand Unnecessary Information to Conduct Simple Email Searches without Consulting IT Departments.

Two out of five federal agencies claimed that they were either unable or not required to respond to a targeted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for agency emails submitted by the National Security Archive. The responses to the Archive’s FOIA request – detailed in the FOIA Audit released today to mark Sunshine Week – show that a year after agencies were required to manage email electronically, FOIA requesters are often not seeing the benefit of any improved email management. The Archive’s Audit team filed the same FOIA request with all 100 federal agency FOIA offices that are required to submit an annual FOIA report to the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy. The request sought all emails received between January 20, 2017, through April 28, 2017, from any Republican National Committee domain, including but not limited to The Archive wanted to see which agencies were receiving emails from email accounts in light of reporting that prominent members of President Trump’s administration were inappropriately using their RNC email accounts rather than their White House addresses.”

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