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Key Agencies Missing from Central Freedom of Information Act Portal

  • Congress Required Common FOIA Website in 2016, We’re Still Waiting.
  • National Security Archive Sunshine Week Audit Names and Shames Delinquent Agencies.
  • Justice Department and Office of Management and Budget Must Act Decisively to Ensure Portal’s Success

National Security Archive: “The public still cannot submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the CIA or other prominent agencies through the national FOIA portal,, seven years after Congress required the building of a website that allows “the public to submit a request to any agency from a single website.” Three out of four federal agencies do not even mention on their individual agency websites, with many funneling FOIA requesters through independent portals with varying degrees of functionality, leaving them unaware of a more simplified way to file a FOIA request. Those attempting to file FOIA requests with the CIA on are informed that, “Currently, this agency’s FOIA system is not linked to” The CIA isn’t alone. The State Department still does not accept submissions through the portal, nor do the National Security Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General, the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen and Immigration Services, or the FBI. The 2016 FOIA Improvement Act not only required the building of a national FOIA portal, but also explicitly directed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Attorney General to “ensure the operation of a consolidated online request portal” and required OMB to “establish standards for interoperability between the consolidated portal and agency case management systems.” While instances in which OMB has provided guidance on these issues have been few and far between, the Biden administration recently committed to improving “the user experience” of as part of its Fifth U.S. Open Government National Action Plan. The National Security Archive’s Sunshine Week audit details exactly what the administration can do to meet its commitments and ensure that the 2016 law is followed…”

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