Government agencies shutting down FOIA requests

The State Department relies on retired Foreign Service Officers to process Freedom of Information Act requests, but few are equipped to telework. With the officers sidelined, the department said there is a 96 percent reduction in capacity to process FOIA requests. (Politico, March 27, 2020, by Josh Gerstein)

Some agencies face legitimate obstacles during the pandemic, but others moved to delay requests needlessly. The FBI stopped processing electronic records requests. Philadelphia stopped processing records requests but allowed those with urgent requests to petition for processing. Washington, D.C. suspended all processing until after the pandemic is over. (Columbia Journalism Review, March 25, 2020, by Richard Salame and Nina Zweig of Type Investigations with contributions by Maha Ahmed)

For recent FAC coverage on the issue, click here, here and here.