2001 Calendar Year Report on Department of Justice Freedom of Information Act Litigation Activities: Compliance Report






DESCRIPTION OF DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

EFFORTS TO ENCOURAGE AGENCY

COMPLIANCE WITH THE ACT

During 2001, the Department of Justice, primarily through its
Office of Information and Privacy (OIP), engaged in numerous
activities in discharging the Department's responsibility to
encourage agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA). A summary description of these activities, which is
required by 5 U.S.C. § 552(e)(5) (2000), as amended by Electronic
Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-231,
110 Stat. 3048, is set forth below.

(a) Counseling and Consultations

One of
the primary means by which the Justice Department
encouraged agency compliance with the FOIA during 2001 was through
OIP's counseling activities, which were conducted largely over the
telephone by experienced OIP attorneys known to FOIA personnel
throughout the executive branch as "FOIA Counselors." Through this
FOIA Counselor service, OIP provided information, advice, and
policy guidance to FOIA personnel at all federal departments and
agencies, as well as to other persons with questions regarding the
proper interpretation or implementation of the Act. OIP has established
a special telephone line to facilitate its FOIA Counselor
service -- (202) 514-3642 (514-FOIA) -- which it publicizes widely.
(OIP also receives telefaxed FOIA Counselor inquiries, at (202)
514-1009, and it maintains a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf
(TDD) telephone line -- (202) 616-5498 -- which gives it the capability
of receiving TDD calls from speech- or hearing-impaired persons.) While
most of this counseling was conducted by telephone,
other options were made available as well. The counseling services
provided by OIP during 2001 consisted of the following:


(1) OIP continued to provide basic FOIA Counselor guidance on
a broad range of FOIA-related subjects. Most of the FOIA Counselor
calls received by OIP involve issues raised in connection with
proposed agency responses to initial FOIA requests or administrative
appeals, but many are more general anticipatory inquiries
regarding agency responsibilities and administrative practices
under the Act. (The Department of Justice specifies that all agencies
intending to deny FOIA requests raising novel issues should
consult with OIP to the extent practicable -- see 28 C.F.R.
§ 0.23a(b) (2001) -- and it has been found that such consultations
are very valuable in encouraging agency compliance with the Act.)
More than 2500 requests for assistance were received by OIP and
handled in this way during 2001, a continued large volume of such
inquiries in comparison to those received in earlier years.

(2) Frequently, a FOIA Counselor inquiry is of such complexity or arises at such a level that it warrants the direct
involvement of OIP's supervisory personnel, often one or both of
its co-directors or its deputy director. Approximately 350 inquiries of this nature were handled in 2001.

(3) Sometimes a determination is made that a FOIA Counselor
inquiry requires more extensive discussion and analysis by OIP
attorneys, including supervisory attorneys, on the basis of the
information that is presented by the agency. Such a consultation
involves a meeting or teleconference between agency representatives
and OIP attorneys at which all factual, legal, and policy issues
related to the matter presented are thoroughly discussed and
resolved. There were fifty-six such formal consultations in 2001,
including twenty-one with the general counsel or deputy general
counsel of the agency involved. In addition, OIP provided
extensive consultation assistance to the Office of the Independent
Counsel (In re: Madison Guarantee Savings and Loan), to the
Special Master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and
to the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the District of
Columbia during the year.

(4) An additional counseling service provided by OIP involves
FOIA matters in litigation, where advice and guidance are provided
at the request of, and in close coordination with, the Justice
Department's litigating divisions. This service involves OIP
reviewing issues and proposed litigation positions in a case from
both legal and policy standpoints, and then recommending positions
that promote uniform agency compliance with the Act. In some such
instances, OIP is asked to consult on litigation strategy and in
the drafting of briefs or petitions to be filed in district court
or a court of appeals. OIP is consulted in all instances in which
the Department of Justice must decide whether to pursue a FOIA
issue on appeal. OIP also is regularly consulted in all FOIA cases, and FOIA-related issues, that are handled by the Office of
the Solicitor General before the United States Supreme Court. Most
often, these litigation consultations are provided by one or both
of OIP's co-directors. There were approximately 125 such litigation consultations in 2001, including thirty-four that involved
recommendations as to the advisability of initial or further appellate court review and three that involved the question of
whether to seek or oppose certiorari in the Supreme Court. In one
such matter, OIP provided extensive substantive assistance to the
Office of the Solicitor General in support of the Department's
certiorari petition.

(b) FOIA Update/FOIA Post

During 2001, the Justice Department completed a transition
from its longstanding FOIA Update newsletter to a more high-tech
and cost-efficient counterpart named FOIA Post. The Justice
Department's FOIA Update newsletter was published from 1979 to
2000, in a paper format that became increasingly antiquated with
the passage of time. To remedy this, the Justice Department instituted FOIA Post in early 2001 as a novel and more effective means
of disseminating Freedom of Information Act-related information to
federal agencies and other interested parties through use of the
Department's FOIA Web site.

As of 2001, FOIA Post serves as a primary means of FOIA policy
dissemination and an efficient vehicle for communicating FOIA-related information to agency FOIA personnel and others who are
interested in the Act's administration. It includes the same types
of FOIA guidance and information features that were disseminated in
paper form through FOIA Update, as well as additional FOIA-related
features, and it does so in a more efficient electronic form that
also makes effective use of electronic links to referenced
documents and other sources of information in a Web-based format.
See
FOIA Post, "Introducing FOIA Post" (posted 3/14/01).

This natural evolution to Web-based governmentwide information
dissemination for the FOIA not only takes advantage of the cost-efficiencies of electronic communication, it also is in keeping
with the Act's growing emphasis on the disclosure of agency
information to the public electronically, through use of the World
Wide Web, under the provisions of the Electronic FOIA amendments.
Just as individual agency FOIA Web sites have become a vital means
by which the FOIA is administered at all federal agencies, all
agencies now can look to the Justice Department's FOIA Web site for
the most recent postings of information regarding matters of
governmentwide FOIA administration. The Justice Department has
recommended that this part of its FOIA Web site
(www.usdoj.gov/oip/foiapost/mainpage.htm) be electronically "bookmarked" by all agency FOIA personnel and others interested in the
Act for this purpose, and the response has been very positive to
readily accessing FOIA Post in this efficient fashion.

During 2001, OIP disseminated a variety of different items for
the guidance of federal agencies through FOIA Post. In addition to
several substantive policy guidance memoranda (discussed below),
OIP used its new FOIA Post mechanism to distribute on a quarterly
basis newly prepared descriptions of all FOIA decisions received by
OIP. See, e.g., FOIA Post, "New FOIA Decisions, January-March
2001"
(posted 4/5/01). Further, with the establishment of FOIA
Post
, OIP decided to prepare and publish compilations of all such
FOIA decisions issued during past years as well, beginning with the
immediately prior year and extending back in six-month intervals.
See, e.g., FOIA Post, "Compiled FOIA Decisions (Received
July-December 2000)"
(posted 6/14/01). As of the end of the year,
OIP had issued six such compilations, covering the years 1998-2000.

Another major guidance item disseminated through FOIA Post
during 2001 was OIP's summary compilation of the information that
is contained in the annual FOIA reports that are prepared by all
federal departments and agencies in accordance with the amended
annual reporting requirements of the Act. Although the Electronic
FOIA amendments do not require that it do so, OIP compiled an
aggregate summary of all agencies' annual FOIA report data for the
1999 fiscal year, and it announced its intention to prepare such
summaries in all following years as soon as all agencies' annual
data become available. See FOIA Post, "Summary of Annual FOIA
Reports for Fiscal Year 1999"
(posted 10/15/01). OIP also used
this opportunity, through FOIA Post, to pointedly encourage all
agencies to "heed the Act's requirements for [the submission of]
annual FOIA reports in a timely fashion," so that such compilations
will not be unduly delayed by the tardiness of the last agency to
submit its annual FOIA report each year. See id.

Lastly, through FOIA Post,
OIP provided governmentwide notifications of FOIA training
opportunities during the year; it published a guest article by a
longtime FOIA professional entitled
"Looking Back on an Access Professional Career"; it announced the
results of the election for new officers and members of the board
of directors of the American Society of Access Professionals; and
it chronicled the course of appellate court and Supreme Court
action in a precedent-setting case involving the issue of waiver of
FOIA exemptions in litigation. In the latter discussion, OIP
included a compilation of all Supreme Court actions taken in FOIA
cases during the Act's nearly thirty-five-year history, together
with more than a dozen links to discussions of such cases in the
newly archived electronic files of the Department's previous FOIA
Update
publication.

(c) Policy Guidance Memoranda

During 2001, the Department of Justice issued policy memoranda
and advisory discussions of FOIA issues for the guidance of all
federal agencies, using its new FOIA Post online publication as its
primary means of policy dissemination. The major policy memorandum
issued during the year was the new statement of Administration
policy on the Freedom of Information Act that was issued to the
heads of all federal departments and agencies by Attorney General
John Ashcroft on October 12, 2001. This FOIA policy memorandum
emphasized the Administration's commitment to full compliance with
the FOIA as an important means of maintaining an open and
accountable system of government, while at the same time recognizing the importance of protecting the sensitive institutional,
commercial, and personal interests that can be implicated in
government records -- such as the need to safeguard national
security, to maintain law enforcement effectiveness, to respect
business confidentiality, to protect internal agency deliberations,
and to preserve personal privacy. It urged all agencies to
"carefully consider the protection of all such values and interests
when making disclosure determinations under the FOIA." Attorney
General's Memorandum for Heads of all Federal Departments and
Agencies regarding the Freedom of Information Act
(Oct. 12, 2001),
reprinted in FOIA Post (posted 10/15/01).

In replacing the predecessor Attorney General FOIA policy
memorandum, and following the tradition of such successive Attorney
General FOIA memoranda over a period of nearly twenty-five years,
the Ashcroft FOIA Memorandum articulated a new "sound legal basis"
standard governing the Department of Justice's decisions on whether
to defend agency actions under the FOIA when they are challenged in
court. See FOIA Post, "New Attorney General FOIA Memorandum
Issued"
(posted 10/15/01). It also specifically advised all
agencies that they "should consult with the Department of Justice's
Office of Information and Privacy when significant FOIA issues
arise." Id.


This new Attorney General statement of FOIA policy was widely
disseminated throughout the executive branch in multiple ways.
In addition to its direct distribution to the heads of all federal
departments and agencies, OIP promptly forwarded it to the principal
administrative and legal FOIA contacts at all agencies, under
cover of a memorandum requesting that it be further disseminated as
widely and expeditiously as possible through administrative FOIA
channels within each agency as well. It also was immediately made
available to all agency FOIA personnel, as well as to all other
interested persons and members of the public, through FOIA Post.
See FOIA Post, "New Attorney General FOIA Memorandum Issued"
(posted 10/15/01). Additionally, within a week of the Ashcroft
FOIA Memorandum's issuance, OIP conducted a FOIA Officers
Conference in the Commerce Department's Main Auditorium for more
than 300 representatives of nearly all federal agencies, at which
OIP discussed the new FOIA policy memorandum and provided additional background materials to all participants.

A second major policy area addressed in 2001 was the need to
protect critical federal systems, facilities, stockpiles, and other
assets from security breaches and harm -- and in some instances
from their potential use as weapons of mass destruction in and of
themselves -- in light of the horrific events of September 11, 2001
and the threat of further terrorist activity in their aftermath.
OIP reminded agencies that protection for records regarding such matters, if requested under the FOIA, is available under
Exemption 2 of the Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(2), and that any agency
assessment of, or statement regarding, the vulnerability of such a
critical asset should be protected pursuant to Exemption 2. See
FOIA Post
, "New Attorney General FOIA Memorandum Issued" (posted
10/15/01) (citing FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 3, at 3-4 ("OIP
Guidance: Protecting Vulnerability Assessments Through Application
of Exemption Two")). Further, OIP emphasized that a wide range of
information can be withheld under Exemption 2's "circumvention"
aspect, sometimes referred to as "high 2," as is discussed in the
"'High 2': Risk of Circumvention" Subsection of the "Exemption 2"
Section of the "Justice Department Guide to the Freedom of
Information Act." This subject, too, was discussed at the FOIA
Officers Conference that was held by OIP, at which OIP advised all
agencies to carefully avail themselves of the full measure of
Exemption 2's protection for their critical infrastructure
information as they continue to gather more of it, and assess its
heightened sensitivity, in the wake of the September 11 terrorist
attacks.

A third
topic discussed at the FOIA Officers Conference conducted in October
2001 was agency implementation of the electronic
availability and annual reporting requirements of the Electronic
Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (E-FOIA), in accordance
with a 2001 General Accounting Office (GAO) report entitled "Progress in Implementing the 1996 Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments" (Mar. 16, 2001). OIP prepared and widely
distributed an extensive policy guidance memorandum on that subject
almost immediately upon the report's issuance, in which it
discussed the findings of the GAO report in relation to the
requirements of E-FOIA and urged each federal agency to ensure that
it "both attains and maintains proper compliance with all of E-FOIA's
electronic availability requirements." FOIA Post, "GAO E-FOIA
Implementation Report Issued"
(posted 3/23/01); see also FOIA Post,
"Agencies Continue E-FOIA Implementation" (posted 3/14/01). The
impact of this guidance was enhanced by the fact that OIP was able
to make special arrangements through GAO to include an original,
printed copy of GAO's report in its transmittal package. At the
same time, OIP also made an electronic version of this guidance
memorandum even more widely available through its FOIA Web site,
where it is accessible in a form that permits direct electronic
linkage to the GAO report and to the underlying guidance authorities that are cited within it.

In accordance with GAO's recommendations in this E-FOIA implementation report, OIP also issued supplemental guidance for all
agencies on the processes of agency preparation and submission of
the annual FOIA reports that all agencies are required to file on a
fiscal-year basis under the provisions of the Electronic FOIA
amendments, 5 U.S.C. § 552(e)(1)-(5). OIP prepared a highly
detailed guidance memorandum that addressed all points of concern
that were identified by GAO in its examination of agencies' annual
FOIA reports, as well as additional such points of focus that were
identified through OIP's own review. See FOIA Post, "Supplemental
Guidance on Annual FOIA Reports"
(posted 8/13/01).

Another subject of policy guidance issued during 2001 was the
proper interpretation of the "inter-agency or intra-agency
memorandum" threshold requirement of Exemption 5 of the Act,
5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5). This issue was the subject of the Supreme
Court's decision in the case of Department of the Interior v. Klamath Water Users Protective Ass'n, 532 U.S. 1 (2001), issued on
March 5, 2001, and it is of particular concern to federal agencies
that need to rely on "outside consultants" -- or other similar,
possibly interested, parties -- in the effective performance of
their agency missions. OIP issued a comprehensive analysis of the
Supreme Court's decision, and of its underlying rationale, advising
that the Court's new threshold standard for Exemption 5 in Klamath
"necessarily went no further than excluding 'an interested party
[that is] seeking a Government benefit at the expense of other
applicants.'" FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules in Exemption 5 Case"
(posted 4/4/01). This guidance also addressed the important and
closely connected policy issue of the protection of certain
settlement-related records on the basis of the "settlement
privilege" under Exemption 5. See id. (citing FOIA Update, Vol.
VI, No. 4
, at 3-4).


Additionally, during the year, OIP provided formal guidance to
agencies also on such subjects as the potential waiver of FOIA
exemptions during the course of litigation in cases in which underlying
FOIA exemptions or overlapping FOIA defenses are involved,
under the recent precedent of Maydak v. United States Department of
Justice
, 218 F.3d 760 (D.C. Cir. 2000), reh'g en banc denied, No.
98-5492 (D.C. Cir. Oct. 30, 2000), cert. denied, 533 U.S. 950
(2001); on the mechanics of the record-redaction process that is
used in nonelectronic form by many agencies in their administration
of the Act; on the appropriate handling of requests from a FOIA
requester who files requests and lawsuits in the absence of the
proper payment of fees owed in accordance with agency FOIA
regulations; and on the proper administration of agency FOIA programs during the period of unprecedented delays in mail delivery
that were caused by the anthrax mail emergency throughout the last
quarter of 2001. On the latter subject, OIP advised agencies on
the proper determination of the date of "receipt" of a FOIA request
under such extraordinary circumstances, as well as of the statutory
requirements of administrative exhaustion, but it at the same time
also advised that "agency FOIA personnel should remember that FOIA
requesters are largely in the dark about the exact lengths of time
that their FOIA correspondence has been delayed," that they should
"take pains where necessary to advise requesters of the 'cut-off'
date that will be used to determine the scopes of records
responsive to their [delayed] requests," and that "FOIA requesters
will more readily understand and accept the consequences of the
extraordinary administrative delays that have resulted from this
unprecedented mail emergency if they realize that they apply
evenhandedly to all concerned." FOIA Post, "Anthrax Mail Emergency
Delays FOIA Correspondence"
(posted 11/30/01).

(d) Additional FOIA Reference Materials

In 2001, OIP made arrangements with the Government Printing
Office (GPO) for a new publication schedule for its major reference
volume, entitled the Freedom of Information Act Guide & Privacy Act
Overview
, which contains the "Justice Department Guide to the
Freedom of Information Act."
It arranged for this publication to
complete its transition to a new biennial publication cycle,
according to which GPO will next publish it in May 2002 (no longer
at the end of a fiscal year), at which time it is expected that GPO
will be able to facilitate the printing and governmentwide
distribution of this reference volume on a more efficient timetable
than in the past. During 2001, OIP began preparations for
completion of the Guide & Overview's May 2002 edition.

During 2001, all issues of FOIA Update for the years 1979-2000
were made available on the Department of Justice's FOIA Web site,
where they were fully accessible electronically -- and were
"keyword searchable" -- for ready reference purposes. Additionally, guidance items from FOIA Update (and now also from FOIA Post)
were used in all Justice Department FOIA-training programs and were
made available through such programs offered by the Graduate School
of the United States Department of Agriculture (including those
formerly conducted by the Office of Personnel Management) and by
the American Society of Access Professionals nationwide.

Also made available on the Department's FOIA Web site during
2001 was the "Department of Justice Freedom of Information Act Reference Guide," which was developed in accordance with the Electronic FOIA amendments and is a model for the counterpart reference
guides that are prepared by other federal agencies. This reference
tool for potential FOIA requesters describes the procedural aspects
of making a FOIA request, specifies the different types of records
that are maintained by the Department of Justice's many components,
and describes the types of records and information that are available to the public from the Department without the necessity of
making a FOIA request. It consists of fourteen pages, plus
detailed attachments, and it contains much information appropriate
for use by all other federal agencies in their FOIA reference
guides. This electronically available publication was supplemented
during 2001 with additional information regarding the Justice
Department's "major information systems," in accordance with a provision of the Electronic FOIA amendments, 5 U.S.C. § 552(g)(1). It
also was used by the Nations of Romania and Bulgaria in the
implementation of their new access statutes during the year.

In accordance with another provision of the Electronic FOIA
amendments, 5 U.S.C. § 552(e)(3), the Justice Department in 2001
maintained "a single electronic access point" for the consolidated
availability of the annual FOIA reports of all federal agencies.
In furtherance of this, OIP receives copies of each agency's annual
FOIA report each year and makes these reports promptly available at
its central electronic site. These annual FOIA reports, beginning
with those for fiscal year 1998, can be readily accessed by the
public on the Department's FOIA Web site at
www.usdoj.gov/oip/04_6.html. That FOIA site also contains the
major component parts of the Guide & Overview (where they can be
accessed at www.usdoj.gov/oip/04_7.html) to afford electronic
access to them as well.


Additionally, in 2001 OIP expanded its process of reviewing
all agencies' annual reports as they are sent to it for this
electronic availability purpose, and then contacting individual
agencies to discuss and resolve any identified question or discrepancy
with them, in accordance with the 2001 report of the General
Accounting Office entitled "Progress in Implementing the 1996
Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments"
(Mar. 16, 2001).
This GAO report found the Department of Justice itself to be in
full compliance with the electronic availability requirements of
the amended statute, see id. at 20-22, and it included a complementary statement about the quality of the implementation guidance
that agencies have received from the Department as well, see id. at
31. Also, as noted above, OIP in 2001 initiated its practice of
preparing compilations of agency annual FOIA report data on a
governmentwide basis each year.

(e) Training

During 2001, OIP furnished speakers and workshop instructors
for a variety of seminars, conferences, individual agency training
sessions, and similar programs designed to promote the proper
administration of the FOIA within the executive branch and/or a
greater understanding of the Act's administration by those outside
of the executive branch. Twenty professional staff members of OIP
gave a total of 179 training presentations during the year,
including several training sessions designed to meet the specific
FOIA-training needs of individual agencies. Such individualized
training sessions were conducted for the United States Postal
Service, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Defense Contract Audit
Agency, the Minerals Management Service, and the U.S. Army Materiel
Command; for the Departments of State, Transportation, and
Commerce; and for several individual components of the Justice
Department, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. OIP
training presentations also were made at the Federal Dispute
Resolution Conference, at a forum sponsored by the Business Information Subcommittee of the American Bar Association, and at the
Graduate School of the United States Department of Agriculture.


Additionally, the co-directors of OIP gave a total of 114 presentations
at various FOIA-training programs, including those held
by the American Society of Access Professionals, the Freedom Forum,
the National Press Club, the Army Judge Advocate General's School,
and the Society of Professional Journalists. They made keynote
presentations at the NLRB's National FOIA Conference, NASA's Annual
FOIA Conference, the National U.S. Attorneys Civil Chiefs Conference,
the Federal Aviation Administration's Annual FOIA Conference,
and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Regional
Counsel Conference. Additionally, one of the co-directors made
several presentations under the auspices of the American Embassy in
Mexico City, Mexico to promote transparency-in-government initiatives
in that nation, and one of the co-directors represented the
United States in a transcontinental teleconference with Romanian
Parliamentary officials, including the Romanian Secretary of State,
in aid of the adoption of open government legislation in Romania.


In conjunction with the Justice Department's National Advocacy
Center, OIP conducted a wide range of FOIA-training programs in
2001, ranging from half-day introductory sessions for non-FOIA
personnel to advanced programs for highly experienced FOIA personnel.
OIP's basic two-day training course, entitled "The Freedom of
Information Act for Attorneys and Access Professionals," was
conducted several times during 2001 in Columbia, South Carolina,
which is now the base location of the National Advocacy Center. During
2001, OIP worked with the National Advocacy Center to expand
both the size and the availability of its FOIA-training programs,
including through the presentation of OIP's basic FOIA-training
course twice during the year in Washington, D.C.


OIP also conducted two sessions in 2001 of its "Freedom of
Information Act Administrative Forum," a training program devoted
almost entirely to administrative matters arising under the Act --
such matters as record-retrieval practices, multitrack queue usage,
backlog management, affirmative disclosure, and automated record
processing. Designed to serve also as a regular forum for the
governmentwide exchange of ideas and information on matters of FOIA
administration, this training program brings veteran FOIA
processors from throughout the government together and encourages
them to share their experience in administering the Act on a daily
basis. Also conducted twice in 2001 was OIP's "Advanced Freedom of
Information Act Seminar," each session of which featured a
presentation by the FOIA Coordinator for the National Security
Archive on the administration of the FOIA from the perspective of a
FOIA requester and also contained a newly designed program on the
electronic availability and annual FOIA reporting requirements of
the Electronic FOIA amendments as addressed by the GAO report
discussed above. As also is discussed above, OIP's major training
program during the year was its FOIA Officers Conference for more
than 300 agency personnel that it conducted upon the issuance of
the Attorney General's FOIA Memorandum of October 12, 2001.

(f) Briefings and Inter-Agency Meetings


OIP conducted a number of general or specific FOIA briefings
during 2001 for persons interested in the operation of the Act,
such as representatives of foreign governments concerned with the
implementation or potential adoption of their own government
information access laws. OIP provided briefings and FOIA materials to
representatives of Great Britain, Hungary, Slovenia, the Dominican
Republic, China, Mongolia, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine. It also provided
such office briefings to a dozen Members of the Mexican
Congress, to the Acting Director of the Administrative Management
Bureau of Japan, and to Romania's Secretary of State.

Additionally, in 2001 OIP continued to provide assistance to
the District of Columbia Government in connection with the D.C.
Council's consideration of both legislative and administrative
reform of the operation of its statutory counterpart to the Freedom
of Information Act; it provided briefing assistance in support of
the Cyber Warning Information Network to the Critical
Infrastructure Assurance Office; it hosted an inter-agency meeting
for the National Security Council on the protection of homeland
security-related records in the post-September 11 environment; it
hosted an inter-agency meeting on the coordination of FOIA-related
matters in connection with the newly established Joint Terrorism
Task Force and the subsequently established Foreign Terrorism
Tracking Task Force; it held an inter-agency meeting to reconcile
differences in multiple-agency treatment of common issues for purposes of annual FOIA reporting requirements; and it provided
substantive editorial assistance to the American Bar Association
(ABA) in editing the ABA's "FOIA Black Letter Law" publication as
part of the ABA Administrative Law Section's "Administrative
Procedure Act Project."

(g) Congressional and Public Inquiries

In 2001, OIP responded to thirty-two congressional inquiries
pertaining to FOIA-related matters and, in its "FOIA Ombudsman"
capacity, see FOIA Update, Vol. XIV, No. 3, at 8, it responded to
several complaints received directly from members of the public who
were concerned that an agency had failed to comply with the
requirements of the Act. In all such instances involving a concern
of agency noncompliance, the matter was discussed with the agency
and, wherever appropriate, a recommendation was made regarding the
steps needed to be taken by the agency in order to bring it into
proper compliance.

Additionally, OIP responded to 218 written inquiries from
members of the public seeking information regarding the basic
operation of the Act or related matters during the year, as well as
to innumerable such inquiries received by telephone. The number of
written inquiries received during 2001 was less than that of recent
years, due not only to the increased availability of information to
the public through the Justice Department's FOIA Web site, but also
to the fact that mail delivery to OIP was curtailed and then
greatly delayed during most of the fourth quarter of the year. See
FOIA Post, "Anthrax Mail Emergency Delays FOIA Correspondence"
(posted 11/30/01) (noting the curtailment of mail service at the
Department of Justice, as well as elsewhere, as of October 19,
2001). All such delayed inquiries were responded to as quickly as
possible upon resumption of regular mail service in early 2002.


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