2002 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 2002,
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), 5
U.S.C. § 552 (2000), as amended by Intelligence Authorization Act
for Fiscal Year 2003, Pub. L. No. 107-306, 116 Stat. 2383, § 312
(2002) (to be codified at 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A), (E)). A summary
description of these activities, which is required by 5 U.S.C.
§ 552(e)(5), is set forth below.

(a) Counseling and Consultations

One of
the primary means by which the Department of Justice
encouraged agency compliance with the FOIA during 2002 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 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)
(2002) -- and it
has been found that such consultations are very valuable in encouraging
agency compliance with the Act.) More than 3000 requests for
assistance were received by OIP and handled in this way during
2002, a particularly large volume of such inquiries in comparison
to those received in preceding 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 2002.

(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-four such formal consultations in 2002,
including twenty-three with the general counsel or deputy general
counsel of the agency involved. In addition, OIP provided consultation
assistance to the Special Master for the September 11th Victim
Compensation Fund, to the Chairman of the National Security
Council's Coordinating Committee on Records Access and Information
Security, to the acting director of the Foreign Terrorism Tracking
Tack Force, to the acting head of the Office of Homeland Security
Transition Planning Office, to the Director of the Critical
Infrastructure Assurance Office, to the Vice Chair of the President's
Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, and to the Deputy 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 Department
of Justice'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 and proper agency compliance with the Act. In
many such instances, OIP is asked to consult on litigation strategy
and in the drafting of briefs or petitions to be filed at the district
court or appellate court. OIP is consulted in all instances
in which the Department of Justice must decide whether to pursue a
FOIA or FOIA-related issue on appeal. OIP also is regularly consulted
in all FOIA cases, and regarding all 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 2002,
including forty-one that involved recommendations as to the
advisability of initial or further appellate court review and six that
involved the question of whether to seek or oppose certiorari in
the Supreme Court. In two such cases, OIP provided extensive
assistance to the Office of the Solicitor General in support of the
Department's certiorari petitions.

(b) FOIA Post

In 2002, the Department of Justice completed its first full
year of publishing FOIA Post, its more high-tech and cost-efficient
replacement for its longtime FOIA Update newsletter. 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 Department instituted
FOIA Post as a novel and more effective means of disseminating
Freedom of Information Act information to federal agencies and
other interested parties through use of the Department's FOIA Web
site. FOIA Post now serves as the primary means of FOIA policy
dissemination and as a highly 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 very effective use of electronic links to
referenced documents and other sources of information in a Web-based
format.

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 emphasizes
this point in its training programs as well as at its FOIA Officers
Conferences, and it recommends that this part of its FOIA Web site
be electronically "bookmarked" by all agency FOIA personnel and others interested in the
Act for this purpose. The response to readily accessing FOIA Post
in this fashion has been very positive, from both government and
nongovernment users alike.

During 2002, 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 this new electronic publication portal to distribute, on a
quarterly basis throughout the year, newly prepared summaries of
all new FOIA decisions received by OIP. See, e.g., FOIA Post, "New
FOIA Decisions, April-June 2002" (posted 7/2/02). Further, OIP
prepared and published such summaries of the FOIA decisions that
were handed down during past years as well, in compilations covering six-month periods at a time. See, e.g., FOIA Post, "Compiled
FOIA Decisions (Received July-December 1997)"
(posted 1/31/02). During 2002, OIP published several additional such
retrospective
compilations, and it announced its plans to continue this compilation
project to encompass at least five additional years, so as to
cover the entire decade of the 1990s. See FOIA Post, "Compilations
of FOIA Decisions Now Reach Back Five Years" (posted 8/30/02).

Another major guidance tool disseminated through FOIA Post
during 2002 was OIP's summary compilation of the information 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 initiated the practice
of compiling aggregate summaries of all agencies' annual FOIA
report data as soon as those reports are filed by all agencies each
year. In 2002, OIP prepared summaries for both the 2000 and 2001
fiscal years, and in conjunction with this also emphasized the
importance of all agencies heeding the Act's requirements for the
completion of their annual FOIA reports in a timely fashion. See,
e.g.
, FOIA Post, "Summary of Annual FOIA Reports for Fiscal Year
2001"
(posted 10/17/02).

Through FOIA Post,
OIP also provided governmentwide notification of FOIA training
opportunities during the year; provided similar notification of a
governmentwide FOIA Officers Conference and
of OIP's FOIA Guide Seminar; announced the procedures by which OIP
publications would be made available by the Government Printing
Office during the year; encouraged the holding of annual FOIA
conferences by individual agencies through a feature article on such
conferences held by the Department of Labor and the Department of
Transportation; and provided an update on FOIA-related activity in
the United States Supreme Court. Additionally, OIP published in
FOIA Post an extensive interview that it conducted with
Representative Stephen Horn, Chairman of the House subcommittee holding
jurisdiction over FOIA matters, upon the occasion of his retirement at
the close of the 107th Congress. See FOIA Post, "FOIA Post Interview: Chairman Stephen Horn" (posted 12/19/02).
OIP also published in FOIA Post a comprehensive outline of the advice that it
has given to representatives of foreign governments in order to
promote the adoption and successful implementation of FOIA-like
"transparency in government" laws overseas. See FOIA Post, "OIP
Gives FOIA Implementation Advice to Other Nations" (posted
12/12/02).

Lastly, during 2002, OIP introduced a new FOIA Post feature
through which it regularly disseminates descriptions of Freedom of
Information Act and Privacy Act-related positions that currently
are available at federal agencies, in an effort to facilitate the
hiring of highly qualified attorneys and access professionals to
work in the FOIA and Privacy Act areas throughout the federal government. See, e.g., FOIA Post, "FOIA/Privacy
Act Positions Available at Federal Agencies"
(posted 5/9/02). Four such listings were
posted during the second half of the year.

(c) Policy Guidance

During 2002, the Department of Justice issued policy and advisory discussions of FOIA issues for the guidance of all federal
agencies, using its FOIA Post
online publication as its primary
means of policy dissemination. The major policy memorandum issued
during the year was a memorandum issued to the heads of all federal
departments and agencies entitled "Safeguarding Information Regarding
Weapons of Mass Destruction and Other Sensitive Records Related
to Homeland Security." This memorandum was prepared and authored
by OIP at the request of the White House, in conjunction with the
issuance of a directive on that subject by Assistant to the President
and Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card, Jr. In it, OIP advised
agencies on the careful treatment required for sensitive information
related to America's homeland security whenever it becomes the
subject of a FOIA request, in accordance with the Attorney General's
FOIA Memorandum of October 12, 2001. See FOIA Post, "Guidance
on Homeland Security Information Issued" (posted 3/21/02).

A second major policy area addressed in 2002 was the proper
treatment of contract pricing information, or "unit prices," in
awarded government contracts under Exemption 4 of the FOIA. This
issue, which often is the subject of "reverse" FOIA litigation, has
long been one of the most controversial issues under the Act. In
two pieces of policy guidance issued during the year, and also in
the "Exemption 4" Section of the May 2002 edition of the "Justice
Department Guide to the FOIA," OIP reviewed recent case law decided
within the D.C. Circuit and advised agencies on its proper import
and impact regarding the treatment of unit prices. It advised that
agencies "should in all cases notify the submitter that [a request
for such pricing information] has been made in order to obtain and
consider any objections to disclosure," and that in all cases they
"should conduct a thorough competitive harm analysis . . . on a
case-by-case basis." FOIA Post, "Treatment of Unit Prices Under
Exemption 4" (posted 5/29/02). Further, OIP advised agencies that
"the D.C. Circuit's McDonnell Douglas decision did not create any
per se rule" regarding the treatment of unit prices under the FOIA.
FOIA Post, "New
McDonnell Douglas Opinion Aids Unit Price Decisionmaking"
(posted 10/4/02); see also
Freedom of Information Act Guide
& Privacy Act Overview
(May 2002), at 250-54.

A third major policy subject, which also was discussed at a
FOIA Officers Conference conducted by OIP in September 2002, 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 the 2001 General
Accounting Office (GAO) report entitled "Progress in Implementing
the 1996 Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments"
(Mar.
16, 2001), as supplemented by GAO's 2002 report entitled "Update on
the Implementation of the 1996 Electronic Freedom of Information
Act Amendments"

(Aug. 31, 2002). Immediately upon the public issuance of GAO's
follow-up report in September 2002, OIP issued guidance to all agencies
that reviewed its contents, focused agency
attention on areas in which further efforts were required for full
E-FOIA implementation, and advocated use of the report as follows: "Its
level of detail with respect to both electronic availability
compliance and annual reporting accuracy, in particular, should be
relied upon by all agencies both in identifying continued areas
needing improvement and in making all such improvements at this
time. The objective, of course, must be full compliance with all
requirements of the law." FOIA Post, "Follow-Up Report on E-FOIA
Implementation Issued"
(posted 9/27/02); see also FOIA Post, "FOIA
Officers Conference Scheduled"

(posted 9/17/02). This guidance,
together with a copy of the new GAO report, was distributed to
representatives of all agencies at OIP's FOIA Officers Conference on
the day that it was issued. OIP also addressed this subject in
FOIA Post earlier in the year in anticipation of the completion of
GAO's updated E-FOIA implementation study. See FOIA Post, "GAO to
Update Its E-FOIA Implementation Study"
(posted 3/8/02).

Additionally, during 2002, OIP provided policy guidance to
agencies also on such subjects as the impact of the amendment to
the Freedom of Information Act that was enacted late in the year as
part of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003,
Pub. L. No. 107-306, 116 Stat. 2383, § 312 (2002) (to be codified
at 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A), (E)), see FOIA Post, "FOIA Amended by
Intelligence Authorization Bill"
(posted 12/23/02); the potential
use by agencies of the National Technical Information Service
(NTIS) as an alternative, highly efficient means of information
dissemination through its "superseding" fee schedules, see FOIA
Post
, "NTIS: An Available Means of Record Disclosure"
(posted
8/30/02; supplemented 9/23/02); and on the practices that should be
followed by all agencies in their use of "cut-off" dates for
determining the scope of records properly responsive to a FOIA request
in relation to the search that is conducted, see Freedom of Information Act Guide & Privacy Act Overview (May 2002), at 46-47.

(d) Additional FOIA Reference Materials

In 2002, OIP published a new edition of its longstanding FOIA
reference volume, the Freedom of Information Case List,
which has
been used as a reference tool by both those inside and those outside of
the federal government for more than two decades. This
volume contains a comprehensive list of court decisions in access
cases, which are indexed according to specific FOIA exemptions and
other topics. In the May 2002 edition, the number of decisions
listed and indexed in this volume surpassed 5000. In addition to
cases decided under the FOIA, this volume also included (1) lists
of cases decided under the Privacy Act of 1974, the Federal Advisory
Committee Act, and the Government in the Sunshine Act; (2) an
"overview" FOIA case list and a list of "reverse" FOIA cases; (3) a
chronological list of related law review articles; (4) an updated
topical index of all FOIA cases listed; and (5) the full texts of
the four major federal access statutes.

Additionally, in 2002 OIP also published what has become its
primary reference volume, the Freedom of Information Act Guide &
Privacy Act Overview
. The principal component of this publication
is the "Justice Department Guide to the Freedom of Information
Act," an extensive discussion of the Act's exemptions and its procedural aspects which formerly was published as part of the Case
List
volume. See FOIA Post, "New 'FOIA Guide' and Case List to Be
Published in May"
(posted 1/31/02). This publication also contains
an overview discussion of the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974
that is prepared by OIP in coordination with the Office of Management
and Budget, as well as the texts of both access statutes.

The
"Justice Department Guide to the FOIA" was updated and
expanded to more than 750 pages in length in 2002, in an improved
font style, and it made comprehensive use of electronic citations
(i.e., WESTLAW and LEXIS), in lieu of citations to slip opinions,
for more convenient reference purposes. For this revised edition
of the "Justice Department Guide to the FOIA," OIP made major revisions
incorporating the Attorney General's FOIA Memorandum of October 12,
2001 and the White House Homeland Security Directive of
March 19, 2002; it included new homeland security-related discussions
in applicable sections; it added entirely new subsections to
two exemption sections; and it added multiple new discussions of
the newly sensitive issue of waiver of FOIA exemptions in litigation.

OIP distributed courtesy copies of the 2002 Freedom of Information Case List and the 2002 Freedom of Information Act Guide &
Privacy Act Overview

to each federal agency, to various congressional offices, and to other
interested parties. It also facilitated both volumes' wide distribution
within the executive branch
at a low per-copy cost and made them available without cost through
the Justice Department's FOIA-training programs. Additional copies
of both the Case List and the Guide & Overview were made available
to agencies and to the public through the Government Printing
Office at a cost of $45 and $60 per copy, respectively. OIP also
placed the major component parts of the Guide & Overview on the
"Reference Materials" part of the Department's FOIA Web site (where
they can be accessed at www.usdoj.gov/oip/04_7.html) in order to
afford electronic access to them as well.

For additional reference purposes, during 2002, all issues of
FOIA Update for the years 1979-2000 were made available on the Justice Department's FOIA Web site, where they were fully accessible
electronically -- and were "keyword searchable" -- as an aid to
ready research. 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
2002 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 five
detailed attachments, and it contains much information that is
readily adaptable for use by all other federal agencies in their
own FOIA reference guides. An updated edition of this publication
was issued by OIP in December 2002; further, its earlier edition
was supplemented during the year with additional information pertaining
to 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 Mexico and
the United Kingdom in their preparations for the implementation of
their new FOIA-like 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 2002
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 a copy of each agency's annual
FOIA report each year, reviews it for correctness and completeness,
and then makes all such reports promptly available at its central
electronic site. These annual FOIA reports, beginning with those
for fiscal year 1998, are organized by the Department and made
readily accessed to the public on the Department's FOIA Web site.


Additionally, in 2002 OIP continued to expand its practice 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 2002 report of the General Accounting
Office entitled "Update on the Implementation of
the 1996 Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments"
and its
2001 predecessor. This GAO report found that OIP's expanded review
activities "have resulted in improvements to both the quality of
agencies' annual reports and on-line availability of information."
Id. at 62. Also, as noted above, OIP in 2002 extended its new
practice of issuing governmentwide compilations of agency annual
FOIA report data by preparing compilations for the two preceding
years.

In 2002, OIP also worked together with the General Services
Administration (GSA) and the Office of Management and Budget to
publish an updated edition of a publication entitled "Your Right to
Federal Records,"
the federal government's basic public information
brochure on access to agency information. This joint publication
of the Justice Department and GSA, which is made available to the
general public in brochure form through GSA's Consumer Information
Center, is designed to answer the basic questions of any person who
is interested in exercising his or her statutory rights under the
FOIA and/or the Privacy Act of 1974 to seek access to records
maintained by any federal agency. Over the years, it consistently has
been one of the Consumer Information Center's most heavily requested
brochures, and it also is made available to the public electronically
through the Justice Department's FOIA Web site.

Lastly, at the request of the Committee on Government Reform
of the House of Representatives, OIP assisted the Committee in the
preparation of its biennial FOIA reference publication, A Citizen's
Guide on Using the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act
of 1974 to Request Government Records
, H.R. Rep. No. 371, 107th
Cong., 2d Sess. (2002). That reference tool, as well as many
others, is listed in the "Basic FOIA References" Section of the
"Justice Department Guide to the FOIA," as updated in 2002. See
Freedom of Information Act Guide & Privacy Act Overview (May 2002),
at 768-74.

(e) Training

During
2002, OIP furnished speakers and workshop instructors
for a variety of seminars, conferences, public broadcasts, 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. Eighteen professional
staff members of OIP gave a total of 138 training presentations
during the year, including at several training sessions designed to
meet the specific FOIA-training needs of individual agencies. Such
individualized training sessions were conducted for the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Environmental Protection
Agency, the Office of Government Ethics, the United States Postal
Service, the Library of Congress, the Fish and Wildlife Service,
the National Federal Credit Union Administration, and the Food and
Drug Administration; for the Departments of Labor, Transportation,
and the Treasury; and for several individual components of the
Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
OIP training presentations also were made at the annual convention of
the National Conference of Editorial Writers, at the
Homeland Security Summit of the State of Indiana, at the Annual
Federal Dispute Resolution Conference, and for two local bar
associations.


Additionally, the co-directors of OIP gave a total of 103 presentations
at various FOIA-training programs, including those held
by the American Society of Access Professionals, the American Bar
Association, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the Freedom
Forum, the National Press Club, and the
Army Judge Advocate General's School. They made key presentations
at the Department of Labor's Annual FOIA Conference, NASA's Annual
FOIA Conference, the Department of Transportation's Annual FOIA
Conference, the American Bar Association's Annual Midyear Meeting,
the Freedom Forum's Annual Freedom of Information Day Celebration,
and at a conference conducted by the Freedom Forum's First Amendment
Center. They also made multiple appearances on C-SPAN, video
conference broadcasts, and a foreign television network ("Canal N,"
based in Lima, Peru) in publicly discussing the Department's FOIA
policies and practices, most particularly regarding post-9/11 homeland
security-related concerns, and gave several related interviews
to print media in coordination with the Justice Department's Office
of Public Affairs. During the year, one of the co-directors also
represented the United States and presented a paper at the 2002
Freedom of Information and Data Protection Conference held in London,
England.

In
conjunction with the Justice Department's National Advocacy
Center, OIP conducted a wide range of FOIA-training programs in
2002, 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 2002 in Columbia, South Carolina (now
the base location of the National Advocacy Center), and in Washington,
D.C. as well. OIP also conducted two sessions in 2002 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 forum for
the governmentwide exchange of ideas and information on all matters
of FOIA administration, this training program regularly brings
together veteran FOIA processors from throughout the government and
encourages them to share their experience in administering the Act
on a daily basis. Also conducted twice in 2002 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 special segment covering the
electronic availability and annual FOIA reporting requirements of
the Electronic FOIA amendments as addressed by the GAO reports
discussed above.

In
addition to its regular range of FOIA-training programs
that are offered in conjunction with the Justice Department's
National Advocacy Center, OIP also conducted a training seminar in
2002 that is designed for the access professional or agency official
who needs only a periodic update on current FOIA case law and
policy developments. Entitled the "FOIA Guide Seminar," it was
conducted by OIP immediately after completion of the 2002 edition
of the "Justice Department Guide to the Freedom of Information
Act," a special prepublication copy of which was provided to all
seminar attendees for immediate delivery to their agencies. This
program, which is conducted on a biennial basis in conjunction with
the "FOIA Guide"'s publication, efficiently helps to meet the
consistently high demand for FOIA training in the Washington, D.C.
area. In 2002, OIP arranged to conduct this program in the main
auditorium of the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center Building,
where more than 500 FOIA personnel, representing nearly all
federal agencies, were able to attend.

Lastly,
as is referenced above, in 2002 OIP also held a FOIA
Officers Conference for the principal FOIA officers of all federal
agencies to promptly discuss the report of GAO's 2002 study of
governmentwide E-FOIA implementation, which updated a study completed
by GAO on the same subject in 2001. By special arrangement with
GAO, in conjunction with the Subcommittee on Government Efficiency,
Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Relations of the House
Committee on Government Reform, OIP timed this conference to coincide
with the report's public issuance, and it obtained copies from
GAO for immediate distribution to all agencies directly at this
program. More than 100 agency representatives attended.

(f) Briefings


OIP conducted a number of general or specific FOIA briefings
during 2002 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 the nations of Japan, Peru, China, Kazakhstan,
Haiti, France, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Poland,
four additional Eastern European nations, and several nations of
French Equatorial Africa. It also provided such briefings to Members of
the Mexican Congress, Members of the Parliament of Ghana,
and the Chairperson of the Access to Information Task Force of Canada.


Additionally, in 2002 OIP continued to provide briefing and
consultation 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 conducted briefings
on FOIA policy for representatives of the American Society of
Newspaper Editors and for representatives of the Society of
Professional Journalists; it provided a formal public consultation and
editorial assistance to the Freedom of Information Center of the
University of Missouri School of Journalism; it briefed conference
committee staff for the House Energy Committee on the FOIA-related
aspects of pending bioterrorism legislation; it briefed the Senate
Governmental Affairs Committee staff on the FOIA aspects of pending
homeland security legislation; it briefed a National Security
Council/Office of Science and Technology Policy working group on
implementation of the March 19, 2002 Card Memorandum; and it provided
two briefings to foreign delegations visiting the United States
under the auspices of the Council of Government Ethics Laws. OIP
also held several briefings, and provided other forms of assistance, in
support of the General Accounting Office's FOIA-related
activities during the year.

(g) Congressional and Public Inquiries

In 2002, OIP responded to twenty-three 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 eight complaints received 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 more than one hundred 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 2002 continued to
be smaller than in recent years, largely due to the increased
availability of information that is now accessible to the public
through the Justice Department's FOIA Web site.


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