Spotlight on FOIA

March 14, 2012
March 12th was the start of Sunshine Week.  To commemorate the third anniversary of the issuance of Attorney General Holder’s FOIA Guidelines, the Department held an event in the Great Hall of Main Justice with a speech from the Attorney General.  Additionally, the Department is marking the first anniversary of the launch of FOIA.Gov.  You can read about both events on The Justice Blog.


March 14, 2012
OIP Director Melanie Ann Pustay testified in a Sunshine Week hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, entitled "The Freedom of Information Act: Safeguarding Critical Infrastructure Information and the Public's Right to Know." You can watch a webcast of the entire hearing and read Director Pustay’s prepared statement on the Committee’s website.

HUD Expands Services to Communicate with the Public in 175 Languages
January 31, 2012
On December 22, 2011, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it has launched the HUD Language Line, a telephone language service pilot that will offer live, one-on-one interpretation services in more than 175 languages. Accessible throughout the nation, the language line will help HUD staff to better communicate with Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals and families about HUD housing programs, services, and activities.

New Search Feature Added to FOIA.Gov
December 15, 2011
Yesterday, a new feature was added to FOIA.Gov, the Department’s FOIA website, to make it easier for the public to locate documents that have been posted by agencies on their websites. Across the government agencies have widely embraced the President’s and Attorney General’s call to make more information available to the public proactively, on agency websites, so that what is known and done by the government is readily accessible to the public. During the past two years, agencies have posted a wide variety of information and data on their websites and have created dedicated web pages on particular topics of interest to the public. Those proactive disclosures are being made on an on-going basis, providing the public with a rich resource of information in a readily accessible format.

To enhance the public’s ability to locate all this material that is being made available, the Department of Justice has added a search tool to FOIA.Gov. This tool searches across all federal government websites, including the smaller offices and components that make up the larger agencies. By entering any given search term, the public will see all the various documents that have been posted on that topic by any federal agency. This tool reaches not just those documents that have been released in response to previous FOIA requests, but also captures all the proactive disclosures that agencies are continually making throughout their websites.

Before making a FOIA request, we encourage the public to first use this search tool to see what has already been made available on the topic across the federal government. The search tool is located under the “Find” tab on FOIA.Gov. This tab is visible from any page of the site to make it easy to do a search at any time.

September 23, 2011
On Friday, the White House released its Status Report on Open Government, which provides a look at the Administration’s substantial steps to increase participation and collaboration in government, and to make government more transparent. This status report highlights the significant progress being made under the Administration’s unprecedented efforts to promote greater disclosure and efficiency in FOIA administration, including the Department of Justice’s launch of FOIA.Gov and OIP’s Fiscal Year 2012 initiative to focus on improving the FOIA process through the use of technology. You can read more about the Department’s efforts to improve transparency and advance America’s open government agenda on The Justice Blog.

OIP Website Update
September 23, 2011
As part of our goal to make the OIP website the most comprehensive agency FOIA website, we have further updated the Training page of our site, with more inclusive information regarding the training seminars that are offered by OIP. The new Training page includes descriptions of the yearly training offered by OIP and the Office of Legal Education, information on specialized and public training seminars, and materials used at our various training events. We will continue to update this page with new materials as we provide as much educational information on the FOIA as possible.


June 16, 2011
To assist agencies in properly processing FOIA requests and to aid requesters in understanding the scope of Exemption 3, OIP has compiled an updated list of statutes that courts have found to qualify under Exemption 3. This list, along with the chart of statutes that agencies used in conjunction with Exemption 3 during Fiscal Year 2010, can always be found on the FOIA Resources page of our site.


May 5, 2011
FOIA.Gov has added new stories to its FOIA Spotlight feature about the CIA declassifying and releasing documents from World War I; the FBI’s new electronic records center, The Vault and the National Transportation Safety Board releasing factual reports on the plane crash that killed former Senator Ted Stevens. These stories join the recently-spotlighted release by the U.S. Secret Service of audio files, transcripts, and interview reports pertaining to the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. As new stories will routinely be posted, continue to visit FOIA.Gov for information on the latest releases from the federal government.


March 16, 2011
OIP Director Melanie Ann Pustay testified in a Sunshine Week hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, "The Freedom of Information Act: Ensuring Transparency and Accountability in the Digital Age." Read Director Pustay’s prepared statement to the Committee, or watch a webcast of the entire hearing.


March 14, 2011
As the flagship initiative of the Department’s Open Government Plan, OIP is proud to announce the launch of FOIA.Gov, a comprehensive public resource for government-wide FOIA information and data. FOIA.Gov displays graphically a wealth of data on agency FOIA compliance, contains educational material about how the FOIA works, and contact information for all government agencies.  OIP’s own website will always provide a link to FOIA.Gov on the right hand side of our site.


March 11, 2011
Federal Agencies across the government are undertaking a wide variety of initiatives to implement the President’s Memorandum on the FOIA and the Attorney General’s FOIA Guidelines. OIP has compiled many of the successes that key agencies have had over the last year in their implementation of these important directives. The successes of the last year build upon concrete steps reported by agencies last year, and reveal an ongoing trend as agencies develop a new culture of transparency.


March 2011
Federal agencies have completed their 2011 Chief FOIA Officer Reports for the Attorney General, detailing their efforts to improve transparency and addressing the steps they have taken to implement the presumption of openness in their administration of the FOIA. This is the second year that agency Chief FOIA Officers have submitted these reports to the Department of Justice, as directed by Attorney General Holder’s FOIA Guidelines. The 2011 reports build upon the improvements and initiatives agencies first implemented in 2009, as noted in last year’s Chief FOIA Officer Reports, and summarized by OIP.


January 14, 2011
DOJ has released its Fiscal Year 2010 Annual FOIA Report, which provides statistics on the Department’s administration of the FOIA this past year.  You can read the report through the Reports page of our site or view and compare the raw data contained in the report on FOIA.Gov.  Make sure you also check the Annual FOIA Reports from other federal departments and agencies, which are available on the Reports page, as well as on FOIA.Gov.


August 9, 2010
OIP provides training on all aspects of the FOIA throughout the year in many locations. Here is a list of all training in 2011. Remember to come back to the OIP website regularly for the most up to date training information.
Updated September 24, 2014

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