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Declassified Documents: FOIA Information

A guide to locating declassified documents at UCSB Library.

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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/Privacy Act Information

The following titles and web sites provide good background to FOIA and Privacy Act issues and laws, including the 9 exclusions. They also provide information for those who want to file a FOIA request with an agency. Most federal agencies have web sites with information about how that agency implements FOIA as well. A search of the relevant agency website should product the necessary information.

  • FOIA Machine is a public tool that can help with placing FOIA requests

FOIA Reading Rooms

As part of the FOIA, federal agencies must make certain categories of records available for public viewing.  Some agencies have created online 'reading rooms' that consist of '(1) "final opinions [and] . . . orders" rendered in the adjudication of administrative cases; (2) specific agency policy statements; (3) certain administrative staff manuals; and, (4) as of March 31, 1997, records disclosed in response to a FOIA request that "the agency determines have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records.' 

Websites of Interest

FOIA Electronic Reading Room, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
The CIA has established this site to provide the public with an overview of access to CIA information, including electronic access to previously released documents.

OpenNet, Department of Energy
OpenNet includes references to all documents declassified and made publicly available after October 1, 1994. New references are added periodically as they occur. These collections include citations to several types of documents. Some have been declassified in total, and are termed "declassified." Others have had classified or other restricted information removed to produce a "sanitized" copy. The term "redacted" is sometimes used to refer to these documents.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Electronic Reading Room, National Archives and Records Administration.
This site contains information routinely available to the public as well as documents frequently requested under the Freedom of Information Act. It will continue to grow as they add records in which the public expresses an interest.

Declassification Initiatives, National Security Agency
NSA reviews for declassification all permanently classified documents 25 years or older. As these documents are declassified, they are turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

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