Lengthy Wait for Federal Agencies to Respond to Public Records Requests

The Freeedom Of Information Act went into effect July 4, 1967 and requires a federal agency to provide an initial response to a request within 20 days and then to provide the documents in a timely manner. According to a Mercury News article dated July 2, 2007, a survey of FOIA requests shows that the oldest pending request has been waiting for a response for 20 years; sixteen other requests have been pending for more than 15 years. The survey found that 10 federal agencies has misrepresented the age of their oldest pending request to Congress and also showed that the State Department accounted for most of the oldest unanswered requests.

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