Oldest Pending FOIA Request Now 20 Years Old, Still on Referral Among Multiple Agencies

Forty-five years after President Johnson signed the U.S. Freedom of Information Act into law in 1966, federal agency backlogs of FOIA requests are growing, with the oldest requests at eight agencies dating back over a decade and the single oldest request now 20 years old, according to the Knight Open Government Survey by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. 

The survey shows that the oldest requests in the U.S. government were submitted before the fall of the Soviet Union.  These unfulfilled requests – some for documents that are themselves more than 50 years old – are victims of an endless referral process in which any agency that claims “equity” can censor their release.

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