GWU National Security Archive Says DOJ Evaluation of FOIA Compliance Too Rosy

The government's track record on FOIA requests is much murkier than advertised


The fields of green in an August Justice Department traffic-light scoring report on agency Freedom of Information Act administration are an exaggeration, says the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

The DOJ report (.pdf) assigns a colored grade for 17 metrics to the 99 federal agencies subject to FOIA. The National Security Archive, a highly active FOIA requester, notes in an Aug. 15 blog post that more than 80 percent of the grades are green, suggesting a highly positive picture of FOIA responsiveness among agencies.

"The true state of FOIA in the US is markedly more mixed; the DOJ OIP is engaging in grade inflation," says Nate Jones, archive freedom of information coordinator.