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Group Says FBI Using Outdated and Deliberately Limited Search Process in Freedom of Information Act

Anyone who has ever filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI knows it can take forever to get the results. They also know they may not ever get the results they want. A private group, the National Security Archives, is now giving the agency grief about this — and deservedly so.

By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — If information were a river, the FBI would be a dam.

Two out of every three people who ask for FBI records under the Freedom of Information Act are told by the bureau no such documents exist — a failure rate five times higher than at other major federal agencies, a private study finds.

The FBI is using an outdated and deliberately limited search process to avoid full compliance with the records law, the National Security Archive asserts. The Archive is a private group that publishes declassified government documents and files many FOIA requests.

The Archive awarded the FBI its Rosemary Award for the worst Freedom of Information Act performance by a federal agency.

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