Assignment #7B Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that helps keep citizens updated with information about the government and what is going on with the government. It is also described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.It contains declassified documents, presidential paper collections, congressional records, and court testimony. Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.

The FOIA also requires agencies to proactively post online certain categories of information, including frequently requested records. As Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court have all recognized, the FOIA is a vital part of our democracy.

The American agency which administers the work in the FOIA is a group referred to as the Archive.The Archive  serves as a repository of government records on a wide range of topics pertaining to the national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States.Archive staff members systematically track U.S. government agencies and federal records repositories for documents that either have never been released before, or that help to shed light on the decision-making process of the U.S. government and provide the historical context underlying those decisions. The Office of Information Policy of the  U.S. Department of Justice also administers the work proposed in the FOIA. The Department of State also has access to department records.

President Obama and the Department of Justice have directed agencies to apply a presumption of openness in responding to FOIA requests. The Department of Justice, in its 2009 FOIA Guidelines, emphasized that the President has called on agencies to work in a spirit of cooperation with FOIA requesters. The Office of Information Policy at the Department of Justice oversees agency compliance with these directives and encourages all agencies to fully comply with both the letter and the spirit of the FOIA.

I believe that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) does benefit citizens because it allows people to be aware of what’s going on in the government. It keeps citizens updated on what is going on in the world. I also believe that the FOIA does benefit citizens because it removes a lot of mystery behind the scenes and allows us, as citizens, to make the best all-around decision when it comes down to it. People should be informed about everything that is happening around the world. People should be able to make the right decisions and should be able to feel safe.

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