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Question about freedom of information

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posted on Jul, 7 2005 @ 06:15 PM
I have a question about freedom of information. Im not sure how the programs differ from country to country, but I would like to ask a general question to anyone who thinks they know.

Correct me if I am wrong at anytime.

You can request information and still be denied if they claim that the info could be a security threat.

Basically top secret stuff is a no go.

My real question is this. How does the whole process go?

Is there a "raincheck" system as I call it?

Say I request info about oh say, a terrorist act in the states the day, or the minute I hear about it. Perhaps at the time infomation is not classified, but later, days, hours etc, the issue could be deemed classified.

If I request information about it sooner does that mean I will get different information.

Its just something Ive wondered about.

I guess if this were the case you would have to know exacttly what you want.

Ive never requested anything so im not sure. Hopefully people will understand what I asked in this thread.

posted on Jul, 8 2005 @ 12:39 PM
Not everything is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Besides stuff stamped 'classified', certain personnel information is not available. Other information is restricted, such as archaeological sites on public lands and endangered species nesting sites. Information can pass into or outside FOIA depending on timeliness and current relevancy; and depending on the subjective interpretation by the reviewer. Requests are not usually held open. If more information comes available later, you must make a new request.

You make the request to the agency that has the information. Every office has a FOIA coordinator that decides how to handle the request. If the request is simple and straightforward the information may be provided quickly. Each agency is somewhat different, but a few pages are usually free. Requests that require a great deal of time and effort to compile may be charged for the effort. You would get a few pages and a letter saying if you want all of it send money. You can request an appeal of agency decisions to deny the request or to charge for it.

I used to work for a major land management agency in GIS support. A few months after 9/11 I received a FOIA request from our coordinator. She saw no problem with it and send it on to me to fill. When I looked at the request I was puzzled and alarmed. The requestor wanted data on municipal watersheds in California. The address to send it to was an anonymous webmail site in Germany. Needless to say, I did not send the information and instead sent the request back to the coordinator, and realizing her mistake in approving it initially forwarded the request to criminal investigators (never heard what happened after that). We occasionally received 'monkeywrench' requests from environmental organizations. They would ask for thousands of hard copy pages of raw data in binary or hex code that was useless to them. The intent was to tie several people up for several days in frivolous work. That stopped after we started charging for the requests.

posted on Jul, 8 2005 @ 09:22 PM
thanks for the informative reply.


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