AOH :: P42-12.TXT

The Freedom Of Information Act and You


                              ==Phrack Magazine==

                  Volume Four, Issue Forty-Two, File 12 of 14


                  %@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%
                  | The Freedom of Information Act and You  |
                  |                                         |
                  |                   by                    |
                  |               Vince Niel                |
                  |                                         |
                  %@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%@%


    As we all know of our United State government in the modern era, Big
Brother is watching.  It is naive to think that we do not live in a world
similar to the one described is George Orwell's novel, 1984.  The government
keeps tabs on everything we do.  The federal government has thousands of
documents concerning individual citizens.  For example:

If you have worked for a federal agency or government contractor or have been
a member of any branch of the armed services, the federal government has a
file on you.

If you have participated in any federally financed project, some agency
probably has a record of it.

If you have been arrested by local, state or federal authorities and your
fingerprints were taken, the FBI maintains a record of you and that arrest.

If you have applied for or received a student loan or grant certified by the
government, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare has recorded the
information.

If you have applied for or been investigated for a security clearance for any
reason, the Department of Defense has a record of you.

    And these records are not just records of application.  Take for example
the FBI.  Once you commit a crime, they are watching you.  They update your
file every time there is a major occurrence in your life i.e. marriage,
hospitalization, joining the military, committing another crime, etc.  If they
find the least likelihood of suspicion, they investigate you in depth to add
even more to your file.  People do not even realize how large their FBI file
is.

    If you were ever on a pirate board that got busted, and you had your info
on there, all the users' info on the bulletin board is transferred to the
federal government.  There a file is opened up for each individual user.  And
if you ever get in trouble with the law, that file will be opened up and used
against you if necessary.  Before I continue, I would like to site an example
of a man who ordered his file from the army.  This file was created when he
applied for a security clearance with the military years before.  In it said:

..  He owed 50 cents to his high school for not returning his locker key.
..  He dated 2 or 3 times a week, and was not intimate with his dates.
..  He was irresponsible because he owed a $5 jaywalking ticket in Seattle.

    So what can you do about this big bureaucratic machine we call our
government?  Simple, fight back!  The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA as it
will be referred to) was passed and allows you to obtain your personal records
from any governmental agency.  A typeup of most of the agencies plus the
actual act can be found at the end of this file.

    There are restrictions to the act, but it can be quite useful to any
individual who has had run-ins with the law or who just wants to know what the
federal government has on him.  You can even go to court against the
government if a document is denied to you and you think you deserve to see it.
The act is not widely know, and for good reason.  The government doesn't want
you to know what they are doing.  But alas, the information will be set free,
the people have a right to know!

    And don't think that the only interesting documents are the ones from the
FBI and CIA.  Fascinating documents can be gotten from the IRS, Department of
Health, Department of Schools, Federal Traffic Administration, HUD, National
Credit Union, with information you will never believe people who actually
store about you.


    The Specifics of Asking For Your Personal File From a Particular Agency
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    First of all, I would like to bring up a major misconception people make.
Most people assume that if you ask for your file from the FBI, and there isn't
a file on you, one will be created for you.  That is an untrue and extremely
paranoid statement.  The government has better things to do then open up files
on curious citizens.  And even if by some remote chance they do open up a file
for you, who cares?  They have a files on millions of people, its not like it
will hinder you in life.  Just be careful out there, that is all I can say.

    The most important thing that can be done when asking for information from
a governmental agency under the FOIA is to make it as brief, concise, and
specific as possible.  In this way, you will get your information, or refusal
as soon as possible, and you will also curb copying fees (which will be
discussed later).  First you have to find the agency that concerns you.  If
you are not sure which agency to apply to, send your letter to more than one.
There will be a list of agencies at the end of this file, but a complete list
of agencies can be found in the United States Government Manual.  This can be
found at any library.

    The request should be addressed to the agency's FOIA officer or to the
head of the specific agency.  Most agencies have a secretary to deal with all
the FOIA applications.  The smaller agencies, which you probably will not be
concerned with, might not have an officer.  On the bottom left hand corner of
the envelope "Freedom of Information Act Request" should be printed legibly.
This guarantees that your letter won't get caught in the paperwork shuffle.

    All agencies has FOIA regulation that you should look at.  They do not
want to send out 'sensitive' documents and whatnot.  These regulations also
describe the request process in detail.  Here you can also find out what
specific document you are looking for, reducing fees from the agency.  These
regulations can be found in "The Code of Federal Regulations", which can also
be found at your local library.

    Most agencies require that you get your letter 'notarized' or they won't
even look at it.  This prevents you from impersonating someone else and
getting their file.  To get your letter notarized, all you have to do is go to
your local bank.  Show some proof that the person signing the letter is you
(with an id or something) and they will notarize it.  Now the government has
no excuse for not taking your letter.
There are four parts to an FOIA request letter:

    1) Request being made under the FOIA.
    2) Records that are sought, as specifically as possible.
    3) Name and address of the person requesting the information.  Telephone
       number is not necessary, but you will find out about the outcome of
       your request much quicker.
    4) How much money you are willing to spend for the document (explained
       later).

Here is a sample letter, just fill in your information:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Agency Head [or Freedom of Information Act Officer]
Name of Agency
Address of Agency
City, State, Zip Code

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

    I request a copy of the following documents [or documents containing the
following information if you do not know the specific name of the document] be
provided for me: [identify the documents as accurately as possible]

    In order to help determine my status to assess fees, you should know that
I am an individual seeking information for personal use and not for commercial
use.  [always, always say you are an individual.  That way, you will not have
to pay extra fees because you are part of the media or a commercial endeavor.]

    [Optional] I am willing to pay fees for this request up to a maximum of
$__.  If you estimate the fees will exceed this limit, please inform me first.

    [Optional] I request a waiver of all fees for this request.  Disclosure of
the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely
to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or
activities  of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest
[include specific information].

    Thank you for your consideration of this request.

                    Sincerely,

                    Name
                    Address
                    City, State, Zip Code
                    Telephone Number [Optional]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some of the things in the letter may not be understood at first, but I will
get to them.


Money:

    As you might have guessed, getting information under the FOIA is not free,
but it can be cheapened if you play your cards right.  As specified in the
letter, always say that you are an individual seeking information not for
commercial purposes.  Review is the process of going through documents and
checking if they can be sent to you or not.  Under the law, if you are a
private individual and are not requesting information for commercial purposes,
you cannot be charged with review fees!

    All agencies have set fees for copying a document.  Fees can also be taken
for searching for a document.  If you are an individual, you will be charged
the least amount of money.  Of course, if you have no idea in hell what the
name of the document is, and you are stabbing in the dark it is a good idea to
write in a set amount you are willing to spend.  When the amount is reached,
you will be notified.  This is in the letter above.

    You don't want to be jacked for a bill of 150 bucks if you send them a
letter 'just send me everything you got on me'.  Even if you have no idea what
they have, you can say 'please send me all the dossiers, legal documents, and
records you have under my name'.  Remember, the government likes bureaucratic
bullshit.  If you do not phrase you letter right, they will nail you on it.  A
lot of agencies will waive the cost of processing if it is under $3, and even
if you receive a bill, it should not exceed 5-10 dollars.

    If you can somehow prove that by accessing this information, it will help
the general public understand how the government works, you can waive the fee
altogether.  If through some form of shrewd doublespeak you can think of
something clever to satisfy this obligation, you can then request huge amounts
of documents, without paying a cent for them.

Restrictions:

    Of course, there are restrictions to the Freedom of Information Act.  Some
documentation may be said to be sensitive and out of reach of the public eye.
Any refusal to grant information through the FOIA may be taken to court, and
won.  In the act, it states that cases brought up because of the FOIA should
be put first on the court docket and tried as soon as possible.  Its always
worth a try.

    When a record contains some information that is withheld, it does not
necessarily mean that the whole record is exempt.  The federal agency is
obliged to cut out the portion that is sensitive, and send you the portion it
can disclose.  The agency must also give you a reason why it cut out this
portion of the document.

Here are a few of the reasons for exemption:

1) Classified Documents - Classified Documents may be withheld.  The documents
   may be classified in the interest of national defense and foreign policy.
   Classified documents may still be requested.  The agency will review the
   document to determine whether it still needs protection.  If a requested
   document is already declassified, it can be easily requested.

2) Internal Personal Rules and Practices - This exemption covers matters
   related to an agency's internal rules and practices.  Requests for Internal
   schedules, administrative manuals and the like can be refused.

3) Confidential Business Information - Trade secrets or commercially valuable
   plans do not have to be released.  Commercial or financial information does
   not also have to be released, as it might hurt an individual.

4) Personal Privacy - This covers personnel, medical, and similar files of
   which disclosed would interfere with personal privacy.  This exemption has
   importance because it prevents a commercial business from getting
   information about you.  At the same time, it allows you to get private
   information stored about yourself.  This is why it is important to get your
   letter notarized.

5) Law Enforcement - This allows law enforcement agencies to withhold law
   enforcement records in order to protect themselves and others.  If there is
   a trial going on, you can't request your file.  Its smart to get your file
   from the feds now, while you still can.  Don't wait until you get in some
   serious shit, and then you don't even know what they have on you!  If you
   know what they have on you, you know how to fight back.

    If you request does get refused, there is still hope.  If you think that
under the FOIA's legal terms you deserve to have the document, you can send a
letter of appeal.  This letter can also be used to argue that their processing
charge was unfair.  The appeal letter is shown below:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Agency Head or Appeal Officer
Name of Agency
Address of Agency
City, State, Zip Code

Re: Freedom of Information Act Appeal

Dear:
      This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act.

    On (date), I requested documents under the Freedom of Information Act.  My
request was assigned the following identification number: ______.  On (date),
I received a response to my request in a letter signed by (name of official).
I appeal the denial of my request.

    [Optional] The documents that were withheld must be disclosed under the
FOIA because...

    [Optional] I appeal the decision to deny my request for a waiver of fees.
I believe that I am entitles to a waiver of fees.  Disclosure of the documents
I requested is in the public interest because the information is likely to
contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or
activities of government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.
(Provide Details)

    [Optional]  I appeal the decision to require me to pay review costs for
this request.  I am not seeking this document for commercial use.  (Provide
Details)


    Thank you for your consideration of this appeal.

                      Sincerely,

                      Name
                      Address
                      City, State, Zip Code
                      Telephone Number [Optional]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Here is a listing of a few government agencies that hold records on individual
citizens:

Agriculture
     Department of Agriculture
     Washington, D.C. 20250

Air Force
     Department of the Air Force
     The Pentagon
     Washington, D.C. 20330

Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health
     Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration
     5600 Fisher Lane
     Rockville, Maryland 20857

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
     Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
     1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20226

American Battle Monuments
     American Battle Monuments Commission:
     40014 Forrestal Bldg.
     Washington, D.C. 20314

Appalachian Regional
     Appalachian Regional Commission:
     1666 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20235

Arms Control and Disarmament
     U.S. Army Control and Disarmament Agency
     320 21st Street
     Washington, D.C. 20451

Army
     Department of the Army
     The Pentagon
     Washington, D.C. 20314

Census
     Bureau of the Census
     Federal Building 3
     Washington, D.C. 20233

CIA
     Central Intelligence Agency
     Washington, D.C. 20505

Civil Aeronautics
     Civil Aeronautics Board
     1825 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20428

Civil Rights
     Civil Rights Commission
     1121 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20425

Civil Service
     Civil Service Commission
     1900 E Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20415


Coastal Plains
     Coastal Plains Regional Commission
     1725 K Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20006

Commerce
     Department of Commerce
     Washington, D.C. 20230

Community Services
     Community Services Administration
     1200 19th Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20506

Consumer Product Safety
     Consumer Product Safety Commission
     1111 18th Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20207

Copyright Office
     Copyright Office
     Library of Congress
     Washington, D.C. 20559

Customs Service
     U.S. Customs Service
     1301 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20229

Defense
     Department of Defense
     The Pentagon
     Washington, D.C. 20301

Defense Contracts Audits
     Defense Contracts Audits Agency
     Cameron Station
     Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Defense Intelligence
     Defense Intelligence Agency
     RDS-3A
     Washington, D.C. 20301

Defense Investigation
     Defense Investigative Services
     D0020
     Washington, D.C. 20304

Defense Logistical
     Defense Logistical Agency
     Cameron Station
     Alexandria, Virginia, 22314

Defense Mapping
     Defense Mapping Agency
     Naval Observatory
     Washington, D.C. 20305

Disease Control
     Center for Disease Control
     Atlanta, Georgia 30333

Economic Development
     Economic Development Administration
     Department of Commerce
     14th & Constitution Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20230

Education
     Office of Education
     400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20202

Energy
     Department of Energy
     U.S. Department of Energy
     Washington, D.C. 20461
EPA
     Environmental Protection Agency
     401 M Street, S.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20460

Environmental Quality
     Council on Environmental Quality
     722 Jackson Place, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20006

Equal Employment Opportunity
     Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
     2401 E Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20506

Export-Import Bank
     Export-Import Bank of the U.S.
     811 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20571

FAA
     Federal Aviations Administration
     800 Independence Avenue, S.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20591

FBI
     Federal Bureau of Investigation
     9th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20535

FCC
     Federal Communications Commission
     1919 M Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20554

Federal Elections
     Federal Election Commission
     550 17th Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20463

Federal Highways
     Federal Highway Administration
     400 7th Street, S.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20590

Federal Power
     Federal Power Commission
     825 North Capitol Street
     Washington, D.C. 20426

Federal Trade
     Federal Trade Commission
     6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20580

Food and Drug
     Food and Drug Administration
     5600 Fisher Lane
     Rockville, Maryland 20857

Foreign Claims Settlement
     Foreign Claims Settlement Commission
     1111 20th Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20579

General Accounting
     General Accounting Office
     441 G. Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20548

General Services
     General Services Administration
     18th and F Streets, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20405

Health, Education, and Welfare
     U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
     200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20201

Health Resources
     Health Resources Administration
     3700 East West Highway
     Hyattsville Maryland 20782

Health Services
     Health Services Administration
     5600 Fisher Lane
     Rockville, Maryland 20857

HUD
     Department of Housing and Urban Development
     Washington, D.C. 20410

Immigration and Naturalization
     Immigration and Naturalization Service
     425 I Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20536

Information Agency
     U.S. Information Agency
     1750 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20547

Interior
     Department of the Interior
     18th and C Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20240

IRS
     Internal Revenue Service
     1111 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20224

International Development
     Agency for International Development
     21st and Virginia Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20532

International Trade
     International Trade Commission
     701 E Street, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20436

ICC
     Interstate Commerce Commission
     12th and Constitutional Avenue, N.W.
     Washington, D.C. 20423

Justice
     Department of Justice
     Washington, D.C. 20530

Labor
     Department of Labor
     Washington, D.C. 20210

Law Enforcement Assistance
    Law Enforcement Assistance Administration
    633 Indiana Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20230

National Aeronautics and Space
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20546

National Archives and Records
    National Archives and Records Service
    Washington, D.C. 20408

National Credit Union
    National Credit Union Administration
    2025 M Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20506

National Endowment for the Arts
    National Endowment for the Arts
    806 15th Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20506

National Endowment for Humanities
    National Endowment for Humanities
    806 15th Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20506

National Highway Traffic Safety
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    400 7th Street, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20590

National Institute of Education
    National Institute of Education
    1200-19th Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20208

National Institute of Health
    National Institute of Health
    9000 Rockville Pike
    Rockville, Maryland 20014

National Labor Relations
    National Labor Relations Board
    1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20570

National Science Foundation
    National Science Foundation
    1800 G Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20550

National Security Agency
    National Security Agency
    Fort George Meade, Maryland 20755

National Security Council
    National Security Council
    Old Executive Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20506

National Transportation Safety
    National Transportation Safety Board
    800 Independence Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20594

Navy
    Department of the Navy
    The Pentagon
    Washington, D.C. 20350

Nuclear Regulation
    Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Washington, D.C. 20555



Overseas Private Investment
    Overseas Private Investment Corporation
    1129 20th Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20527

Postal Service
    U.S. Postal Service
    475 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20260

Prisons
    Bureau of Prisons
    320 First Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20534

Public Health
    Public Health Service
    200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20201

Secret Service
    U.S. Secret Service
    1800 G Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20223

Securities and Exchange
    Securities and Exchange Commission
    500 North Capitol Street
    Washington, D.C. 20435

Selective Service
    Selective Service System
    600 E Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20435

Small Business
    Small Business Administration
    1441 L Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20416

Social Security
    Social Security Administration
    6401 Security Blvd.
    Baltimore, Maryland 21235

State
    Department of State
    Washington, D.C. 20520

Transportation
    Department of Transportation
    400 7th Street, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20590

Treasury
    Department of the Treasury
    1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20220

Urban Mass Transit
    Urban Mass Transit Administration
    400 7th Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20590

Veterans
    Administration
    Vermont Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20420

    Here is a copy of the Freedom of Information Act and all of its
amendments.  It may prove to have some usefulness.  You might want to read
through it to understand the law better.  I would not recommend reading it if
you are in a suicidal state.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   FULL TEXT OF FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT,
                    AS AMENDED IN 1974 BY PUBLIC LAW 93-502


% 552  Public Information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records, and
    proceedings
  (a) Each agency shall make available to the public information as follows:
  (1) Each agency shall separately state and currently publish in the Federal
Register for the guidance of the public-
      (A) descriptions of its central and field organization and the
     established places at which, the employees (and in the case of a
     uniformed service, the members) from whom, and the method whereby, the
     public may obtain information, make submittals or requests, or obtain
     decisions;
      (B) statements of the general course and method by which its functions
     are channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of
     all formal and informal procedures available;
      (C) rules of procedures, descriptions of forms available or the places
     at which forms may be obtained, and instructions as to the scope and
     contents of all papers, reports, or examinations;
      (D) substantive rules of general applicability adopted as authorized by
     law, and statements of general policy or interpretations of general
     applicability formulated and adopted by the agency; and
      (E) each amendment, revision, or repeal of the foregoing.

Except to the extent that a person has actual and timely notice of the terms
thereof, a person may not in any manner be required to resort to, or be
adversely affected by, a matter required to be published in the Federal
Register and not so published.  For the purpose of this paragraph matter
reasonably available to the class of persons affected thereby is deemed
published in the Federal Register when incorporated by reference therein with
the approval of the Director of the Federal Register.
  (2) Each agency, in accordance with published rules, shall make available
for public inspection and copying-
       (A) final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as
     well as orders, made in the adjudication of cases;
       (B) those statements of policy and interpretations which have been
     adopted by the agency and are not published in the Federal Register; and
       (C) administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect
     a member of the public;

unless the materials are promptly published and copies offered for sale.  To
the extent required to prevent a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal
privacy, an agency may delete identifying details when it makes available or
publishes an opinion, statement of policy, interpretation, or staff manual or
instruction.  However, inn each case the justification for the deletion shall
be explained clearly in writing.  Each agency shall also maintain and make
available for public inspection and copying current indexes providing
identifying information for the public as to any matter issued, adopted, or
promulgated after July 4, 1967, and required by this paragraph to be made
available or published.  Each agency shall promptly, quarterly or more
frequently, and distribute (by sale or otherwise) copies of each index or
supplement thereto unless it determines by order published in the Federal
Register that the publication would be unnecessary and impracticable, in which
case the agency shall nonetheless provide copies of such index on request at a
cost not to exceed the direct cost of duplication.  A final order, opinion,
statement of policy, interpretation, or staff manual or instruction that
affects a member of the public may be relied on, used, or cited as precedent
by an agency against a party other than an agency only if-
      (i) it has been indexed and either made available or published as
    provided by this paragraph; or
      (ii) the party has actual and timely notice of the terms thereof.
  (3) Except with respect to the records made available under paragraphs (1)
and (2) of this subsection, each agency, upon any request for records which
(A) reasonably describes such records and (B) is made in accordance with
published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any), and procedures to be
followed, shall make the records promptly available to any person.
  (4)(A) In order to carry out the provisions of this section, each agency
shall promulgate regulations, pursuant to notice and receipt of public
comment, specifying a uniform schedule of fees applicable to all constituent
units of such agency.  Such fees shall be limited to reasonable standard
charges for documents search and duplication and provide for recovery of only
the direct costs of such search and duplication.  Documents shall be furnished
without charge or at a reduced charge where the agency determines that waiver
or reduction of the fee is in the public interest because furnishing the
information can be considered as primarily benefiting the general public.
     (B) On complaint, the district court of the United States in the district
   in which the complainant resides, or has his principal place of business,
   or in which the agency records are situated, or in the District of
   Columbia, has jurisdiction to enjoin the agency from withholding agency
   records and to order the production of any agency records improperly
   withheld from the complainant.  In such a case the court shall determine
   the matter de novo, and may examine the contents of such agency records in
   camera to determine whether such records or any part thereof shall be
   withheld under any of the exemptions set forth in subsection (b) of this
   section, and the burden is on the agency to sustain its action.
     (C) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the defendant shall serve
         an answer or otherwise plead to any complaint made under the
         subsection within thirty days after service upon the defendant of the
         pleading i which such complaint is made, unless the court otherwise
         directs for good cause shown.
     (D) Except as to cases the court considers of greater importance,
         proceedings before the district court, as authorized by this
         subsection, and appeals therefrom, take precedence on the docket over
         all cases and shall be assigned for hearing and trial or for argument
         at the earliest practicable date and expedited in every way.
     (E) The court may assess against the United States reasonable attorney
         fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred in any case under
         this section in which the complainant has substantially prevailed.
     (F) Whenever the court orders the production of any agency records
         improperly withheld from the complainant and assesses against the
         United States reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs,
         and the court additionally issues a written finding that the
         circumstances surrounding the withholding raise we questions whether
         agency personnel acted arbitrarily or capriciously with respect to
         the withholding, the Civil Service Commission shall promptly initiate
         a proceeding to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted
         against the officer or employee who was primarily responsible for the
         withholding.  The Commission, after investigation and consideration of
         the evidence submitted, shall submit its findings and recommendations
         to the administrative authority of the agency concerned and shall
         send copies of the findings and recommendations to the officer or
         employee or his representative.  The administrative authority shall
         take the corrective action that the Commission recommends.
     (G) In the event of noncompliance with the order of the court, the
         district court may punish for contempt the responsible employee, and
         in the case of a uniformed service, the responsible member.
  (5)  Each agency having more than one members shall maintain and make
available for public inspection a record of the final votes of each member in
every agency proceeding.
  (6)(A) Each agency, upon any request for records made under paragraph
(1),(2), or (3) of the subsection, shall-
       (i) determine within ten days (except Saturdays, Sundays, and legal
     public holidays) after the receipt of any such request whether to comply
     with such request and shall immediately notify the person making such
     request of such determination and the reasons therefor, and of the right
     of such person to appeal to the head of the agency and adverse
     determination; and
       (ii) make a determination with respect to any appeal within twenty days
     (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the
     receipt of such appeal.  If on appeal the denial of the request for
     records is in whole or in part upheld, the agency shall notify the person
     making such request of the provisions for judicial review of that
     determination under paragraph (4) of this subsection.
     (B) In unusual circumstances as specified in this subparagraph, the time
  limits prescribed in either clause (i) or clause (ii) of subparagraph (A)
  may be extended by written notice to the person making such request setting
  forth the reasons for such extension and the date on which a determination
  is expected to be dispatched.  NO such notice shall specify a date that
  would result in an extension for more than ten working days.  As used in
  this subparagraph, "unusual circumstances" means, but only to the extent
  reasonably necessary to the proper processing of the particular request-
       (i) the need to search for and collect the requested records from field
     facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office
     processing the request;
       (ii) the need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a
     voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in
     a single request; or
       (iii) the need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all
     practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in
     the determination of the request or among two or more components of the
     agency having substantial subject-matter interest therein.
     (C) Any person making a request to any agency for records under paragraph
  (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection shall be deemed to have exhausted his
  administrative remedies with respect to such request if the agency fails
  comply with the applicable time limit provisions of this paragraph.  If the
  Government can show exceptional circumstances exist and that the agency is
  exercising due diligence in responding to the request, the court may retain
  jurisdiction and allow the agency addition time to complete its review of
  the record.  Upon any determination by an agency to comply with a request
  for records, the records shall be made promptly available to such person
  making such request.  Any notification of denial of any request for records
  under this subsection shall set forth the names and titles or positions of
  each person responsible for the denial of such request.
(b) This section does not apply to matters that are-
(1) (A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive
 Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy
 and (B) are in fact properly classified pursuant to each Executive Order;
(2) related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the
 agency;
(3) specifically exempted from disclosure by statute;
(4) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a
 person and privileged or confidential;
(5) inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be
 available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the
 agency;
(6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which
 would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
(7) investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to
 the extent that the production of such records would (A) interfere with
 enforcement proceeding, (B) deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an
 impartial adjudication, (C) constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal
 privacy, (D) disclose the identity of a confidential source and, in the case
 of a record compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of
 a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national
 security intelligence investigation, confidential information only furnished
 by the confidential source, (E) disclose investigative techniques and
 procedures, or (F) endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement
 personnel;
(8) contained in or related to examination, operating or condition reports
 prepared by, one behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the
 regulation or supervision of financial institutions; or
(9) geological and geophysical information and data, including maps,
concerning wells.

Any responsible segregable portion of a record shall be provided to any person
requesting such record after deletion of the portions which are exempt  under
the subsection.
  (c) This section does not authorize withholding of information or limit the
availability of records to the public, except as specifically stated in this
section.  This section is not authority to withhold information from Congress.
  (d) On or before March 1 of each calendar year each agency shall submit a
report covering the preceding calendar year to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives and President of the Senate for referral to the appropriate
committees of Congress.  The report shall include-
  (1) the number of determinations made by such agency not to comply with
 requests for records made to such agency under subsection (a) and the reasons
 for each determination;
  (2) the number of appeals made by persons under subsection (a)(6), the
 result of such appeals, and the reason for the action upon each appeal that
 results in a denial of information;
  (3) the names and titles or positions of each person responsible for the
 denial of records requested under this section, and the number of instances
 for participation of each;
  (4) the results of each proceeding conducted pursuant to subsection
 (a)(4)(F), including a report of the disciplinary action taken against the
 officer or employee who was primarily responsible for improperly withholding
 records or an explanation of why disciplinary action was not taken;
  (5) a copy of every rule made by such agency regarding this section;
  (6) a copy of the fee schedule and the total amount of fees collected by the
agency for making records available under this section; and
  (7) such other information as indicates efforts to administer fully this
section.

The Attorney General shall submit an annual report on or before March 1 of
each calendar year which shall include for the prior year a listing of the
number of cases arising under this section, the exemption involved in each
case, the disposition of such case, and the cost, fees, and penalties assessed
under subsections (a)(4)(E),(F), and (G).  Such report shall also include a
description of the efforts undertaken by the Department of Justice to
encourage agency compliance with this section.
  (e) for purposes of this section, the term "agency" is defined in section
551(1) of this title includes any executive department, military department,
Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other
establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the
Executive Office of the President), or any independent agency.
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In Conclusion:

    The Freedom of Information Act is a powerful tool that can be used to
benefit yourself and to find out what the feds keep in their log books on you.
Use it, just don't abuse it.  It gives the individual much power over the
government.  We no longer have to prove a reason to know the information, but
we have a right to know the information.  Its the government's job to keep the
information away from us.  I would also like to mention that regulations and
all documents that agencies carry can be found in any major library.  This
will save you cash and frustration.  Anyways, keep the faith, its not that bad
out there.  And watch comedy central, its good for you.

Greets to:  All the good users on atdt, the works, tlitd.  Stargazer, daemon,
joker, shadow, the hopeless warez fanatics.  Deranged derelict, jt, and all
the other virtual friends I forgot.

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