FOIA/PA Request “ Freedom of Information/Privacy
Act request. A FOIA request is generally a request
for access to records concerning a third party,
an organization, or a particular topic of interest.
A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning
oneself; such requests are also treated as FOIA
requests. (All requests for access to records, regardless
of which law is cited by there requester, are included
in this report.)
Initial Request “ a request to a federal agency
for access to records under the Freedom of Information
Appeal “ a request to a federal agency asking that
it review at a higher administrative level a full
denial or partial denial of access to records under
the Freedom of Information Act, or any other FOIA
determination such as a matter pertaining to fees.
Processed Request or Appeal “ a request or appeal
for which an agency has taken a final action on
the request or the appeal in all respects.
Multi-track processing “ a system in which simple
requests requiring relatively minimal review are
placed in one processing track and more voluminous
and complex requests are placed in one or more other
tracks. Requests in each track are processed on
a first-in/first-out basis. A requester who has
an urgent need for records may request expedited
processing (see below).
Expedited processing “ an agency will process a
FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester
has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the
records which warrants prioritization of his or
her request over other requests that were made earlier.
Simple request “ a FOIA request that an agency using
multi-track processing places in its fastest (nonexpedited)
track based on the volume and/or simplicity of records
Complex request “ a FOIA request that an agency
using multi-track processing places in a slower
track based on the volume and/or complexity of records
Grant “ an agency decision to disclose all records
in full in response to a FOIA request.
Partial grant “ an agency decision to disclose a
record in part in response to a FOIA request, deleting
information determined to be exempt under one or
more of the FOIA's exemptions; or a decision to
disclose some records in their entireties, but to
withhold other in whole or in part.
Denial “ an agency decision not to release any part
of a record or records in response to a FOIA request
because all the information in the requested records
is determined by the agency to be exempt under one
or more of the FOIA's exemptions, or for some procedural
reason (such as because no records is located in
response to a FOIA request).
Time limits “ the time period in the Freedom of
Information Act for an agency to respond to a request
(ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt
of a "perfected" FOIA request).
"Perfected" request “ a FOIA request for records
which adequately describes the records sought, which
has been received by the FOIA office of the agency
or agency component in possession of the records,
and for which there is no remaining question about
the payment of applicable fees.
Exemption 3 statute “ a separate federal statute
prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of
information and authorizing its withholding under
FOIA subsection (b)(3).
Median number “ the middle, not average, number.
For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number
Average number “ the number obtained by dividing
the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of
numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and
14, the average number is 8.