What Federal Law Says

About the Freedom of Information Act

Records maintained by federal agencies and federal public officials fall under the federal Freedom of Information Act, a law enacted by Congress in 1967. The law does not apply to Congress, federal courts or parts of the Executive Office of the President. The law contains nine exemptions to disclosure that are designed to protect such things as national security and personal privacy. Thousands of requests are submitted annually, and requesters face long wait times for responses to their requests. The U.S. Department of Justice maintains a website dedicated to educating the public about FOIA. If you are interested in obtaining federal public records, start by visiting the DOJ’s site at foia.gov.