FOIA 101: Tips and Tricks to Make You a Transparency Master

Whether it's your first request or your first request *today,* it never hurts to go over the basics. MuckRock's compiled a lot of FOIA advice over the years, and with this project, it's all in one place.

Basics / Intermediate/Advanced / Exemptions / Agency-Specific Advice / Topic-Specific Tips / Presidential Records / Student Resources / State Maps / Ongoing Series

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Basics

Five tips for beginners

Fee categories

Leaks and FOIA FAQ

What’s considered a public record?

Intermediate/Advanced

Dealing with excessive redactions

FOIA inspiration from #IRE2017

How to get a faster FOIA response

Tips for better FOIA appeals

Searching for specific sections of records

What to do about “Still Interested” letters

What the 2016 FOIA reforms mean for requesters

Exemptions

Federal FOIA exemptions overview

The Glomar “neither confirm nor deny” exemption

Agency-Specific Advice

CIA

The ultimate guide to searching CIA’s declassified archives

Using exemption codes to find documents hidden in CREST

FBI

A FOIA beginner’s guide to requesting a FBI file

The #AppleVSFBI FOIA Primer

Getting your own FBI file

Telling the FBI where to search

NSA

A beginner’s guide to FOIA-ing the NSA

Topic Specific Tips

Autopsy reports

Environmental reports

The JFK assassination records

Immigration records

#NODAPL / pipeline records

Protest records

Private prison records

Presidential Records

Presidential records primer

Trump Administration records

White House’s FOIA exemption

White House visitor logs

Student Resources

College journalist’s FOIA guide

College sports records guide

FOIA 4 Kidz lesson plan

High school journalist’s FOIA guide

State Maps

Response deadline map

State by State records gude

Ongoing Series

#FOIAFriday Round-up

FOIA Slack Chats

Requester’s Voice interviews

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Image via the National Archives Flickr

90 Articles

This week’s FOIA round-up: Gold and garbage

This week’s FOIA round-up: Gold and garbage

For this week’s FOIA round-up, treasure hunters accuse Federal Bureau of Investigation of acting fishy about “missing” Civil War gold, a something is rotten in the state of Chicago’s for-profit garbage collection, and the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council is holding a celebration for its 40th anniversary (with cake)!

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This week’s FOIA round-up: Tax returns reveals Trump’s inherited fortune, dash video informs Chicago cop’s murder trial, and Pennsylvania withholds decade-old report investigating sexual abuse

This week’s FOIA round-up: Tax returns reveals Trump’s inherited fortune, dash video informs Chicago cop’s murder trial, and Pennsylvania withholds decade-old report investigating sexual abuse

In this week’s FOIA round-up, tax records show “self-made billionaire” President Donald Trump received hundreds of millions of dollars from his father, the video of Laquan McDonald’s death at the hands of a Chicago cop - released by a public records lawsuit - is central to the officer’s murder trial, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General who’s pushing the Catholic Church to be more transparent about child sexual abuse won’t release a decade-old report investigating allegations of sexual assault against a former state college administrator.

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What is an FBI background check?

What is an FBI background check?

Last week, President Donald Trump ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to perform a renewed background check into Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Pulling from what we’ve seen over the years from other FBI files, here’s some context on what that means.

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