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

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

Image via the National Archives Flickr

69 Articles

What you missed from our FOIA Slack Chat with Kendall Taggart

What you missed from our FOIA Slack Chat with Kendall Taggart

Investigative data reporter for Buzzfeed Kendall Taggart joined us for MuckRock’s Friday FOIA Chat last Friday on Slack to talk about where to find data - and more importantly, what to do with it.

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This week’s round-up (Summer Fun Edition): Detention center down in the dumps, the country’s thirstiest Congressman, and a public records beach brawl in Delaware

This week’s round-up (Summer Fun Edition): Detention center down in the dumps, the country’s thirstiest Congressman, and a public records beach brawl in Delaware

Grab your life jackets as we take a dive into this week’s round-up as we look at the Trump Administration’s plans to turn dumps into detention centers, utility bills that show a Congressman’s unquenchable thirst, and an argument over police misuse of military gear turns a quiet Delaware beach town upside-down.

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A FOIA beginner's guide to requesting a FBI file

A FOIA beginner’s guide to requesting a FBI file

One of questions we’re most frequently asked at MuckRock is how to request the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s files on an individual. To help clear up the process, we’ve compiled this simple flowchart to make sure you have everything you need before you file that FOIA.

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