Kenneth Whittle

On April 22, 2018, I filed a FOIA request with the US Department of State. Today, almost a year and a half later, I received a reply that states that “It has been determined that the EDC for this request is September 30, 2021”. Is there any way I can file an appeal to speed this process up?

I also have 2 requests with the State Department that have been outstanding since October 2016, with no estimated date of completion. Is there anything I can do about this?

Russ Kick

Technically, there are things you can do to attempt to speed things up. The bad news is that they probably won’t have any effect. The State Dept is notoriously slow at FOIA. If you look at MuckRock users’ requests to State that have been completed, you see that they often take 4-5 years:

https://www.muckrock.com/foi/list/?q=&status=done&user-autocomplete=&agency-autocomplete=&agency=14&jurisdiction-autocomplete=&projects-autocomplete=&tags-autocomplete=&has_embargo=&has_crowdfund=&minimum_pages=&date_range_0=&date_range_1=&file_types=&search_title=

You can try 1) appealing the lack of release or 2) talking to State’s FOIA Liaison (contact info: https://foia.state.gov/Contact/Default.aspx) or 3) contacting the federal FOIA Ombudsman (OGIS): https://www.archives.gov/ogis/about-ogis/contact-information

But these things probably won’t help. State has 10,000 to 11,000 active FOIA requests at any given time, and they move at a glacial pace. The only two approaches that even have a chance of speeding things up are 1) narrowing your request and/or 2) suing them.

And if you haven’t already, you might try searching their massive collection of FOIA docs in case they’ve already released some of the documents you’ve requested (or similar ones): https://foia.state.gov/Search/Search.aspx#

Please sign up for an account and file a request to answer a question