There may be no complete repository of federal appointees, but FOIA can be your inroad to learning the history of who has been added to an agency.
The plot of John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold hinges on the bureaucratic details of retirement benefits for spies. Recently uncovered documents from the Central Intelligence Agency archives show that real-world spy stories sometimes do, too.
FOIA is a great way to keep the powerful is check, whether they be federal agencies, their employees, or tech giants. This week, stories from the Daily Californian, RealLivePolitics, and Columbia Journalism Review about revealing attempts by the government and two leading tech companies to withhold information from the public.
The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service analyzed data from the Office of Personnel Management’s annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to create an index ranking of which agencies are the best places to work, according to their employees. One of the most interesting ways to sort this ranking is the change from 2016 to 2017. In many cases, FOIA has given us clues about why certain agencies experienced big swings in employee satisfaction in the first year of the Trump administration. In other cases, this statistic can tell us which agencies - particularly smaller, seldom covered ones - warrant more FOIA scrutiny.