The requests included in this Audit Report are those
that the agencies have identified as their "ten oldest open
or pending Freedom of Information Act requests." (Note
- Four substantially identical requests submitted by then-graduate
student William Aceves have been pending at the Department of
Defense for more than 15 years. The requests were filed in early
1989 to the Department of State, the U.S. Navy and the Assistant
Secretary of Defense asking for information pertaining to the
"Freedom of Navigation program." Each request ultimately
was referred by 1989 and 1990 to the Department of Defense. Three
of the four requests were included in the Archive's 2003 Ten Oldest
FOIA Requests list. The April 1989 request was not included in
the 2003 Department of Defense response providing its oldest requests
even though the date of the request indicates that it should have
been included. Mr. Aceves is now a full professor at California
Western School of Law.
22, 1989 - Still pending at the Central Intelligence
Agency two years after it was listed in the Archive's 2003 Ten
Oldest FOIA Requests list, this request was filed by The Post
Standard newspaper, based in Syracuse, N.Y., and asked for
records pertaining to the bombing of Pan American Flight 103 and
terrorist threats at Frankfurt Airport.
29, 1987 (Not received by the agency until 1990)
- This request to the Central Intelligence Agency submitted by
the National Security Archive, asks for CIA documents relating
to the "Jonathan Pollard spy case." Pollard was a former
U.S. Naval intelligence officer convicted of being an Israeli
agent, and in 1986 received a life sentence for espionage. The
request was held without processing at the agency due to fee status
litigation for three years.
3, 1988 (Not received by the agency until 1990)
- This request originally sent to the National Security Council
by author Jeffery Richelson has been pending at the Department
of Defense since 1990. The request asks for copies of five specific
Presidential Review Memoranda (21-25).
January 1990 (1
- Two requests submitted to the Air Force on January 2 and 3,
1990 by William Burr at the National Security Archive requesting
information on the Berlin crisis in 1958 and 1959. The January
2 request specifically identifies Air Force records and names
Air Force document accession numbers for storage at the Federal
Records Center in Suitland, Maryland.
9, 1990 - A request to the National Archives
and Records Administration requesting specific Joint Chiefs of
Staff documents relating to Berlin in 1959-1962 from William Burr
at the National Security Archive. Interagency coordination with
the Joint Chiefs at the Department of Defense may be partially
to blame for the 15 year delay in processing this request.
16, 1990 - From the Natural Resources Defense
Council to the Department of Energy, this FOIA request asks for
documents related to "the Radiological Warfare Study Group
established in February 1948 by the Armed Forces Special Weapons
Project," as well as documents related to a panel on radiological
warfare that met in May 1948. This request was not provided by
the Department of Energy in their 2003 response to the Archive's
request for their ten oldest requests even though it would have
been their oldest request in 2003 as it is in 2005.
31, 1987 (Not received by the agency until 1991)
- Initially submitted to the National Security Council, this request
pending at the Department of Defense is signed by Mr. James D.
Sanders and asks for documents related to U.S. prisoners of war
in Laos, China, Vietnam and the Soviet Union as well as information
regarding the involvement of Richard Armitage, Richard T. Childress
and Colonel Oliver North in transporting materials to Laos and
Vietnam and their involvement in P.O.W. issues.
7, 1991 - Request submitted by Jeffrey Richelson
to the Central Intelligence Agency asking for "a copy of
the CIA response to NSDD 112," with the Reagan-era National
Security Decision Directive attached for reference. It is unclear
why such a seemingly targeted request would remain pending for
more than 15 years.
25, 1991 - A complex request regarding Pan American
Flight 103 submitted to the Central Intelligence Agency by a New
York law firm, Windels, Marx, Davies & Ives: it requests information
regarding intelligence received in 1988 relating to terrorist
plans to attack Frankfurt, Heathrow or Gatwick airports, information
regarding specific individuals possibly related to the incident,
as well as documents relating to the technical details of the
1. A number of factors related to agency processing, recordkeeping
and reporting make it difficult to precisely determine the Ten
Oldest FOIA Requests pending throughout the entire Federal Government.
This Audit is limited to 64 agencies and agency components that
account for over 97% of all FOIA requests received, but some agencies
are not represented. Further, decentralization within agencies,
the virtually unmonitored referral system, and recordkeeping limitations
made it difficult for each of those agencies to determine with
complete accuracy their own Ten Oldest FOIA Requests. The requests
included in this Audit Report are those that the agencies themselves
have identified as their ten oldest. The Archive has excluded
from this list of the oldest of the oldest those requests that
it has learned already have been filled. In addition, where apparent
from the request, the Archive has calculated the age of the requests
on this list of the oldest of the oldest from the date the request
was referred to the agency that produced the request, which in
some cases is several years after the date the request was originally
submitted by the requester.