The FBI tells two out of every three Freedom of Information Act requesters that it can't find the records they asked for — a failure rate five times higher than other major federal agencies, a private study has found.
The FBI's performance results from an outdated and deliberately limited search process, according to the National Security Archive, a private group that publishes declassified government documents and files many FOIA requests.
The Archive awarded the FBI its Rosemary Award for the worst Freedom of Information Act performance by a federal agency. The award is named for former President Richard M. Nixon's secretary Rose Mary Woods, known for re-enacting her claim to have accidentally erased 18 1/2 minutes of a White House tape recording when she stretched to answer a phone. It's given annually around Sunshine Week, when journalism organizations promote open government and freedom of information.