In conjunction with the Law Library’s celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we are highlighting some resources that will enhance your understanding of the scope and limitations of FOIA. Sometimes referred to as the “Bible of FOIA,” Federal Information Disclosure answers many questions surrounding the public’s “right to know” and the issue of governmental transparency. From the origins of the Freedom of Information Act with its adoption in 1966 to its inevitable expansion with the Privacy Act (1974), the Federal Advisory Committee Act (1972), and the Government in the Sunshine Act (1976), the author examines all aspects of FOIA as well as court decisions interpreting its provisions. The author explains the procedural aspects of FOIA, including the content of a request, the processing of the request, and the search limitations involved with the requests and addresses FOIA litigation and aspects of judicial review, such as de novo review, summary judgment, and the myriad issues that may arise during this review process. He also discusses the nine statutory exemptions to FOIA and how the courts have routinely interpreted those exemptions.
The author wisely avoids the political facets of FOIA and its progeny by simply explaining the process behind the disclosure of government information and how the United States courts have interpreted the statute and have balanced the public’s “right to know” with the government’s desire from some level of secrecy. His book is meant to be “an essential tool” for the seeker of federal information.