Paperwork Reduction at the State Department

When I make FOIA requests by fax or email to U.S. military components, I typically get an acknowledgment by email within a couple days – sometimes, even the same day. To reduce costs, some components now only supply responses to FOIA requests in electronic format.

Things, it’s pretty clear, are different at State.

A couple of months ago, I made my first-ever Freedom of Information request to the State Department. Today, I got a big manilla envelope in the mail from them, with a fair amount of heft to it. Opening it, I expected the contents to be records responsive to my request.

They weren’t.

Rather, the Department of State mailed me a five-page form letter acknowledging my request, and informing me they “will begin processing” the same. Also enclosed were photocopies of thirteen pages of the Federal Register, outlining the records system and FOIA policies of the Department of State. Eighteen sheets of paper, an envelope, and more than a buck in postage, to do what a quick thirty-second email could have.

I shudder to consider what things were like before the Paperwork Reduction Act came into force!

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General, Security | on September 24th, 2007| Comments Off on Paperwork Reduction at the State Department

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