Resources for Legal Research on the Freedom of Information Act

Resources for FOIA Legal Research on the Internet

The links below provide access to legal treatises and primary legal authorities for advanced research concerning the Freedom of Information Act


Treatises and Bulletins



Key Statutes on Government Records

From Cornell Legal Information Institute:

From Public Citizen Litigation Group:


Litigation and Judicial Decisions

DOJ compilation of judicial decisions, both published and unpublished, and articles and treatises concerning the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, the Government in the Sunshine Act, and the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

National Security and Classification

Executive Orders

President Bush’s Executive Order on Safeguarding Classified Information
This Executive Order sets forth the procedures and substantive requirements for classifying information in the interest of national security, which allows agencies to withhold information under the first exemption of the FOIA. This order was issued by President Bush on March 25, 2003, and became effective immediately

White House Background Briefing on New Executive Order on Classification Policy

President Clinton’s Executive Order on National Security Information
This order was superceded by President Bush on March 25, 2002

Executive Order 12968, Access to Classified Information
This Executive Order sets forth the personnel security program for employees who will be considered for initial or continued access to classified information.

Execuitve Order 13142, amendment to EO 12598 on Classified National Security Information

Materials of the Information Security Oversight Office

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) oversees the security classification programs in both Government and industry.

ISOO Directive No. 1
This Directive implements Executive 12958 by setting forth guidance to agencies on original and derivative classification, downgrading and declassification.

ISOO Directive on Safeguarding Classified National Security Information
This Directive implements provisions of Executive Order 12958, Classified National Security Information, that pertain to the handling, storage, distribution, transmittal, destruction of, and accounting for classified information.

Highlights of the Activities of the ISCAP, January – December 2002
The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) was established by executive order 12958 to ule on appeals from government employees who challenged agency classification policies; to approve, deny, or amend agency exemptions from automatic declassification requirements; and to rule on appeals from members of the public who have filed requests for mandatory declassification.

FAS Project on Government Secrecy

The Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy hosts an extensive archive of materials on government classification and secrecy policies.


The Freedom of Information Act Turns 35: History of the Act from the National Security Archive

Public Information Chapter of the 1947 Attorney General’s Manual on the Administrative Procedure Act
Prepared by the United States Department of Justice Tom C. Clark, Attorney General, 1947.

Fees and Fee Waivers

Presidential Records

Government Guidance Documents and Informal Memoranda

Executive Orders

Attorney General’s Guidance

OMB Guidance

Recommendations of the Administrative Conference of the United States

Last Updated 1/18/06
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