Home FBI Records/FOIA FOIA/PA Terms



Agency record Documents created or obtained by an agency or under the control of an agency at the time a FOIA request is made
Appeal A request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a full or partial denial of access to records under the FOI/PA or any other FOI/PA determination such as a matter pertaining to fees
Denial An agency’s decision not to release any part of a record or records in response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested records is determined by the agency to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA’s exemptions or for some procedural reason
Disclosure The release of relevant information under FOIA/PA
DOJ Department of Justice
Electronic FOIA Library Records made available via the Internet for public viewing at no charge
Expedited Processing An agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requestor has shown a compelling need or urgency for the records that warrants prioritization of his or her request over other earlier requests. The criteria and procedure for making such a request may be found in the U.S. Department of Justice FOIA Reference Guide.

Exemptions are categories of information created by Congress and the courts that are applied to documents for review and dissemination under FOIA/PA. These categories justify to the requestor why information was withheld from the public. The FOI/PA generally provides that any person has a right of access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or potions thereof) are protected from disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.

There are three types of exemptions:
- FOIA Exemptions
- Privacy Exemptions
- Statutory Authority

Fee Waiver The act of reducing or relinquishing payment for furnishing FOI/PA information. The criteria and procedure for making such a request may be found in the U.S. Department of Justice FOIA Resource Guide.
Field Office There are 56 FBI field offices located across the country. The bulk of FBI investigative work is conducted in the FBI’s field offices. They are led by either a special agent in charge or an assistant director in charge who answers to the FBI Director. Field offices are not considered FBI Headquarters entities.
FOIA or FOIPA Freedom of Information Act or Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts
FOIA Library
The FOIA Library makes available previously released, high-profile records that have been subject to a large volume requests. These records are available for public review at FBI Headquarters by appointment.
Full Denial The refusal to release records that satisfy any part of a request
In camera

A document is in camera if it contains information that can only be viewed by a judge.

Interim Release In responding to a large request, a partial release of pertinent records made to the user while the rest of the request is being processed
LAS Legal Administrative Specialist. People who hold this position review FBI records for release under the provisions of the FOI/PA.
Not an Agency Record The requested information was not a record within the meaning of the FOIA.
NR – No record The subject of the file is not the same as the subject in the request. This notation is sometimes found on search slips found in FBI files. It may also indicate that the Records Information Dissemination Section found no FBI records identical to the subject of a request.
OIP Office of Information Policy, U. S. Department of Justice. This office oversees all the FOIA responses of all Department of Justice components.
Partial Denial The FBI has withheld some records that are identical to a requestor’s subject because they fall under the FOI/PA exemptions. Other parts of the same set of records, though, have been released.
Perfected request A FOIA request for records that adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency or agency component in possession of the records
Perfected Backlog Case When the request folder has been completed and is ready to assign to the next available FOI/PA LAS for review of electronic documents for release
Privacy Act (PA) The Privacy Act of 1974 (PA), 5 USC 552a. This act protects personal information in Federal Executive Branch systems of records.
Redaction The act of withholding information from requesters in accordance with the FOI/PA exemptions
Requestor Someone who requests information for public release
Response Portion The part of a request folder containing the processed files that become the release package
Review The process of examining documents located in response to a FOI/PA request to determine whether one or more of the statutory exemptions permit withholding
RIDS Record/Information Dissemination Section. This is the part of the FBI that receives and processes FOI/PA requests.
RMD Records Management Division. The larger part of the FBI under which the RIDS operates. RMD is responsible for managing the life cycle of all FBI records.
Scoping To review records that might fill a request and remove those portions that do not pertain to the request
Search A search includes all of the time spent by FBI personnel looking, both manually and electronically, for requested material. Search also includes a page-by-page or line-by-line identification of material in the record to determine if it, or portion of it, are responsive to the request; this is also known as “scoping.”