Contact the Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
The Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS) in the FBI Information Management Division is responsible for the release of records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act.
To make a Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act request, see Requesting FBI Records.
How to contact us for additional information:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Record/Information Dissemination Section
200 Constitution Drive
Winchester, VA 22602
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
Key Personnel and Contacts
- Section Chief, Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
Michael G. Seidel
- FOIA Requester Service Center (RSC): (540) 868-1535
Please call this number to access recorded information how to submit a new FOIA/PA request and general help topics to assist you in preparing and submitting your request to the FBI.
- FOIPA Public Information Officer (PIO): (540) 868-4593
Please call this number to talk with the PIO about the status of an existing FOIPA request or other FOIPA matters. Our PIO cannot answer questions about an Identity History Summary Check (aka, police background clearance/rap sheet) requests; all calls regarding a request for or to check the status of an Identity History Summary Check will be referred to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS), Clarksburg, WV at (304) 625-2000/5590. Additional information regarding an Identity History Summary Check is listed below. If the PIO is unavailable, please leave a brief message that includes your name, telephone number, and FOIPA Request Number (if applicable). Your telephone call will be returned promptly.
- Attention: If you are requesting an Identity History Summary Check, do not submit a Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Request to the Record/Information Dissemination Section. A separate application process is required for requesting an Identity History Summary Check and application instructions and necessary forms are accessible at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks.
- An Identity History Summary Check—often referred to as a criminal history record, a police background clearance, police/good conduct certificate or “rap sheet”—is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, naturalization, or military service. It can also be used to satisfy a requirement to live, work, or travel in a foreign country, for employment or licensing within the U.S., or adopting a child in the U.S. or internationally. It may relate to a denial of a firearms purchase. The process of responding to an Identity History Summary Check is generally known as a criminal background check.
- When writing to CJIS, please use the following address:
FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306
- FOIPA Public Liaison Officer (PLO): Assistant Section Chief Joseph Bender, (540) 868-2101
If a requester wants more information about a request after having contacted the FOIA Requester Service Center and PIO, please call the PLO.
More About the Record/Information Dissemination Section
- Mission: To effectively plan, develop, direct, and manage responses to requests for access to FBI records and information. The requests and disclosure comply with the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts (Title 5, United States Code, Section 552 and 552a); Executive Order 12958, as amended; presidential, attorney general, and FBI policies and procedures; judicial decisions; and other presidential and congressional directives. In furtherance of this mission, RIDS efforts are directed to appropriately release information in an efficient and effective manner protecting legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, and national security and defense interests and to remain forthcoming to the American public.
- Staff: RIDS currently employs approximately 250 employees, most of whom are government information specialists. RIDS consists of 11 units and three field operational service units whose shared function is to intake, review, process, and release information in response to FOIA and Privacy Act requests.
- Use of technology to expedite customer service: We’ve moved to paperless processing through our FOIPA Document Processing Systems (FDPS), compliant with the legal requirements under eFOIA for the electronic processing of requests for documents classified at the Secret level or below. The FDPS allows the FBI to scan official FBI paper files, documents, and correspondence, and then process them electronically rather than by the traditional method of redacting information manually on paper. RIDS is using the system for all new FOIA and Privacy Act requests.
- Maintenance of FOIA libraries: RIDS maintains more than 7,000 PDF documents in our electronic library called The Vault.
The FBI has a comprehensive program to enhance its record-keeping processes, including the development of the new Central Records Complex (CRC) in Winchester, Virginia. These initiatives will significantly improve search and record-retrieval capabilities by increasing search accuracy; by decreasing search time; and by reducing lost files, missing serials, and the manual movement of files. When complete, the overall impact will be to reduce even further the FBI’s pending Freedom of Information/Privacy Act numbers and processing times.