Outsourcing FOIA seems a bit of a stretch, but apparently it is going on.


By  Eamon Eriksen

The next time you request documents for declassification, it is likely your submission will be processed by a private contractor, not a government employee.

The privatization of the FOIA process has proliferated in recent years.  According to a recent Bloomberg article, “At least 25 agencies are outsourcing parts of the FOIA process, a 40 percent jump since Obama’s inauguration.”  Since 2009, the government has awarded at least 250 FOIA related contracts, and in most cases contractors now outnumber government employees three to one.

Proponents of outsourcing argue that private contractors can speed the FOIA process, reduce backlogs and save taxpayer money.  Speeding up FOIA responses should certainly be a priority, but not at the expense of a quality review process and the proper functioning of government accountability.

Levels of involvement vary from agency to agency, but these contractors are now routinely involved in nearly every stage of…

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