Skip to content

Tip Sheet

Post categories

  1. Freedom of Information
From the Spring 2001 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 34.

From the Spring 2001 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 34.

If you feel you are eligible for expedited review, ask for it.

The law requires agencies to grant requests for expedited review in matters of “compelling need,” which arise when:

The failure to provide the records could cause “imminent threat” to life or physical safety.

The requester is a disseminator of information and an urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged government activity exists.

Agencies can add other expedited review categories.

If you are a journalist or other person with a need to see or convey government-held information to the public to combat an imminent threat to life or physical safety:

• Ask for expedited review in the body of your FOI request to the agency FOI officer

• Describe the threat, and

• Explain how delay could cause such egregious harm

If you are a journalist or other disseminator of information and the public has a compelling need to have information about an actual or alleged government activity:

• Ask for expedited review in the body of your FOI request to the agency FOI officer

• Identify yourself as a journalist or tell how you are an information disseminator,

• Explain what government activity is covered by the records, and

• Explain why the public needs the information right away.

If your request is to the Justice Department and involves a widespread media interest and possible questions about government’s integrity which affect public confidence, a special additional expedited review provision:

• Request expedited review in an FOI request to the agency’s FOI officer

• Send a copy of the request to the Director of Public Affairs, Department of Justice, Room 1128, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20530-0001.

• Describe the breadth of media interest.

• Describe questions to raise about the government’s integrity and how public’s confidence could be affected.

Also include: “I certify that my reasons for seeking expedited review are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”