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The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) generally provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions, or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions ((b)(7)).
The principles of government openness and accountability underlying the FOIA are inherent in the democratic ideal: "The basic purpose of the FOIA is to ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against corruption and to hold the governors accountable to the governed."
Click here for the full text of the Freedom of Information Act.
Members of the public, including foreign citizens, military and civilian personnel acting as private citizens, organizations and businesses, and individual members of the Congress for themselves or constituents, may request records in writing. It is important to remember that the Freedom of Information Act applies only to federal agencies. It does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, state or local government agencies, or by private businesses or individuals. Each state has its own public access laws that should be consulted for access to state and local records.
The FOIA allows fee charges based on the requester's category. There are three categories: Commercial (pay search, review, and reproduction fees); non-commercial scientific or educational institutions or news media (pay reproduction fees; first 100 pages provided at no cost); and others (pay search and reproduction fees; first two hours search and 100 pages provided at no cost). For information on FOIA fees read PART 286--DoD FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT PROGRAM REGULATION
If you are advised or expect that a fee will be charged, you may request in writing a waiver of those fees if the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. The mere fact that you are a non-profit organization or a member of the media does not in and of itself qualify for a fee waiver. In addition, a requester's inability to pay is not a legal basis for granting a fee waiver.
The Air Force Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program is decentralized. For fastest response times, submit a FOIA request online utilizing the Public Access Link (PAL).
No single office handles all FOIA requests. If you prefer not to submit on line you can mail/fax your request to the FOIA Requester Service Center where the record is located or the particular base or activity that has the records you want. If you don't know which Air Force activity has the records you want, mail your request to: SAF/AAII, 1000 Air Force Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330-1000. Ensure you describe the records you want as specifically as possible, and let the office know how much you are willing to pay.
Furnish any facts or clues about the time, place, persons, events, subjects, or other details of the information or records you want. That will help the office decide where to search and determine what records pertain to your request. It can also save you and the government time and money, and you may get what you want faster. There is no special form to complete. Mark your request and envelope "FOIA."
How do I request a copy of my Military Personnel Records or DD 214?
How do I request a copy of my Military Medical Records?
For more resources and information on the Air Force Freedom of Information act, visit https://www.compliance.af.mil
For information on how and what's required to submit a Privacy request click here.
If dissatisfied with the service received from the Requester Service Center, you may contact the Air Force FOIA Public Liaison Officer, Ms Anh Trinh, for assistance at DAF.FOIA@us.af.mil or (703) 614-8500.
(Please do not send FOIA request to this office)