The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. § 552) is a Federal statute which affords any person the right to obtain Federal agency records unless the records, or portions of the records, are protected from disclosure by any of the nine FOIA exemptions or any one of the three exclusions contained in the law. The basic purpose of the FOIA is to ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society. Society's interest in open government can conflict with other important interests of the general public, such as the public's interests in the effective and efficient operations of government and in the preservation of the confidentiality of sensitive, personal, commercial, and governmental information. The FOIA seeks to accomplish the goals of ensuring responsible disclosure and appropriately protecting all interests.
The following web pages will help you understand how the FOIA can be used to obtain information which is not otherwise publicly available.