We are pleased to announce the release of our compliance assessment of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program. TSA is one of the six components of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that OGIS is reviewing.
Similar to our assessments of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Coast Guard, the TSA report includes a number of observations about the component’s FOIA program, which faced a 70-percent increase in back-logged requests between Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 and FY 2014. TSA has a centralized FOIA process—all requests are processed in the headquarters FOIA office, regardless of where the records are kept. Frequently requested records pertain to incidents at airports, the No-Fly List, internal and external investigations, and contracts.
Our report includes a number of recommendations to improve the program, including that the TSA FOIA office continue discussions with the Sensitive Security Information (SSI) office regarding resolving inefficiencies and duplication of efforts. Both offices review records to determine whether they should be released under FOIA.
Our other recommendation include:
- Monitor the number of cases closed and volume of pages reviewed by each processor and establish data-driven goals that will reduce TSA’s backlog and improve timeliness
- Fully implement the tracking and processing system
- Ensure all information in the tracking and processing system is accurate and complete
- Proactively communicate with requesters and alert them to the status of their requests
Please download our report to see all of our observations and recommendations. Watch this blog and follow us on Twitter—@FOIA_Ombuds—to keep up with our assessment program. In the coming months, watch for reports on FOIA programs at Customs and Border Protection, United States Secret Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.