Last month we received an update from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regarding changes it has made to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program since we issued our assessment of the program earlier this year. We are happy to hear that TSA has taken a number of positive steps in response to our recommendations. As a result of these changes, TSA reports that it has reduced its backlog, increased the timeliness of its responses, and improved its communication with requesters.
TSA reported establishing performance metrics for FOIA analysts and case closure goals for the office resulting in reducing its backlog in the four months since the metrics were put into place. TSA also reported that it is creating standard operating procedures that will explain the entire TSA FOIA process and improve coordination with the TSA office that reviews Sensitive Security Information (SSI).
Additionally, TSA reported changes to improve the FOIA program’s communication with requesters, including following current guidance from the Department of Justice regarding the use of still interested letters to administratively close requests and providing requesters with examples of the types of information usually withheld in its checklist of exemptions cited. TSA also reported that it plans to add a metric to its performance plans that requires FOIA analysts to proactively communicate with requesters.
You can find TSA’s response and all of our assessment reports and follow up questionnaires on our Agency Compliance Reports page. To stay current on our compliance program, please keep an eye on the page and follow us on Twitter!