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U.S. Government Shutdown (2013)

As federal workforce shrinks, FOIA backlog grows

As federal workforce shrinks, FOIA backlog grows

A new report shows a dramatic increase in the federal government's backlog of unanswered Freedom of Information Act requests — and blames it in part on a shrinking federal workforce.

Amid record demand last year for information from federal agencies, the Justice Department's Office of Information Policy found, the backlog grew by 67 percent.

At the same time, the number of workers processing those requests declined by 8.9 percent, to the lowest level in the six years the office has reporting on FOIA requests.

The surge comes as federal departments are inundated with requests related to security and secrecy — with requests for the emails of former Secretary of...