A private study said the FBI tells two out of every three Freedom of Information Act requesters that it can’t find the records they requested.
The study by the National Security Archive, a private group that publishes declassified government documents, said that failure rate is five times higher than other major federal agencies.
The Archive awarded the FBI its Rosemary Award for the worst Freedom of Information Act performance by a federal agency.
The award is named for former President Richard M. Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods who’s known for claiming to have accidentally erased 18 1/2 minutes of a White House tape recording during the Watergate era.
The award is given annually around Sunshine Week, when journalism organizations promote open government and freedom of information.
An FBI spokesman said the reason for the huge number of no-records responses is that “it’s become a cult phenomenon to ask the FBI for records.”
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.