The FBI on Monday unveiled a revamped website and a new electronic form that will make it easier to obtain certain records.
“Our goal is to make the website as user-friendly as possible—to give people more ways to request our records and to explain the process as clearly as we can,” said David Hardy, head of the record/information dissemination section in the FBI records management division. “It’s part of being more open and transparent.”
For years, individuals have been able to access FBI files on people, groups and closed cases that were on the agency’s Freedom of Information/Privacy Act website. However, some records are not available online, and anyone wanting to access them needs to make a formal request to the FBI.
Thanks to the new eFOIA form, the request process has gotten easier. All that is involved is typing information straight into the form, hitting “submit,” and the request will be send automatically to the FBI. It is also possible to print out the form and mail or fax a copy to the agency. A third alternative is to print and scan the completed form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The updated website has new features that includes a summary of how to find, use and understand FBI records, including those in the possession of the FBI and those held by archives, libraries and the like. The site also offers individuals information on what happens after they make a request and how to file an appeal with the U.S. Department of Justice, and details on how to visit the Reading Room at FBI Headquarters.