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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Veterans Affairs Adds New Layer of FOIA Review -- Policy will slow down approval of FOIA requests -- By CJ Ciaramella, The Washington Free Beacon

/ APPublic records requests at the Department of Veterans Affairs will take longer than usual due to a new department policy subjecting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to additional review.

According to an Oct. 31 policy memo, all FOIA requests to Veterans Affairs (VA) will be reviewed by the director of the VA FOIA Service and the FOIA officers of separate department components.

“The purpose of the review will be for sensitivity determination after the request has been perfected and responsive records have been identified,” the memo says.

The Department of Veterans Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

KUOW reporter John Ryan first obtained the memo after a VA public affairs officer told him an outstanding FOIA request would be delayed due to a new department policy.

According to the memo, the policy is temporary and will be reviewed in 90 days.

Several other federal agencies have introduced policies to increase the review of “significant” or “sensitive” public records requests.

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