The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), enacted in 1966, provides that any person has a right to existing federal agency records while still allowing sensitive information to be protected from public release. The government must make available to any requester its records unless specifically exempted or excluded in accordance with Title 5 U.S.C. 552, Freedom of Information Act. This right of access is enforceable in court except for those records that are protected from disclosure by the nine exemptions to the FOIA.
FOIA exemptions cover material such as:
- Classified national defense and foreign relations information
- Internal agency personnel rules and practices
- Material prohibited from disclosure by another law
- Trade secrets and other confidential business information
- Certain inter-agency or intra-agency communications
- Personnel, medical, and other files involving personal privacy
- Certain records compiled for law enforcement purposes
- Matters relating to the supervision of financial institutions
- Geological information on oil wells
The FOIA's scope includes Federal Executive Branch Departments, including their offices, and agencies (such as NGA), federal regulatory agencies, and federal corporations. Congress, the Federal Courts, and parts of the Executive Office of President are not subject to the FOIA. State and local governments are likewise not subject to FOIA, but some states may have their own equivalent access laws for state records.
Requests for Information:
To obtain records from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a FOIA request may be submitted in writing (reasonably describing the records requested) using the following means:
- The Public Access Link (PAL): is under contruction.
- Email to FOIANGA@nga.mil
- Using our request forms located under the "Key Documents" tab.
- Hardcopy requests may be sent to the NGA FOIA Program Office via:
- Fax: 571-558-3117
- Mail: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency FOIA/PA Requester Service Center
7500 GEOINT Drive, MS N22-SISM
Springfield, Virginia 22150-7500
To obtain the status of a request or ask questions about the FOIA process, you may utilize your PAL account, call the FOIA/PA Requester Service Center at 571-557-4141, email your inquiry to FOIANGA@nga.mil, or fax your status inquiry to 571-558-3117.
The Privacy Act
Background of the Privacy Act of 1974 5 U.S.C., Sec. 552:
“The historical context of the Act is important to an understanding of its remedial purposes: In 1974, Congress was concerned with curbing the illegal surveillance and investigation of individuals by federal agencies that had been exposed during the Watergate scandal; it was also concerned with potential abuses presented by the government’s increasing use of computers to store and retrieve personal data by means of a universal identifier — such as an individual’s social security number.” Dept. of Justice, Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974, 2010 Edition.
Requesting records under the Privacy Act:
Privacy Act requests, where you are seeking information on yourself, records related to your security clearance or background investigation, etc. must be submitted IN WRITING, include a SSN and/or DOB and be signed by you. Such requests CANNOT be submitted through this online system. Under some circumstances, a notarized copy of your request and signature may be required. A Privacy Act request form is provided under the Key Documents tab for your convenience.
FOIA/PA Reading Room
NGA FOIA/PA records are available for public review on NGA’s FOIA/PA Reading Room. On the Read Room page, users can examine NGA FOIA/PA records such as frequently requested records or proactive disclosures.