Seal of the U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State: Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information Act

Expeditious Handling

Requests and appeals shall be taken out of order and given expedited treatment whenever a requester has demonstrated that a "compelling need" for the information exists.

A "compelling need" is deemed to exist where the requester can demonstrate one of the following:
  1. Failure to obtain requested information on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual.
  2. Substantial due process rights of the requester would be impaired by the failure to process immediately.
  3. Substantial humanitarian concerns would be harmed by the failure to process immediately.
  4. The information is urgently needed by an individual primarily engaged in publicizing information in order to inform the public concerning actual or alleged government activity. News media requesters would normally qualify; however, other persons should demonstrate that their primary activity involves publishing or otherwise disseminating information to the public, not just a particular segment or group.
    • Urgently needed means that the information has a particular value that will be lost if not distributed quickly. Ordinarily this means a breaking news story of general public interest. Information of historical interest only, or information sought for litigation or commercial activities would not qualify, nor would a news media publication or broadcast deadline unrelated to the breaking nature of the story.
    • Actual or alleged Federal Government activity. The information concerns some actions taken, contemplated, or alleged by or about the government of the United States, or one of its components or agencies, including the Congress.

07-31-2019   Download Acrobat Reader