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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

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: 

  1. Classified national defense and foreign relations information 

  1. Internal agency personnel rules and practices 

  1. Material prohibited from disclosure by another law 

  1. Trade secrets and other confidential business information 

  1. Certain inter-agency or intra-agency communications 

  1. Personnel, medical, and other files involving personal privacy 

  1. Certain records compiled for law enforcement purposes 

  1. Matters relating to the supervision of financial institutions 

  1. 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. 

Additional information regarding FOIA can be found in the Department of Defense’s FOIA Handbook  and Department of Defense Open Government  pages. 

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: 

  1. Email to 

  1. Using our request forms located under the "Key Documents" tab. 

  1. Hardcopy requests may be sent to the NGA FOIA Program Office via: 
    Fax:  571-558-3165 
    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 or email your inquiry to

Requesting records under the Privacy Act (PA):

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. 

Additional Privacy Act information can be viewed here

Associated Document(s)

Privacy Act Request Form
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FOIA Electronic Reading Room

The NGA Electronic Reading Room contains documents that fall under the following records categories, under U.S. Code Title 5, Part 1, Chapter 5, Section 552.