FOIA requests must be in writing, and may be submitted in one of three ways:
- via form at submit an online Request,
- via fax to (240) 752-6257, or
- via postal mail to:
National Transportation Safety Board
Attention: FOIA Requester Service Center, CIO-40
490 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W.
Washington, DC 20594-2000
Before making a FOIA request, however, each requester should search the NTSB website to verify that the information they seek is not publicly available. In submitting a FOIA request, requesters should reasonably describe the records sought. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A). Courts have stated that a request reasonably describes records sought if the agency is able to determine precisely what records are being requested. Congress has issued guidance on this requirement:
The law requires that each request must reasonably describe the records being sought. This means that a request must be specific enough to permit a professional employee of the agency who is familiar with the subject matter to locate the record in a reasonable period of time. Requesters should make requests as specific as possible. If a particular document is required, it should be identified precisely, preferably by date and title. However, a request does not always have to be that specific. A requester who cannot identify a specific record should clearly explain his or her needs. H.R. Rep. No. 109-226 at 8 (2005).
When Should I Expect to Receive Feedback on My FOIA Request?
Upon receipt, the FOIA Officer will direct the request to the appropriate NTSB FOIA Representative. The FOIA representative will respond to the request no later than 20 workdays after receipt, as required by the FOIA statute. When it is necessary to forward a request to another installation such as a field office for response, the time limit begins upon receipt by the field office. A time extension, not to exceed an additional 10 workdays, may be taken in certain circumstances. However, the requester must be notified in writing that an extension is being taken, the reason(s) for taking the extension, and the anticipated date of the FOIA response.
A FOIA response must advise the requester of the records that the NTSB intends to disclose or to withhold, the exemption(s) authorizing the withholding (including a citation or summary of each exemption), and a strong justification for withholding the record(s). Normally the records to be disclosed will be provided with the response letter. If the records are not provided with the letter, they will be sent as soon as possible thereafter.
Processing of FOIA Requests
The NTSB uses three processing tracks in processing FOIA requests:
- Track 1: Requests for which there are no records, requests that meet the criteria for expedited processing, or requests that seek records that have been produced in response to a prior request.
- Track 2: Requests that do not involve voluminous records or lengthy consultations with other entities.
- Track 3: Requests that involve voluminous records and for which lengthy or numerous consultations are required, or those requests which may involve sensitive records.
The NTSB FOIA Office places every request that seeks "any and all" information from a specific investigation on Track 3
How Can I Check on My NTSB Request?
Go to the NTSB FOIA Portal and click Sign In.