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  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   AG
  TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 1995                  (202) 616-2777      
                                          TDD (202) 514-1888      
       WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department will begin
  rating employees on how responsive they are to information
  requests from the public, under an order issued by Attorney
  General Janet Reno.
       The order, the first of its kind, will make it part of
  the job description of every Justice Department employee who
  plays a role in handling Freedom of Information Act requests
  to do so in a "thorough, timely and efficient" manner.
       The Attorney General said "the cooperation of Justice
  Department employees is essential to reducing FOIA and
  Privacy Act backlogs and delays."  She said experience has
  shown that steps taken in the course of the initial receipt,
  logging, transmittal, search and retrieval, and at the
  review stage by non-FOIA personnel, contribute significantly
  to delays in responding to FOIA requesters.
       In the past, only employees who handle information
  requests full-time were provided with performance standards
  and were graded on how well they did.  The order the
  Attorney General signed August 28 directs every component of
  the Justice Department to add a new mandatory performance
  standard for all employees who participate in processing
  information requests, including non-FOIA personnel who
  receive, transmit and review potentially releasable
       Components include the FBI, Drug Enforcement
  Administration, the Marshals Service and the Immigration and
  Naturalization Service.
       "I want to emphasize the fact that we all have a role
  in making FOIA work," said the Attorney General.
       In October 1993, the President and the Attorney General
  announced a new openness standard that contained a
  "presumption of disclosure."  It was followed by a review of 
  hundreds of cases and the release of documents previously
  withheld, a new procedure for making information of
  significant public interest available on an expedited basis,
  the opening of public access to Department documents through
  Internet, the creation of a Justice Performance Review
  Laboratory to explore the application of technology to the
  FOIA/PA process, and the establishment of specific FOIA/PA
  backlog reduction goals for each component, measurable in six-
  month intervals. 

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