New Director of Office of Government Information Services Named

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero recently announced the appointment of Alina Semo as the new Director of the National Archives Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). OGIS, an organization established under the OPEN Government Act of 2007, provides policy guidance and mediation services for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) activities government-wide.

Ms. Semo has served as Director of Litigation in the Office of General Counsel since joining the National Archives in March 2014, and has worked closely with the FOIA team and other National Archives offices to respond to FOIA requests and appeals.  She has provided frequent legal advice to ensure consistent agency responses, and helped rewrite the National Archives’ FOIA regulations. She also provided legal guidance and support to OGIS on administrative and mediation processes, and on issues involving the FOIA Advisory Committee.

Before joining the National Archives, Ms. Semo led the FOIA Litigation Unit of the FBI’s  Office of the General Counsel for over ten years.  She also worked closely with her FBI FOIA clients to restructure, streamline and improve administrative and litigation processes, establish litigation tracking systems, and provide legal guidance on significant FOIA policies.

Prior to her work at the FBI, Ms. Semo was a trial attorney in the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (1991-1999), Ms. Semo represented the National Archives in complex litigation and mediation which ultimately resulted in the agreement to release the White House tape recordings of President Richard M. Nixon. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law School.

The Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), established under the OPEN Government Act of 2007, codified at 5 U.S.C. 552(h), reviews Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) activities government-wide and helps to resolve disputes between requesters and agencies. The OGIS Director is responsible for reviewing policies and procedures of administrative agencies under FOIA; reviewing compliance with FOIA by administrative agencies; and recommending policy changes to Congress and the President to improve the administration of FOIA. The Director also is responsible for offering mediation services to resolve disputes between persons making FOIA requests and administrative agencies, and may issue advisory opinions if mediation has not resolved the dispute.

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