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FOIA Exemptions

FOIA Exemptions

The Freedom of Information Act [5 USC 552], or FOIA, generally provides that any person has a right—enforceable in court—of access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions thereof) are protected from disclosure by one of nine exemptions. When a portion of a record is withheld from public release, the subsection of the FOIA law describing that exemption or exemptions may be found listed in the margin next to the space where the withheld text would have been found. The list below describes the type of material withheld under each subsection of the FOIA.


(b)(1)  (A) Specifically authorized under criteria by an executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (B) are in fact properly classified to such Executive Order #12958 (3/25/03). 
(b)(2)  Related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency. 
(b)(3)  Specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than section 552b of this title), provided that such statute (A) requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on issue or (B) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld. 
(b)(4)  Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential. 
(b)(5)  Inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters that would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency. 
(b)(6)  Personnel and medical files and similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. 
(b)(7)  Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information:

A. Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings;
B. Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication;
C. Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
D. Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of confidential source, including a state, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution that furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source;
E. Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law, or;
F. Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety or any individual.

(b)(8)  Contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions. 
(b)(9)  Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps concerning wells