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Freedom of Information Act Handbook

Exemptions for Withholding Records Under the FOIA

The basic concept of the FOIA is to provide maximum allowable disclosure of agency records to the requestor.  There are records which are deemed inappropriate for disclosure due to a certain harm which disclosure may cause.  Following are the nine FOIA exemptions pursuant to which information may be exempt from disclosure:

(b)(1) -- (Classified Information)  National defense or foreign policy matter required by Executive Order to be kept secret.

(b)(2) -- (Internal Administrative Matters)  Matters related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.

(b)(3) -- (Other Federal Statutes)  Matters specifically exempted from disclosure by some other statute.

(b)(4) -- (Commercial/Financial)  Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that is privileged or confidential.

(b)(5) -- (Inter-agency/Intra-agency)  Inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters.

(b)(6) -- (Personal Privacy)  Personnel, medical, or similar files which, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

(b)(7) -- (Law Enforcement Information)  Records/information compiled for law enforcement purposes.

(b)(8) -- (Bank Records)  Matters related to the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.

(b)(9) -- (Well Information)  Geological and geophysical information and data concerning wells (including maps).


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