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E-Z Guide to FOIA Exemptions

Exemption 1 – protects national security information concerning national defense or foreign relations.

Exemption 2 – covers records related solely to internal personnel rules and practices of an agency. Low 2 – trivial requests involving matters of no public interest. High 2 – disclosure would allow circumvention of agency regulations.

Exemption 3 – authorizes withholding of information prohibited from disclosure by another Federal statute .

Exemption 4 – exempts trade secrets and information which is commercial or financial.

Exemption 5 – protects records of a predecisional nature, as necessary. Such records typically contain the opinions, conclusions, or recommendations of the author and are part of the decision-making/deliberative process. Encompasses inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or documents; attorney-work product; attorney-client communications.

Exemption 6 – provides protection for personal privacy interests; permits withholding documents if disclosure would be a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Exemption 7 – protects from mandatory disclosure records compiled for law enforcement proceedings. Protects identities of personal information and confidential sources. Protects records in their entirety on ongoing investigations.

Exemption 8 – covers matters contained in or related to reports prepared by or for use by an agency responsible for regulation of financial institutions.

Exemption 9 – pertains to geological and geophysical information and data concerning wells and includes maps.