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Exemptions and Exclusions
The Freedom of Information Act provides that the agency will provide access to identifiable documents within our possession unless one of nine exemptions or three exclusions applies. The exact language of the exemptions can be found in the Freedom of Information Act. Additional guidance on the exemptions and how they apply to certain documents can be found in the Department Regulations implementing the FOIA.
Congress provided special protection in the FOIA for three narrow categories of law enforcement and national security records. The provisions protecting those records are known as "exclusions." The first exclusion protects the existence of an ongoing criminal law enforcement investigation when the subject of the investigation is unaware that it is pending and disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings. The second exclusion is limited to criminal law enforcement agencies and protects the existence of informant records when the informant's status has not been officially confirmed. The third exclusion is limited to the FBI and protects the existence of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence, or international terrorism records when the existence of such records is classified. Records falling within exclusion are not subject to the requirements of the FOIA. So, when we respond to your request we will limit our response to those records that are subject to the FOIA. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(c) (2006 & Supp. IV (2010).
This page last reviewed on September 11, 2015