Judicial Watch • Use of FOIA Exemptions Rises

Use of FOIA Exemptions Rises

Use of FOIA Exemptions Rises

NOVEMBER 29, 2005

According to a recent study by the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government about Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemptions, less information was released via the FOIA in 2004 than in 2000. What is curious about the study is that while agencies processed 13 percent fewer requests in 2004, the overall use of FOIA exemptions rose by 22 percent.

The study by the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government compared FOIA responses and denials in 2000 and 2004. It found that unclassified information was increasingly being withheld from FOIA requesters using exemptions for intra- or interagency memoranda, internal personnel rules and practices, and proprietary information.

“Surprisingly,” the Coalition writes, “the analysis found a marked decline in the use of the exemption for information classified in the interest of national security, even though national security has been regularly cited since September 11, 2001 as justification for the increased safeguarding of records.”

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