March 2014

The FOIA “Exclusions” Statute: The Government’s License to Lie

Communications Lawyer, American Bar Association
Christine N. Walz
This article discusses an obscure provision buried in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) statutes. The provision, 5 U.S.C. § 552(c), makes a “we have no records” response to a request for records entirely permissible, even
when that response is totally false. The exclusions were intended to be narrow, yet the precise parameters of the exclusions remain undefined.

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