New Attorney General Guidelines on FOIA Released

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on March 19, 2009

National Security Archive: “Attorney General Eric Holder today released new guidelines for federal agencies on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that reinforce the presumption of disclosure articulated by President Obama in his day one Memorandum on FOIA, issued January 21, 2009. Attorney General Holder’s memorandum provides practical guidance for implementing the presumption of disclosure, including by encouraging discretionary releases of records and releasing portions of records even when other portions are being withheld. It states that the Department of Justice will only defend withholdings in court when there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to an interest protected by one of the FOIA exemptions or the law requires the information to be withheld. It states that this policy will be applied to pending litigation “if practicable” and “where there is a substantial likelihood that application of the guidance would result in a material disclosure of additional information.”

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