Freedom of Information Act as amended in 1974 by Public Law 93-502

ATTACHMENT C: Freedom of Information Act as Amended in 1974 by Public Law 93-502

(Amendments are underscored)

§552. Public information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records, and proceedings

(a) Each agency shall make available to the public information as follows:

(1) Each agency shall separately state and currently publish in the Federal Register for the

guidance of the public--

(A) descriptions of its central and field organization and the established places at which, the

employees (and in the case of a uniformed service, the members) from whom, and the methods

whereby, the public may obtain information, make submittals or requests, or obtain decisions;

(B) statements of the general course and method by which its functions are channeled and

determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and informal procedures


(C) rules of procedure, descriptions of forms available or the places at which forms may be

obtained, and instructions as to the scope and contents of all papers, reports, or examinations;

(D) substantive rules of general applicability adopted as authorized by law, and statements of

general policy or interpretations of general applicability formulated and adopted by the agency;


(E) each amendment, revision, or repeal of the foregoing.

Except to the extent that a person has actual and timely notice of the terms thereof, a person may

not in any manner be required to resort to, or be adversely affected by, a matter required to be

published in the Federal Register and not so published. For the purpose of this paragraph, matter

reasonably available to the class of persons affected thereby is deemed published in the Federal

Register when incorporated by reference therein with the approval of the Director of the Federal


(2) Each agency, in accordance with published rules, shall make available for public inspection

and copying--

(A) final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as orders, made in the

adjudication of cases;

(B) those statements of policy and interpretations which have been adopted by the agency and are

not published in the Federal Register; and

(C) administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public;

unless the materials are promptly published and copies offered for sale. To the extent required to

prevent a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, an agency may delete identifying

details when it makes available or publishes an opinion, statement of policy, interpretation, or

staff manual or instruction. However, in each case the justification for the deletion shall be

explained fully in writing. Each agency shall also maintain and make available for public

inspection and copying current indexes providing identifying information for the public as to any

matter issued, adopted, or promulgated after July 4, 1967, and required by this paragraph to be

made available or published. Each agency shall promptly publish, quarterly or more frequently,

and distribute (by sale or otherwise) copies of each index or supplements thereto unless it

determines by order published in the Federal Register that the publication would be unnecessary

and impracticable, in which case the agency shall nonetheless provide copies of such index on

request at a cost not to exceed the direct cost of duplication. A final order, opinion, statement of

policy, interpretation, or staff manual or instruction that affects a member of the public may be

relied on, used, or cited as precedent by an agency against a party other than an agency only if--

(i) it has been indexed and either made available or published as provided by this paragraph; or

(ii) the party has actual and timely notice of the terms thereof.

(3) Except with respect to the records made available under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this

subsection, each agency, upon any request for records which (A) reasonably describes such

records and (B) is made in accordance with published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any),

and procedures to be followed, shall make the records promptly available to any person.

(4)(A) In order to carry out the provisions of this section, each agency shall promulgate

regulations, pursuant to notice and receipt of public comment, specifying a uniform the schedule

of fees applicable to all constituent units of such agency. Such fees shall be limited to reasonable

standard charges for document search and duplication and provide for recovery of only the direct

costs of such search and duplication. Documents shall be furnished without charge or at a

reduced charge where the agency determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public

interest because furnishing the information can be considered as primarily benefitting the general


(B) On complaint, the district court of the United States in the district in which the complainant

resides, or has his principal place of business, or in which the agency records are situated, or in

the District of Columbia, has jurisdiction to enjoin the agency from withholding agency records

and to order the production of any agency records improperly withheld from the complainant. In

such a case the court shall determine the matter de novo, and may examine the contents of such

agency records in camera to determine whether such records or any part thereof shall be withheld

under any of the exemptions set forth in subsection (b) of this section, and the burden is on the

agency to sustain its action.

(C) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the defendant shall serve an answer or otherwise

plead to any complaint made under this subsection within thirty days after service upon the

defendant of the pleading in which such complaint is made, unless the court otherwise directs for

good cause shown.

(D) Except as to cases the court considers of greater importance, proceedings before the district

court, as authorized by this subsection, and appeals therefrom, take precedence on the docket

over all cases and shall be assigned for hearing and trial or for argument at the earliest practicable

date and expedited in every way.

(E) The court may assess against the United States reasonable attorney fees and other litigation

costs reasonably incurred in any case under this section in which the complainant has

substantially prevailed.

(F) Whenever the court orders the production of any agency records improperly withheld from

the complainant and assesses against the United States reasonable attorney fees and other

litigation costs, and the court additionally issues a written finding that the circumstances

surrounding the withholding raise questions whether agency personnel acted arbitrarily or

capriciously with respect to the withholding, the Civil Service Commission shall promptly

initiate a proceeding to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted against the officer or

employee who was primarily responsible for the withholding. The Commission, after

investigation and consideration of the evidence submitted, shall submit its findings and

recommendations to the administrative authority of the agency concerned and shall send copies

of the findings and recommendations to the officer or employee or his representative. The

administrative authority shall take the corrective action that the Commission recommends.

(G) In the event of noncompliance with the order of the court, the district court may punish for

contempt the responsible employee, and in the case of a uniformed service, the responsible


(5) Each agency having more than one member shall maintain and make available for public

inspection a record of the final votes of each member in every agency proceeding.

(6)(A)Each agency, upon any request for records made under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this

subsection, shall--

(i)determine within ten days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the

receipt of any such request whether to comply with such request and shall immediately notify the

person making such request of such determination and the reasons therefor, and of the right of

such person to appeal to the head of the agency any adverse determination; and

(ii) make a determination with respect to any appeal within twenty days (excepting Saturdays,

Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the receipt of such appeal. If on appeal the denial of the

request for records is in whole or in part upheld, the agency shall notify the person making such

request of the provisions for judicial review of that determination under paragraph (4) of this


(B) In unusual circumstances as specified in this subparagraph, the time limits prescribed in

either clause (i) or clause (ii) of subparagraph (A) may be extended by written notice to the

person making such request setting forth the reasons for such extension and the date on which a

determination is expected to be dispatched. No such notice shall specify a date that would result

in an extension for more than ten working days. As used in this subparagraph, "unusual

circumstances" means, but only to the extent reasonably necessary to the proper processing of the

particular request--

(i) the need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other

establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;

(ii) the need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate

and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or

(iii) the need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another

agency having substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more

components of the agency having a substantial subject-matter interest therein.

(C) Any person making a request to any agency for records under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this

subsection shall be deemed to have exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to such

request if the agency fails to comply with the applicable time limit provisions of this paragraph.

If the Government can show exceptional circumstances exist and that the agency is exercising

due diligence in responding to the request, the court may retain jurisdiction and allow the agency

additional time to complete its review of the records. Upon any determination by an agency to

comply with a request for records, the records shall be made promptly available to such person

making such request. Any notification of denial of any request for records under this subsection

shall set forth the names and titles or positions of each person responsible for the denial of such


(b) This section does not apply to matters that are--

(1)(A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in

the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (B) are in fact properly classified pursuant to

such Executive order;

(2) related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;

(3) specifically exempted from disclosure by statute;

(4) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged

or confidential;

(5) inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to

a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency;

(6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a

clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(7) investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the

production of such records would (A) interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) deprive a

person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) constitute an unwarranted

invasion of personal privacy, (D) disclose the identity of a confidential source, and, in the case of

a record compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal

investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation,

confidential information furnished only by the confidential source, (E) disclose investigative

techniques and procedures, or (F) endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement


(8) contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf

of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial

institutions; or

(9) geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells.

Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be provided to any person requesting such

record after deletion of the portions which are exempt under this subsection.

(c) This section does not authorize withholding of information or limit the availability of records

to the public, except as specifically stated in this section. This section is not authority to withhold

information from Congress.

(d) On or before March 1 of each calendar year, each agency shall submit a report covering the

preceding calendar year to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the

Senate for referral to the appropriate committees of the Congress. The report shall include--

(1) the number of determinations made by such agency not to comply with requests for records

made to such agency under subsection (a) and the reasons for each such determination;

(2) the number of appeals made by persons under subsection (a)(6), the result of such appeals,

and the reason for the action upon each appeal that results in a denial of information;

(3) the names and titles or positions of each

person responsible for the denial of records

requested under this section, and the number of instances of participation for each;

(4) the results of each proceeding conducted pursuant to subsection (a)(4)(F), including a report

of the disciplinary action taken against the officer or employee who was primarily responsible for

improperly withholding records or an explanation of why disciplinary action was not taken;

(5) a copy of every rule made by such agency regarding this section;

(6) a copy of the fee schedule and the total amount of fees collected by the agency for making

records available under this section; and

(7) such other information as indicates efforts to administer fully this section.

The Attorney General shall submit an annual report on or before March 1 of each calendar year

which shall include for the prior calendar year a listing of the number of cases arising under this

section, the exemption involved in each case, the disposition of

such case, and the cost, fees, and penalties assessed under subsections (a)(4)(E), (F), and (G).

Such report shall also include a description of the efforts undertaken by the Department of Justice

to encourage agency compliance with this section.

(e) For purposes of this section, the term "agency" as defined in section 551(1) of this title

includes any Executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government

controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government

(including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency.

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