FOIA Guide, 2004 Edition: Exemption 6

DOJ Seal  

Freedom of Information Act Guide, May 2004

Exemption 6

Personal privacy interests are protected by two provisions of the FOIA, Exemptions 6 and 7(C). While the application of Exemption 7(C), discussed below, is limited to information compiled for law enforcement purposes, Exemption 6 permits the government to withhold all information about individuals in "personnel and medical files and similar files" when the disclosure of such information "would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." (1) These exemptions are a vitally important part of the FOIA's statutory scheme, (2) but of course they cannot be invoked to withhold from a requester information pertaining only to himself. (3)

Initial Considerations

To warrant protection under Exemption 6, information must first meet its threshold requirement; in other words, it must fall within the category of "personnel and medical files and similar files." (4) Personnel and medical files are easily identified, but there has not always been universal agreement about the meaning of the term "similar files." Prior to 1982, judicial interpretations of that phrase varied considerably and included a troublesome line of cases in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, commencing with Board of Trade v. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, (5) which narrowly construed the term to encompass only "intimate" personal details.

In 1982, the Supreme Court acted decisively to resolve this controversy once and for all. In United States Department of State v. Washington Post Co., (6) it firmly held, based upon a review of the legislative history of the FOIA, that Congress intended the term to be interpreted broadly, rather than narrowly. (7) The Court stated that the protection of an individual's privacy "surely was not intended to turn upon the label of the file which contains the damaging information." (8) Rather, the Court made clear that all information that "applies to a particular individual" meets the threshold requirement for Exemption 6 protection. (9) This means, of course, that this threshold is met if the information applies to any particular, identifiable individual -- which makes it readily satisfied in all but the most unusual cases of questionable identifiability. (10)

The D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, subsequently reinforced the Supreme Court's broad interpretation of this term by holding that a tape recording of the last words of the Space Shuttle Challenger crew, which "reveal[ed] the sound and inflection of the crew's voices during the last seconds of their lives . . . contains personal information the release of which is subject to the balancing of the public gain against the private harm at which it is purchased." (11) Not only did the D.C. Circuit determine that "lexical" and "non-lexical" information are subject to identical treatment under the FOIA, (12) it also concluded that Exemption 6 is equally applicable to the "author" and the "subject" of a file. (13)

Once it has been established that information meets the threshold requirement of Exemption 6, the focus of the inquiry turns to whether disclosure of the records at issue "would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." (14) This requires a balancing of the public's right to disclosure against the individual's right to privacy. (15) First, it must be ascertained whether a protectible privacy interest exists that would be threatened by disclosure. If no privacy interest is found, further analysis is unnecessary and the information at issue must be disclosed. (16)

On the other hand, if a privacy interest is found to exist, the public interest in disclosure, if any, must be weighed against the privacy interest in nondisclosure. (17) If no public interest exists, the information should be protected; as the D.C. Circuit has observed, "something, even a modest privacy interest, outweighs nothing every time." (18) Similarly, if the privacy interest outweighs the public interest, the information should be withheld; if the opposite is found to be the case, the information should be released. (19)

The Reporters Committee Decision

In 1989, the Supreme Court issued a landmark FOIA decision in United States Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, (20) which for the past fifteen years has governed all privacy-protection decisionmaking under the Act. The Reporters Committee case involved FOIA requests from members of the news media for access to any criminal history records -- known as "rap sheets" -- maintained by the FBI regarding certain persons alleged to have been involved in organized crime and improper dealings with a corrupt Congressman. (21) In holding "rap sheets" entitled to protection under Exemption 7(C), the Supreme Court set forth five guiding principles that govern the process by which determinations are made under both Exemptions 6 and 7(C) alike:

First, the Supreme Court made clear in Reporters Committee that substantial privacy interests can exist in personal information even though the information has been made available to the general public at some place and point in time. Establishing a "practical obscurity" standard, (22) the Court observed that if such items of information actually "were 'freely available,' there would be no reason to invoke the FOIA to obtain access to" them. (23)

Second, the Court articulated the general rule that the identity of a FOIA requester cannot be taken into consideration in determining what should be released under the Act. With the single exception that of course an agency will not invoke an exemption when the particular interest to be protected is the requester's own interest, the Court declared, "the identity of the requesting party has no bearing on the merits of his or her FOIA request." (24)

Third, the Court declared that in determining whether any public interest would be served by a requested disclosure, one should no longer consider "the purposes for which the request for information is made." (25) Rather than turn on a requester's "particular purpose," circumstances, or proposed use, the Court ruled, such determinations "must turn on the nature of the requested document and its relationship to" the public interest generally. (26)

Fourth, the Court narrowed the scope of the public interest to be considered under the Act's privacy exemptions, declaring for the first time that it is limited to "the kind of public interest for which Congress enacted the FOIA." (27) This "core purpose of the FOIA," as the Court termed it, (28) is to "shed[] light on an agency's performance of its statutory duties." (29)

Fifth, the Court established the proposition, under Exemption 7(C), that agencies may engage in "categorical balancing" in favor of nondisclosure. (30) Under this approach, which builds upon the above principles, it may be determined, "as a categorical matter," that a certain type of information always is protectible under an exemption, "without regard to individual circumstances." (31)

Privacy Considerations

The first step in the Exemption 6 balancing process requires an assessment of the privacy interests at issue. (32) The relevant inquiry is whether public access to the information at issue would violate a viable privacy interest of the subject of such information. (33) In its Reporters Committee decision, the Supreme Court stressed that "both the common law and the literal understandings of privacy encompass the individual's control of information concerning his or her person," (34) just as in National Archives & Records Administration v. Favish the Court very recently drew upon the common law to find the principle of "survivor privacy" encompassed within the Act's privacy exemptions. (35) Indeed, in Reporters Committee the Court found a "strong privacy interest" in the nondisclosure of records of a private citizen's criminal history, "even where the information may have been at one time public." (36) Of course, information need not be intimate or embarrassing to qualify for Exemption 6 protection. (37)

And for its part, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has emphasized the practical analytical point that under the FOIA's privacy-protection exemptions, "[t]he threat to privacy . . . need not be patent or obvious to be relevant." (38) Therefore, as a general rule, the threat to privacy need only be real rather than speculative. (39) In some cases, this principle formerly was interpreted to mean that the privacy interest must be threatened by the very disclosure of information and not by any possible "secondary effects" of such release. (40) The D.C. Circuit, however, subsequently clarified its holding in Arieff v. United States Department of the Navy, (41) which had been read as stating that "secondary effects" were not cognizable under Exemption 6. In National Association of Retired Federal Employees v. Horner [hereinafter NARFE], the D.C. Circuit explained that the point in Arieff was that Exemption 6 was inapplicable because there was only "mere speculation" of a privacy invasion, i.e., only a slight possibility that the information, if disclosed, would be linked to a specific individual. (42)

Most recently, the Supreme Court did not at all concern itself with any issue of "secondary effects" or "derivative privacy interest" in Favish. (43) Rather, a unanimous Court in Favish readily found that the surviving family members of former Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster had a protectible privacy interest in his death-scene photographs, based in part on the family's fears of "intense scrutiny by the media." (44) In doing so, the Court did not view a privacy interest based on "limit[ing] attempts to exploit pictures of the family member's remains for public purposes" as in any way too attenuated to qualify as a protectible privacy interest in the first place. (45) This means that any consideration of potential privacy invasions must include both what the requester might do with the information at hand and also what any other requester, or ultimate recipient, might do with it as well. (46)

Indeed, it has explicitly been recognized by the D.C. Circuit that "[w]here there is a substantial probability that disclosure will cause an interference with personal privacy, it matters not that there may be two or three links in the causal chain." (47) Even prior to the D.C. Circuit's clarification in NARFE, much less the Supreme Court's subsequent illustration of this point in Favish, one court pragmatically observed that to distinguish between the initial disclosure and unwanted intrusions as a result of that disclosure would be "to honor form over substance." (48)

In some instances, the disclosure of information might involve no invasion of privacy because, fundamentally, the information is of such a nature that no expectation of privacy exists. (49) For example, civilian federal employees generally have no expectation of privacy regarding their names, titles, grades, salaries, and duty stations as employees (50) or regarding the parts of their successful employment applications that show their qualifications for their positions. (51) Historically, the Department of Defense, as a matter of policy, in most circumstances disclosed the name, rank, gross salary, duty assignments, duty phone numbers, source of commission, promotion sequence number, awards and decorations, professional military education, duty status, and other nonsensitive details of individual military personnel, as well as comparable information concerning individual civilian employees. (52) And by regulation, the Department of the Army discloses substantially the same information concerning its military and civilian personnel. (53) However, in light of recent terrorist activities around the world, the Department of Defense now regularly withholds personally identifying information about all particular military and civilian employees with respect to whom disclosure would "raise security or privacy concerns." (54)

Additionally, if the information at issue is particularly well known or is widely available within the public domain, there generally is no expectation of privacy. (55) Nor does an individual have any expectation of privacy with respect to information that he himself has made public. (56) On the other hand, if the information in question was at some time or place available to the public, but now is "hard-to-obtain information," the individual to whom it pertains may have a privacy interest in maintaining its "practical obscurity." (57) Similarly, the mere fact that some of the information may be known to some members of the public does not negate the individual's privacy interest in preventing further dissemination to the public at large. (58) For example, the Supreme Court in Favish did not diminish its estimation of "the weighty privacy interests involved" just because Vincent Foster's death occurred on national parkland and thus was "in public." (59) And one court has found that the subject of a photograph introduced into the court record "retained at least some privacy interest in preventing the further dissemination of the photographic image" when "[t]he photocopy in the Court record was of such poor quality as to severely limit its dissemination." (60)

As another example, FOIA requesters, except when they are making first-party requests, do not ordinarily expect that their names will be kept private; therefore, release of their names would not cause even the minimal invasion of privacy necessary to trigger the balancing test. (61) Personal in-formation about FOIA requesters, however, such as home addresses and home telephone numbers, should not be disclosed. (62) In addition, the identities of first-party requesters under the Privacy Act of 1974 (63) should be protected because, unlike under the FOIA, an expectation of privacy can fairly be inferred from the personal nature of the records involved in those requests. (64)

The majority of courts to have considered the issue have held that individuals who write to the government expressing personal opinions generally do so with some expectation of confidentiality unless they are advised to the contrary in advance; their identities, but not necessarily the substance of their letters, ordinarily should be withheld. (65) Recently, for instance, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit protected under Exemption 7(C) the names and addresses of people who wrote to the IRS expressing concerns about an organization's tax-exempt status. (66) Likewise, the District Court for the District of Columbia reached the same conclusion as the Fourth Circuit for the names and addresses of people who wrote to the IRS to comment on the same organization's tax-exempt status, both pro and con. (67) Nevertheless, in some circumstances courts have refused to accord privacy protection to such government correspondents. (68)

Additionally, neither corporations nor business associations possess protectible privacy interests. (69) The closely held corporation or similar business entity, however, is an exception to this principle: "While corporations have no privacy, personal financial information is protected, including information about small businesses when the individual and corporation are identical." (70) Such an individual's expectation of privacy is, however, diminished with regard to matters in which he or she is acting in a business capacity. (71) In Doe v. Veneman, on the other hand, the District Court for the Western District of Texas recently ruled that the Department of Agriculture had erroneously labeled individuals (who were taking part in a USDA program) as "businesses" based on either the number of livestock they owned or the fact that they had a name for their ranch, and it found that personally identifying information about those individuals was exempt from disclosure. (72)

The Supreme Court held unanimously in Favish that the "FOIA recognizes surviving family members' right to personal privacy with respect to their close relative's death-scene images." (73) This case involved a request for several death-scene photographs of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster. (74) The government protected the photographs under the FOIA, but the lower courts ordered them disclosed. (75) Favish argued, relying on particular language in Reporter's Committee, that only the individual who was the direct "subject" of the records could have a privacy interest in those records. (76) The Court flatly rejected this argument, stating that "[t]he right to personal privacy is not confined, as Favish argues, to the 'right to control information about oneself. Favish misreads [our opinion] in Reporter's Committee and adopts too narrow an interpretation of the case's holding." (77)

The Court then decided that "survivor privacy" was a valid privacy interest protected by Exemption 7(C), based on three factors. First, Reporter's Committee did not restrict personal privacy as "some limited or 'cramped notion' of that idea," (78)so personal privacy is broad enough to protect surviving family members' "own privacy rights against public intrusions." (79) Second, the Court reviewed the long tradition at common law of "acknowledging a family's control over the body and death images of the deceased." (80) Third, the Court reasoned that Congress used that background in creating Exemption 7(C), including the fact that the governmentwide FOIA policy memoranda of two Attorneys General had specifically extended privacy protection to families. (81)

Thus, the Supreme Court endorsed the holdings of several lower courts in recognizing that surviving family members have a protectible privacy interest in sensitive, often graphic, personal details about the circumstances surrounding an individual's death. (82) Further, while the Favish case involved graphic photographs, the Court's decision also supported the holdings of other courts that even information that is not so graphically sensitive in and of itself may be withheld to protect the privacy interests of surviving family members if disclosure would cause "'a disruption of their peace of minds.'" (83)

Also of significance is the fact that the Supreme Court's decision in Favish made it quite clear that the Court was not recognizing the "survivor privacy" principle on the basis of any surviving privacy interest of Mr. Foster, i.e., his "own posthumous reputation or some other interest personal to him." (84) Instead, the principle was applied based upon the Foster family's "own right and interest" in personal privacy protection. (85) The Court characterized this interest as the privacy interest of the family members in being "secure [in] their own refuge from a sensation-seeking culture[,] for their own peace of mind and tranquility." (86) Thus, the Court's adoption of "survivor privacy" does not alter the longstanding FOIA rule that death extinguishes one's privacy rights. (87) Most specifically, the Court in Favish did not place any reliance on a recent potential variant of the concept that "focuse[d] on the interests of the deceased person even apart from the interests of his or her survivors." (88) That decedent-based approach has never been embraced as a matter of policy by the Department of Justice, and the Supreme Court likewise did not embrace it in Favish. (89)

On another point involved in Favish, public figures do not surrender all rights to privacy by placing themselves in the public eye, though certainly their expectations of privacy in general may be diminished. In some instances, "[t]he degree of intrusion is indeed potentially augmented by the fact that the individual is a well known figure." (90) It has been held that dis-closure of sensitive personal information contained in investigative records about a public figure is appropriate "only where exceptional interests militate in favor of disclosure." (91) Thus, although one's status as a public figure might in some circumstances factor into the privacy balance, a public figure does not, by virtue of his status, forfeit all rights of privacy. (92) Indeed, in Favish, former Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster's status as both a public figure in the "Whitewater" matter and a high-level government official did not, in the Supreme Court's opinion, "detract" at all from the "weighty privacy interests involved." (93) Likewise, a candidate for a political office, either federal or nonfederal, does not forfeit all rights to privacy. (94) It also should be noted in this regard that, unlike under the Privacy Act, foreign nationals are entitled to the same basic privacy rights under the FOIA as are U.S. citizens. (95)

Individuals do not waive their privacy rights merely by signing a document that states that information may be released to third parties under the FOIA. (96) As one court has observed, such a statement is not a waiver of the right to confidentiality, it is merely a warning by the agency and corresponding acknowledgment by the signers "that the information they were providing could be subject to release." (97) Similarly, individuals who sign a petition, knowing that those who sign afterward will observe their signatures, do not waive their privacy interests. (98) While such persons "would have no reason to be concerned that a limited number of like-minded individuals may have seen their names," they may well be concerned "that the petition not become available to the general public, including those opposing [the petitioners' position]." (99)

It also is important to remember that while the government may voluntarily or involuntarily waive its right to an exemption when its own interests are at stake, it cannot waive an individual's privacy interests under the FOIA by unilaterally publicizing information about that person. (100) The privacy interest inherent in Exemption 6 "belongs to the individual, not the agency holding the information," and "the fact that otherwise private information at one time or in some way may have been placed in the public domain does not mean that a person irretrievably loses his or her privacy interest in the information." (101)

In addition, individuals who testify at criminal trials do not forfeit their rights to privacy except on those very matters that become part of the public record. (102) Nor do individuals who plead guilty to criminal charges lose all rights to privacy with regard to the proceedings against them. (103) Similarly, individuals who provide law enforcement agencies with reports of illegal conduct have well-recognized privacy interests, particularly when such persons reasonably fear reprisals for their assistance. (104) Even absent any evidence of fear of reprisals, however, witnesses who provide information to investigative bodies -- administrative and civil, as well as criminal -- ordinarily are accorded privacy protection. (105) (For a more detailed discussion of the privacy protection accorded such law enforcement sources, see Exemption 7(C), below.)

An agency ordinarily is not required to conduct research to determine whether an individual has died or whether his activities have sufficiently become the subject of public knowledge so as to bar the application of Exemption 6. (106) Most recently, and quite significantly, the D.C. Circuit upheld the use of the FBI's "100-year rule," whereby the FBI assumes that an individual is alive unless his or her birthdate is more than 100 years ago, in making its privacy protection determinations. (107) This general rule is further strengthened by the Supreme Court's observations in Reporters Committee that "without regard to individual circumstances" certain categories of records will always warrant privacy protection and that "the standard virtues of bright-line rules are thus present, and the difficulties attendant to ad hoc adjudication may be avoided." (108) Before the D.C. Circuit's decision in that case several courts, faced with very old documents, refused to accept the presumption that all individuals mentioned in such documents were alive. (109)

Faced with "reverse" FOIA challenges, several courts have had to consider whether to order agencies not to release records pertaining to individuals that agencies had determined should be disclosed. (110) In a case that reached the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the signers of a petition requesting a referendum to abolish a mandatory payment by pork producers sued to prevent the Department of Agriculture from releasing their names pursuant to a FOIA request. (111) The Eighth Circuit agreed that, under the standards of the Administrative Procedure Act, (112) the Department of Agriculture's initial disclosure determination was not in accordance with law and the names must be withheld. (113)

By contrast, a Native Hawaiian group brought suit to enjoin the Department of the Navy from making public certain information concerning a large group of Native Hawaiian human remains that had been inventoried pursuant to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. (114) The court in that case held that the agency properly had determined that the information did not qualify for Exemption 6 protection and that it could be released. (115)

These privacy "reverse" FOIA cases are similar in posture to the more common "reverse" FOIA cases that are based upon a business submitter's claim that information falls within Exemption 4, cases which ordinarily are triggered by the "submitter notice" requirements of Executive Order 12,600. (116) (See the further discussion of this point under "Reverse" FOIA, below.) Despite this similarity, though, there is no requirement that an agency notify record subjects of the intent to disclose personal information about them or that it "track down an individual about whom another has requested information merely to obtain the former's permission to comply with the request." (117) Of course, a party seeking to protect his or her own privacy in-terest always can move to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit between an agency and a FOIA requester. (118)

Factoring in the Public Interest

Once it has been determined that a personal privacy interest is threatened by a requested disclosure, the second step in the balancing process comes into play; this stage of the analysis requires an assessment of the public interest in disclosure. (119) The burden of establishing that disclosure would serve the public interest is on the requester. (120) In its Re-porters Committee decision, the Supreme Court limited the concept of public interest under the FOIA to the "core purpose" for which Congress enacted it: To "shed[] light on an agency's performance of its statutory duties." (121) Information that does not directly reveal the operations or activities of the federal government, (122) the Supreme Court repeatedly has stressed, "falls outside the ambit of the public interest that the FOIA was enacted to serve." (123) If an asserted public interest is found to qualify under this standard, it then must be accorded some measure of value so that it can be weighed against the threat to privacy. (124) And, as the Supreme Court in Favish pointedly emphasized, "the public interest sought to be advanced [must be] a significant one." (125)

Even prior to Reporters Committee the law was clear that disclosure must benefit the public overall and not just the requester himself. For example, a number of courts determined that a request made for purely commercial purposes does not further a public interest. (126) The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit alone had adopted an approach that specifically factored the requester's personal interest in disclosure into the balancing process. (127)

In Reporters Committee, the Supreme Court approved the majority view that the requester's personal interest is irrelevant. First, as the Court emphasized, the requester's identity can have "no bearing on the merits of his or her FOIA request." (128) In so declaring, the Court ruled unequivocally that agencies should treat all requesters alike in making FOIA disclosure decisions; the only exception to this, the Court specifically noted, is that of course an agency should not withhold from a requester any information that implicates only that requester's own interest. (129) Furthermore, the "public interest" balancing required under the privacy exemptions should not include consideration of the requester's "particular purpose" in making the request. (130) Instead, the Court has instructed, the proper approach to the balancing process is to focus on "the nature of the requested document" and to consider "its relationship to" the public interest generally. (131) This approach thus does not permit attention to the special circumstances of any particular FOIA requester. (132) Rather, it necessarily involves a more general "public interest" assessment based upon the contents and context of the records sought and their connection to any "public interest" that would be served by disclosure. In making such assessments, agencies should look to the possible effects of disclosure to the public in general. (133)

Accordingly, a request made for the purpose of obtaining "impeachment evidence, such as that required to be produced pursuant to Brady v. Maryland" does not further the public interest; (134) nor does a request made in order to obtain or supplement discovery in a private lawsuit serve the public interest. (135) In fact, one court has observed that if the requester truly had a great need for the records for purposes of litigation, he or she should seek them in that forum, where it would be possible to provide them under an appropriate protective order. (136)

One purpose that the FOIA was designed for is to "check against corruption and to hold the governors accountable to the governed." (137) Indeed, information that would inform the public of violations of the public trust has a strong public interest and is accorded great weight in the balancing process. (138) As a general rule, demonstrated wrongdoing of a serious and intentional nature by a high-level government official is of sufficient public interest to outweigh almost any privacy interest of that official. (139)

By contrast, less serious misconduct by low-level agency employees generally is not considered of sufficient public interest to outweigh the privacy interest of the employee. (140) Nor is there likely to be strong public interest in disclosure of the names of censured employees when the case has not "occurred against the backdrop of a well-publicized scandal" that has resulted in "widespread knowledge" that certain employees were disciplined. (141)

And any asserted "public interest" in resolving mere allegations of wrongdoing cannot outweigh an individual's privacy interest in avoiding unwarranted association with such allegations. (142) Indeed, in Favish, the Supreme Court firmly held that mere allegations of wrongdoing are "insufficient" to satisfy the "public interest" standard required under the FOIA. (143) The Court observed that if "bare allegations" could be sufficient to satisfy the public interest requirement, then the exemption would be "transformed .  . . into nothing more than a rule of pleading." (144) Indeed, if mere allegations were all that were necessary to override a personal privacy interest, then that privacy interest would become worthless. (145)

Moreover, even when the existence of an investigation of misconduct has become publicly known, the accused individual ordinarily has an overriding privacy interest in not having the further details of the matter disclosed. (146) And even where misconduct actually is found, the agency is not necessarily required to disclose every piece of information pertaining to the investigation. (147)

As an exception to the general rule of protecting the details of alleged but unproven misconduct, it is the policy of the Department of Justice to disclose the results of its Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) investigations of its attorneys more broadly. The Department has determined that because of the special role of its attorneys in litigation and investigations there is a heightened public interest in their activities, comparable to the heightened interest in the activities of high-level officials, particularly in the context of the strong public interest in the effectiveness of the OPR misconduct-investigation process. (148) Accordingly, upon completion of an OPR investigation, the Department's policy is to disclose the final disposition when (1) there is a finding of intentional or knowing professional misconduct in the course of an investigation or litigation and the public interest outweighs the attorney's privacy interest and any law enforcement interests; (2) there are allegations of serious professional misconduct where there has been a demonstration of public interest in the disposition, including matters in which there has been a public referral by a court or bar association, and the public interest outweighs the attorney's privacy interest and any law enforcement interests; or (3) the attorney requests disclosure and law enforcement interests would not be compromised. (149)

Prior to Reporters Committee, some courts held that the public interest in disclosure may be embodied in other federal statutes. (150) In light of Reporters Committee and National Association of Retired Federal Employees v. Horner [hereinafter NARFE], (151) the Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia, First, Second, Sixth, Seventh, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits flatly rejected this approach, refusing to order disclosure of the home addresses of government employees on the explicit basis that the public interest in disclosure evidenced in the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Act (152) [hereinafter FSLMRA] cannot be factored into the balance under the FOIA. (153) On the other hand, the Third, Fifth, and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals reached the opposite conclusion and ordered disclosure of the home addresses of bargaining unit employees to unions that requested them under the FSLMRA. (154) These circuit courts all declared that the Supreme Court had not considered specifically whether the public policy favoring collective bargaining embodied in the FSLMRA could be considered in balancing under the FOIA; consequently, none of these courts found an inconsistency between its holding and the teachings of Reporters Committee. (155)

Because of this split in the circuits, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the Fifth Circuit case and finally resolved this issue in 1994. (156) The Court decisively reiterated the principles laid down in Reporters Committee and said the fact that it was looking at Exemption 6 rather than Exemption 7(C) in this case was "of little import"; the two exemptions differ in the "magnitude of the public interest that is required," not in the "identification of the relevant public interest." (157) The Court concluded that "because all FOIA requestors have an equal, and equally qualified, right to information, the fact that [FOIA requesters] are seeking to vindicate the policies behind the Labor Statute is irrelevant to the FOIA analysis." (158) The only relevant public interest under the FOIA remains, as set forth in Reporters Committee, "'the citizens' right to be informed about what their government is up to.'" (159)

On a related question concerning another federal statute -- the Davis-Bacon Act, (160) which requires that contractors on federal projects pay to their laborers no less than the wages prevailing for comparable work in their geographical area -- the D.C. and Second Circuits were the first post-Reporters Committee courts of appeals to confront this issue, and the Third and Tenth Circuits subsequently addressed it as well. These four courts have firmly held that although there may be a minimal public interest in facilitating the monitoring of compliance with federal labor statutes, disclosure of personal information that reveals nothing "directly about the character of a government agency or official" bears only an "attenuated . . . relationship to governmental activity." (161) Accordingly, it has been held that such an "attenuated public interest in disclosure does not outweigh the construction workers' significant privacy interest in [their names and addresses]." (162)

Overturning the decisions of two lower courts, (163) the Ninth Circuit characteristically took a different approach, but properly reached the same result. (164) The Ninth Circuit found a public interest in monitoring the agency's "diligence in enforcing Davis-Bacon," but found the weight to be given that interest weakened when the public benefit was derived neither directly from the release of the information itself nor from mere tabulation of data or further research but rather from personal contact with the individuals whose privacy is at issue. (165)

Public oversight of government operations is the essence of public interest under the FOIA, and in the past courts have found that one who claims such a purpose must support his claim by more than mere allegation; he must show that the information in question is "of sufficient importance to warrant such" oversight, (166) and he had to show how the public interest would be served by disclosure in the particular case. (167) Most recently, the Supreme Court in Favish found the Ninth Circuit's reliance on mere allegations of government wrongdoing to be simply "insufficient." (168) The Court pointedly recognized that "allegations of misconduct are 'easy to allege and hard to disprove'" (169) and that courts therefore must require a "meaningful evidentiary showing" by the FOIA requester. (170) Therefore, the Court adopted a higher standard for evaluation of "agency wrongdoing" claims and held that "the requester must establish more than a bare suspicion in order to obtain disclosure. Rather, the requester must produce evidence that would warrant a belief by a reasonable person that the alleged Government impropriety might have occurred." (171) And in such cases, this higher standard applies above and beyond the "qualifying public interest" standard of Reporters Committee. (172) Accordingly, assertions of "public interest" should be scrutinized carefully to ensure that they legitimately warrant the overriding of important privacy interests. (173)

As stated by the Second Circuit in Hopkins v. HUD, "[t]he simple invocation of a legitimate public interest . . . cannot itself justify the release of personal information. Rather, a court must first ascertain whether that interest would be served by disclosure." (174) The Second Circuit in Hopkins found a legitimate public interest in monitoring HUD's enforcement of prevailing wage laws generally, but found that disclosure of the names and addresses of workers employed on HUD-assisted public housing projects would shed no light on the agency's performance of that duty in particular. (175) Even the Ninth Circuit in Minnis v. USDA recognized a valid public interest in questioning the fairness of an agency lottery system that awarded permits to raft down the Rogue River, but found, upon careful analysis, that the release of the names and addresses of the applicants would in no way further that interest. (176) Similarly, in Heights Community Congress v. VA, (177) the Sixth Circuit found that the release of names and home addresses would result only in the "involuntary personal involvement" of innocent purchasers rather than appreciably furthering a concededly valid public interest in determining whether anyone had engaged in "racial steering." Several courts, moreover, have observed that the minimal amount of information of interest to the public revealed by a single incident or investigation does not shed enough light on an agency's conduct to overcome the subject's privacy interest in his records. (178)

Such holdings properly presaged the Supreme Court's emphasis on the required "nexus between the requested information and the asserted public interest that would be advanced by disclosure" in Favish, (179) and they are entirely consistent with the Court's determination in Reporters Committee that the "rap sheet" of a defense contractor, if such existed, would reveal nothing directly about the behavior of the Congressman with whom the contractor allegedly had an improper relationship, nor would it reveal anything about the conduct of the DOD. (180) The information must clearly reveal official government activities; it is not enough that the information would permit speculative inferences about the conduct of an agency or a government official, (181) or that it might aid the requester in lobbying efforts that would result in passage of laws and thus benefit the public in that respect. (182)

A very significant development concerning this issue occurred in United States Department of State v. Ray, (183) when the Supreme Court recognized a legitimate public interest in whether the State Department was adequately monitoring Haiti's promise not to prosecute Haitians who were returned to their country after failed attempts to enter the United States, but the Court determined that this public interest had been "adequately served" by release of redacted summaries of the agency's interviews with the returnees and that "[t]he addition of the redacted identifying information would not shed any additional light on the Government's conduct of its obligation." (184) Although the plaintiff claimed that disclosure of the identities of the unsuccessful emigrants would allow him to reinterview them and elicit further information concerning their treatment, the Court found "nothing in the record to suggest that a second set of interviews with the already-interviewed returnees would produce any relevant information . . . . Mere speculation about hypothetical public benefits cannot outweigh a demonstrably significant invasion of privacy." (185)

The Supreme Court expressly declined in Ray to decide whether a public interest that stems not from the documents themselves but rather from a "derivative use" to which the documents could be put could ever be weighed in the balancing process against a privacy interest. (186) Subsequently, however, several lower courts faced the "derivative use" issue and ordered the release of names and home addresses of private individuals in certain contexts despite the fact that the public benefit to be derived from release of the information depended upon the requesters' use of the lists to question those individuals concerning the government's diligence in performing its duties. These courts have found a "derivative use" public interest in a list of individuals who sold land to the Fish and Wildlife Service, which could be used to contact the individuals to determine how the agency acquires property throughout the United States; (187) a list of Haitian nationals returned to Haiti, which could be used for follow-up interviews with the Haitians to learn "whether the INS is fulfilling its duties not to turn away Haitians who may have valid claims for political asylum"; (188) a list of citizens who reported wolf sightings, which could be used to monitor the Fish and Wildlife Service's enforcement of the Endangered Species Act; (189) the names of agents involved in the management and supervision of the FBI's 1972 investigation of John Lennon, which could be used to help determine whether the investigation was politically motivated; (190) the name and address of an individual who wrote a letter complaining about an immigration assistance company, which could be used to determine whether the INS acted upon the complaint; (191) and the names and addresses of individuals who received property seized under federal law, which could enable the public to assess the government's exercise of its power to seize and dispose of property. (192)

However, the District Court for the District of Columbia more recently reached a different result, with more cogent reasoning, in Hertzberg v. Veneman. (193) In that case, the plaintiff argued that disclosure of the names and identifying information that were withheld on witness statements would serve the public interest because, he said, it would allow him to contact the witnesses. (194) The court disagreed with this argument and it stated that "disclosure is not compelled under the FOIA [just] because the link between the request and the potential illumination of agency action is too attenuated. Plaintiff cites no case recognizing a derivative theory of public interest, and this Court does not understand the FOIA to encompass such a concept." (195) And now the Supreme Court's very recent emphasis in Favish on "the necessary nexus between" the information requested and the "public interest" to be served, at a minimum, calls this "derivative use" notion into even greater question. (196)

Finally, if alternative, less intrusive means are available to obtain information that would serve the public interest, there is less need to require disclosure of information that would cause an invasion of someone's privacy. Accordingly, "[w]hile [this is] certainly not a per se defense to a FOIA request," it is entirely appropriate, when assessing the public interest side of the balancing equation, to consider "the extent to which there are alternative sources of information available that could serve the public interest in disclosure." (197) In Favish, the Supreme Court recognized that the government had thoroughly investigated the suicide of Vincent Foster and that "[i]t would be quite extraordinary to say we must ignore the fact that five different inquiries into the Foster matter reached the same conclusion." (198) Indeed, if there are alternative sources, the D.C. Circuit has firmly ruled, the public interest in disclosure should be "discounted" accordingly. (199)

Similarly, although courts ordinarily discuss the "public interest" as weighing in favor of disclosure, several courts have implicitly recognized that there can be a public interest in the nondisclosure of personal privacy information -- particularly, the public interest in avoiding the impairment of ongoing and future law enforcement investigations. (200) Most explicitly, the D.C. Circuit, in Fund for Constitutional Government v. National Archives & Records Service, has recognized that the "public interest properly factors into both sides of the balance." (201)

The Balancing Process

Once both the privacy interest at stake and the public interest in disclosure have been ascertained, the two competing interests must be weighed against one another. (202) In other words, it must be determined which is the greater result of disclosure: the harm to personal privacy or the benefit to the public. (203) In balancing these interests, "the 'clearly unwarranted' language of Exemption 6 weights the scales in favor of disclosure," (204) but if the public benefit is weaker than the threat to privacy, the latter will prevail and the information should be withheld. (205) The threat to privacy need not be immediate or direct; (206) it need only outweigh the public interest. (207)

Although "the presumption in favor of disclosure is as strong [under Exemption 6] as can be found anywhere in the Act," (208) the courts have most vigorously protected the personal, intimate details of an individual's life -- consistently protecting personal information that, if disclosed, is likely to cause the individual involved personal distress or embarrassment. Courts regularly uphold the nondisclosure of information concerning marital status, legitimacy of children, welfare payments, family fights and reputation, (209) medical condition, (210) date of birth, (211) religious affiliation, (212) citizenship data, (213) genealogical history establishing membership in a Native American Tribe, (214) social security numbers, (215) criminal history records (commonly referred to as "rap sheets"), (216) incarceration of United States citizens in foreign prisons, (217) sexual inclinations or associations, (218) and financial status. (219) Even "favorable information," such as details of an employee's outstanding performance evaluation, can be protected on the basis that it "may well embarrass an individual or incite jealousy" among co-workers. (220) Moreover, re-lease of such information "reveals by omission the identities of employees who did not receive high ratings, creating an invasion of their privacy." (221)

A subject that has generated extensive litigation and that warrants special discussion is requests for compilations of names and home addresses of individuals. Prior to the Reporters Committee decision, the courts' analyses in "mailing list" cases ordinarily turned on the requester's purpose, or the "use" to which the requested information was intended to be put. (222) The Supreme Court in Reporters Committee, however, firmly repudiated any analysis based on the identity, circumstances, or intended purpose of the particular FOIA requester at hand. (223) Rather, it said, the analysis must turn on the nature of the document and its relationship to the basic purpose of the FOIA. (224) Following Reporters Committee, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that those cases relying on the stated "beneficial" purpose of the requester were grounded on the now-disapproved proposition that "Exemption 6 carries with it an implicit limitation that the information, once disclosed, [may] be used only by the requesting party and for the public interest purpose upon which the balancing was based." (225)

Because agencies may neither distinguish between requesters nor limit the use to which disclosed information is put, (226) an analysis of the consequences of disclosure of a mailing list cannot turn on the identity or purpose of the requester. (227) Thus, it was found to be irrelevant by the Supreme Court in Bibles v. Oregon Natural Desert Ass'n that the requester's purpose was to use the Bureau of Land Management mailing list to send information reflecting another viewpoint to people who had received newsletters reflecting the government's viewpoint. (228) In NARFE, it was found to be irrelevant that the requester's purpose was to use the list of federal retirees to aid in its lobbying efforts on behalf of those retirees. (229) Although stopping short of creating a nondisclosure category encompassing all mailing lists, the D.C. Circuit in NARFE did hold that mailing lists consisting of names and home addresses of federal annuitants are categorically withholdable under Exemption 6. (230) (See discussion of "derivative use" theory under Exemption 6, Factoring in the Public Interest, above.)

Although the Supreme Court twice has specifically considered the issue and, without dissent, held that compilations of names and home addresses of United States residents are protectible under Exemption 6, (231) several lower courts nonetheless subsequently have ordered the disclosure of such lists. Some of these courts have found little or no privacy interest in the names and addresses. (232) Other courts have ordered the release of such personal information on the rationale that the names and addresses themselves would reveal (or lead to other information that would reveal) how the agency conducted some aspect of its business. (233) One court, in a particularly unusual decision, ordered disclosure of the names and cities of residence of individuals granted permits to use Forest Service lands to "aid in determining whether improper influence is used to obtain permits or whether permits are being granted to those with a past history of environmental abuses," but affirmed the withholding of street addresses because there was "no showing that knowledge of the street addresses will provide additional insight into agency activities that would not be revealed with disclosure of names and cities of residence alone." (234)

In another unusual decision, the D.C. Circuit remanded a case to the district court to determine whether some of the names of individual depositors with unclaimed funds at banks for which the FDIC is now the receiver should be released to a professional money finder. (235) Introducing a new element into the balancing test for this particular type of information, the D.C. Circuit held that the standard test "is inapposite here, i.e., where the individuals whom the government seeks to protect have a clear interest in the release of the requested information." (236) As guidance to the lower court charged with applying this novel approach, the D.C. Circuit ordered, first, that "release of names associated with unclaimed deposits should not be matched with the amount owed to that individual" and, second, that "on remand, the District Court must determine the dollar amount below which an individual's privacy interest should be deemed to outweigh his or her interest in discovering his or her money, such that the names of depositors with lesser amounts may be redacted." (237) It is unclear, however, whether this highly unconventional privacy balancing analysis can be squared with the subsequent analysis of personal privacy protection that was adopted by the Supreme Court in Favish. (238)

Other courts, more in line with the teachings of the Supreme Court, have protected compilations of names and addresses. For example, when the request clearly is for the purpose of soliciting business or for other commercial purposes, most courts readily have found mailing lists to be protectible. (239) Even when there is no apparent commercial interest at stake, other courts have found the possible public interest too attenuated to overcome the clear privacy interest an individual has in his name and home address. (240) Yet other courts have protected mailing lists, emphasizing the increased privacy interest inherent in a list that reveals sensitive information beyond the mere names and addresses of the individuals found on the list. (241) And when a requester seeks the address of a named individual for a purely private purpose, courts have found the privacy interest to be at its zenith and the public interest to be at its nadir. (242)

Another area that merits particular discussion is the applicability of Exemption 6 to requests for information about civilian and military federal employees. Generally, civilian employees' names, present and past position titles, grades, salaries, and duty stations are releasable as no viable privacy interest exists in such data. (243) The Department of Justice recommends the release of additional items, particularly those relating to professional qualifications for federal employment. (244) By regulation, the Department of the Army discloses the name, rank, date of rank, gross salary, duty assignments, office telephone number, source of commission, promotion sequence number, awards and decorations, educational level, and duty status of most of its military personnel and the name, past and present position titles, grades, salaries, and duty stations of its civilian employees. (245) Historically, the entire Department of Defense disclosed the same information and other nonsensitive data concerning most of its servicemembers and civilian employees. (246)

By statutory enactment as well as by regulation, certain military personnel throughout the Department of Defense are properly afforded greater privacy protection than other servicemembers and nonmilitary employees. (247) Even prior to enactment of such special statutory protection, courts had found that because of the threat of terrorism, military servicemembers stationed outside the United States have a greater expectation of privacy. (248) Courts have, however, ordered the release of names of military personnel stationed in the United States. (249) In light of recent terrorist activities within the United States and the resulting heightened security awareness nationwide, however, the Department of Defense now withholds personally identifying information concerning its military and civilian personnel stationed within the United States whenever release would "raise security or privacy concerns." (250) Additionally, certain other federal employees such as law enforcement personnel and Internal Revenue Service employees possess, by virtue of the nature of their work, protectible privacy interests in their identities and work addresses. (251) (See the further discussions of these issues under Exemption 2, "Low 2": Trivial Matters, above, and Exemption 7(C), below.)

Purely personal details pertaining to government employees are protectible under Exemption 6. (252) Indeed, courts generally have recognized the sensitivity of information contained in personnel-related files and have accorded protection to the personal details of a federal employee's service. (253) In addition, the identities of persons who apply but are not selected for federal government employment may be protected. (254) Even suggestions submitted to an Employee Suggestion Program may be withheld to protect employees with whom the suggestions are identifiable from the embarrassment that might occur from disclosure. (255)

Similarly, the courts customarily have extended protection to the identities of mid- and low-level federal employees accused of misconduct, as well as to the details and results of any internal investigations into such allegations of impropriety. (256) The D.C. Circuit has reaffirmed this position in Dunkelberger v. Department of Justice. (257) It made very clear in Dunkelberger that, even post-Reporters Committee, the D.C. Circuit's decision in Stern v. FBI remains solid guidance for the balancing of the privacy interests of federal employees found to have committed wrongdoing against the public interest in shedding light on agency activities. (258)

During the 1980s, a peculiar line of cases began to develop within the D.C. Circuit regarding the professional or business conduct of an individual. Specifically, the courts began to require the disclosure of information concerning an individual's business dealings with the federal government; indeed, even embarrassing information, if related to an individual's professional life, was subject to disclosure. (259) Similarly, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit suggested that the disclosure of a document prepared by a government employee during the course of his employment "will not constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy simply because it would invite a negative reaction or cause embarrassment in the sense that a position is thought by others to be wrong or inadequate." (260)

In five later cases, however, the D.C. Circuit reached firm nondisclosure decisions, with no discussion of this consideration at all. (261) Then it clarified that any such lack of privacy an individual has in his business dealings applies only to purely "'business judgments and relationships.'" (262) Indeed, an individual has a very strong interest in allegations of wrongdoing or in the fact that he or she was a target of a law enforcement investigation, even when the alleged wrongdoing occurred in the course of the individual's professional activities. (263) Moreover, under Reporters Committee, an individual doing business with the federal government certainly may have some protectible privacy interest, and such dealings with the government do not alone necessarily implicate a public interest that furthers the purpose of the FOIA. (264)

In applying Exemption 6, it must be remembered that all reasonably segregable, nonexempt portions of requested records must be released. (265) (See the discussions of this issue under Procedural Requirements, "Reasonably Segregable" Obligation, above, and Litigation Considerations, "Reasonably Segregable" Requirements, below.) For example, in Department of the Air Force v. Rose, the Supreme Court ordered the release of case summaries of disciplinary proceedings, provided that personal identifying information was deleted. (266) Likewise, circuit courts of appeals have upheld the nondisclosure of the names and identifying information of employee-witnesses when disclosure would link each witness to a particular previously disclosed statement, (267) have ordered the disclosure of computerized lists of numbers and types of drugs routinely ordered by the congressional pharmacy after deletion of any item identifiable to a specific individual, (268) and have ordered the disclosure of documents concerning disciplined IRS employees, provided that all names and other identifying information were deleted. (269)

Nevertheless, in some situations the deletion of personal identifying information may not be adequate to provide necessary privacy protection. It is significant in this regard that in Department of the Air Force v. Rose, the Supreme Court specifically admonished that if it were determined on remand that the deletions of personal references were not sufficient to safeguard privacy, then the summaries of disciplinary hearings should not be released. (270)

Despite the admonition of the Supreme Court in Rose, though, a few isolated courts later permitted redaction only of information that directly identified the individuals to whom it pertains. In ordering the disclosure of information pertaining to air traffic controllers who were reinstated in their jobs shortly after their 1982 strike, the Sixth Circuit, in Norwood v. FAA, held that only items that "by themselves" would identify the individual -- names, present and pre-removal locations, and social security numbers -- could be withheld. (271) It later modified its opinion to state that, although there might be instances in which an agency could justify the withholding of "information other than 'those items which "by themselves" would identify the individuals,'" the FAA in this case had "made no such particularized effort, relying generally on the claim that 'fragments of information' might be able to be pieced together into an identifiable set of circumstances." (272)

Similarly, the District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the disclosure of application packages for candidates for an Air Force graduate degree program with the redaction of only the applicants' names, addresses, and social security numbers. (273) Although the packets regularly contained detailed descriptions of the applicants' education, careers, projects, and achievements, the court concluded that it could not "discern how there is anything more than a 'mere possibility' that [the requester] or others will be able to discern to which particular applicant each redacted application corresponds." (274) And more recently, the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio found "much too speculative" the Air Force's argument that disclosure of medical malpractice settlement figures could permit researchers to "comb local news articles, possibly discovering the identity of claimants and interfering with their privacy rights." (275) That court concluded that "[t]he mere possibility that factual information might be pieced together to supply the 'missing link,' and lead to personal identification, does not exempt such information from disclosure" under Exemption 6. (276) The same court, in a different case brought by the same FOIA requester, even went so far as to rule that the government cannot rely on the sophistication of modern online search engines as a justification to withhold information under Exemption 6. (277) This not only flies in the face of Rose, it defies the Supreme Court's commonsense recognition of the power of "computer[ization]" as itself a powerful privacy-protection factor in Reporters Committee. (278)

Indeed the overwhelming majority of courts take a much broader view of the redaction process. For example, to protect those persons who were the subjects of disciplinary actions that were later dismissed, the D.C. Circuit has upheld the nondisclosure of public information contained in such disciplinary files when the redaction of personal information would not be adequate to protect the privacy of the subjects because the requester could easily obtain and compare unredacted copies of the documents from public sources. (279) When the information in question concerns a small group of individuals who are known to each other and easily identifiable from the details contained in the information, redaction might not adequately protect privacy interests. (280) Likewise, when the information is "unique and specific" to the subjects of a record, "individual identities may become apparent from the specific details set forth in [the] documents," so that "deletion of personal identifying information . . . may not be adequate to provide the necessary privacy protection." (281) Indeed, a determination of what constitutes identifying information requires both an objective analysis and an analysis "from the vantage point of those familiar with the mentioned individuals." (282) Of course, when a FOIA request is by its very terms limited to privacy-sensitive information pertaining to an identified or identifiable individual, redaction is not possible. (283)

When a request is focused on records concerning an identifiable individual and the records are of a particularly sensitive nature, it may be necessary to go a step further than withholding in full without segregation: It may be necessary to follow special "Glomarization" procedures to protect the "targeted" individual's privacy. (See the discussion of the use and origin of the "Glomar" response under Exemption 1, In Camera Submissions, above.) If a request is formulated in such a way that even acknowledgment of the existence of responsive records would cause harm, then the subject's privacy can be protected only by refusing to confirm or deny that responsive records exist. This special procedure is a widely accepted method of protecting, for example, even the mere mention of a person in law enforcement records. (284) (For a more detailed explanation of such privacy "Glomarization," see the discussion under Exemption 7(C), below.)

This procedure is equally applicable to protect an individual's privacy interest in sensitive non-law enforcement records. (285) For example, many agencies maintain an employee assistance program for their employees, operating it on a confidential basis in which privacy is assured. An agency would release neither a list of the employees who participate in such a program nor any other information concerning the program without redacting the names of participants. Logically, then, in responding to a request for any employee assistance counseling records pertaining to a named employee, the agency could protect the privacy of that individual only by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of responsive records. (286)

Similarly, the "Glomarization" approach would be appropriate in responding to a request targeting such matters as a particular citizen's welfare records or the disciplinary records of an employee accused of relatively minor misconduct. (287) Generally, this approach is proper whenever mere acknowledgment of the existence of records would be tantamount to disclosing an actual record the disclosure of which "would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." (288) It must be remembered, however, that this response is effective only so long as it is given consistently for a distinct category of requests. (289) If it were to become known that an agency gave a "Glomar" response only when records do exist and gave a "no records" response otherwise, then the purpose of this special approach would be defeated. (290)

    1. 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) (2000).

    2. See Attorney General's Memorandum for Heads of All Federal Departments and Agencies Regarding the Freedom of Information Act (Oct. 12, 2001), reprinted in FOIA Post (posted 10/15/01) (placing particular emphasis on the importance of "preserving personal privacy" among the other interests that are protected by the FOIA's exemptions).

    3. See H.R. Rep. No. 93-1380, at 13 (1974); United States Dep't of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749, 771 (1989) (citing United States Dep't of Justice v. Julian, 486 U.S. 1, 13-14 (1988)); see also FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 5 (advising that, as a matter of sound administrative practice, "[a]n agency will not invoke an exemption to protect a requester from himself").

    4. 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6).

    5. 627 F.2d 392, 400 (D.C. Cir. 1980).

    6. 456 U.S. 595 (1982).

    7. Id. at 599-603 (citing H.R. Rep. No. 89-1497, at 11 (1966); S. Rep. No. 89-813, at 9 (1965); S. Rep. No. 88-1219, at 14 (1964)).

    8. Id. at 601 (citing H.R. Rep. No. 89-1497, at 11 (1966)).

    9. Id. at 602; see, e.g., Lakin Law Firm, P.C. v. FTC, 352 F.3d 1122, 1123 (7th Cir. 2003) (finding that consumer complaints filed with the FTC "clearly fall[] within the exemption"), reh'g denied, No. 03-1689 (7th Cir. Feb. 11, 2004), petition for cert. filed, No. 03-1468 (U.S. Apr. 22, 2004); Sherman v. United States Dep't of the Army, 244 F.3d 357, 361 (5th Cir. 2001) (recognizing that the "Supreme Court has interpreted exemption 6 'files' broadly to include any 'information which applies to a particular individual'" (quoting id.)); Strout v. United States Parole Comm'n, 40 F.3d 136, 139 (6th Cir. 1994) (protecting names and addresses of persons opposing parole of individual, without explicit discussion of threshold requirement); Hecht v. United States Agency for Int'l Dev., No. 95-263, 1996 WL 33502232, at *12 (D. Del. Dec. 18, 1996) ("We do not think that Congress meant to limit Exemption 6 to a narrow class of files containing only a discrete kind of personal information."). But see City of Chicago v. United States Dep't of the Treasury, 287 F.3d 628, 635 (7th Cir. 2002) (agreeing with mistaken district court that personal information about firearms purchasers and possessors "is not 'information analogous to the type of sensitive information generally kept in a personnel or medical file, as would be protected by Exemption (6)'"), vacated, 537 U.S. 1229 (2003) (taking exceptional vacatur action as explained in FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Vacates and Remands in ATF Database Case" (posted 3/25/03)); Wood v. FBI, No. 3:02cv2058, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5525, at **48-49 (D. Conn. Mar. 31, 2004) (misapplying Washington Post to rule that names of agency officials involved in decisionmaking process for personnel action do not qualify for Exemption 6 protection); Darby v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, No. 00-0661, slip op. at 10-11 (D. Nev. Mar. 1, 2002) (rejecting redaction of names in IG report on mistaken basis that such documents "are not 'personnel or medical files[,]' nor are they 'similar' to such files"), aff'd on other grounds sub nom. Darby v. DOD, 74 Fed. Appx. 813 (9th Cir. 2003); Providence Journal Co. v. United States Dep't of the Army, 781 F. Supp. 878, 883 (D.R.I. 1991) (finding investigative report of criminal charges not to be "similar file," on unsound basis that it was "created in response to specific criminal allegations" rather than as "regularly compiled administrative record"), modified & aff'd on other grounds, 981 F.2d 552 (1st Cir. 1992); see also Judicial Watch, Inc. v. United States, 84 Fed. Appx. 335, 340-41 (4th Cir. 2004) (contending wrongly that IRS employee names do not meet Exemption 6 threshold) (Luttig, J., dissenting), petition for cert. filed, 72 U.S.L.W. 3644 (U.S. Apr. 5, 2004) (No. 03-1389).

    10. See, e.g., Arieff v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 712 F.2d 1462, 1467-68 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (finding no protection under Exemption 6 for list of drugs ordered for use by some members of large group); Na Iwi O Na Kupuna v. Dalton, 894 F. Supp. 1397, 1413 (D. Haw. 1995) (same for records pertaining to large group of Native Hawaiian human remains) (reverse FOIA case); see also FOIA Update, Vol. III, No. 4, at 1 (explaining that the Washington Post decision "revitalized the commonsense, practical approach of giving privacy considerations their full weight in the delicate balancing process"). But see Greenpeace USA, Inc. v. EPA, 735 F. Supp. 13, 14 (D.D.C. 1990) (opining narrowly that information pertaining to an employee's compliance with agency regulations regarding outside employment "does not go to personal information . . . [e]ven in view of the broad interpretation [of Exemption 6] enunciated by the Supreme Court").

    11. N.Y. Times Co. v. NASA, 920 F.2d 1002, 1005 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (en banc); see Judicial Watch, Inc. v. USPS, No. 03-655, slip op. at 6 (D.D.C. Feb. 23, 2004) (assuming that audio portions of videotape are "similar files") (appeal pending); Hertzberg v. Veneman, 273 F. Supp. 2d 67, 85 n.11 (D.D.C. 2003) (finding that video tapes "contain identifiable audio and video images of individual residents," and concluding that they are "similar files").

    12. 920 F.2d at 1005.

    13. Id. at 1007-08.

    14. 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6).

    15. See Rose, 425 U.S. at 372; Fund for Constitutional Gov't v. Nat'l Archives & Records Serv., 656 F.2d 856, 862 (D.C. Cir. 1981).

    16. See Ripskis v. HUD, 746 F.2d 1, 3 (D.C. Cir. 1984); Trentadue v. President's Council on Integrity & Efficiency, 2:03-CV-339, slip op. at 4 (D. Utah Apr. 26, 2004) (stating that agency made no showing of a privacy interest, so names of government employees should be released) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Holland v. CIA, No. 91-1233, 1992 WL 233820, at *16 (D.D.C. Aug. 31, 1992) (stating that information must be disclosed when there is no significant privacy interest, even if public interest is also de minimis).

    17. See Ripskis, 746 F.2d at 3; NARA v. Favish, 124 S. Ct. 1570, 1580 (2004) ("The term 'unwarranted' requires us to balance the family's privacy interest against the public interest in disclosure.") (Exemption 7(C)), reh'g denied, No. 02-409, 2004 WL 108633 (U.S. May 17, 2004).

    18. Nat'l Ass'n of Retired Fed. Employees v. Horner, 879 F.2d 873, 879 (D.C. Cir. 1989); see also Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers Local No. 5 v. HUD, 852 F.2d 87, 89 (3d Cir. 1988) (perceiving no public interest in disclosure of employees' social security numbers).

    19. See FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 7 ("FOIA Counselor: Exemption 6 and Exemption 7(C): Step-by-Step Decisionmaking") (outlining mechanics of balancing process).

    20. 489 U.S. 749 (1989); see also FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 3-6 ("OIP Guidance: Privacy Protection Under the Supreme Court's Reporters Committee Decision").

    21. 489 U.S. at 757.

    22. Id. at 762, 780.

    23. Id. at 764.

    24. Id. at 771; see also Favish v. NARA, 124 S. Ct. 1570, 1579-80 (2004) (reiterating that "[a]s a general rule, the withholding of information under FOIA cannot be predicated on the identity of the requester," but adding that this of course does not mean that a requester seeking to establish an overriding "public interest" in disclosure "need not offer a reason for requesting the information") (Exemption 7(C)), reh'g denied, No. 02-409, 2004 WL 108633 (U.S. May 17, 2004).

    25. 489 U.S. at 771.

    26. Id. at 772; see also Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1582 (discussing "the nexus required between the requested documents and the purported public interest served by disclosure"); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (elaborating on "nexus requirement").

    27. 489 U.S. at 774.

    28. Id. at 775.

    29. Id. at 773; see also O'Kane v. United States Customs Serv., 169 F.3d 1308, 1310 (11th Cir. 1999) (per curiam) (affirming that Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-231, 110 Stat. 3048, do not "overrule" Reporters Committee definition of "public interest"); cf. Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1580 (reiterating the Reporters Committee "public interest" standard, and characterizing it as "a structural necessity in a real democracy" that "should not be dismissed" -- despite persistent arguments by amici in the case that Reporters Committee had been "overruled" by the Electronic FOIA amendments since 1996).

    30. 489 U.S. at 776-80 & n.22; see also Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1581 (stressing need for "stability" in privacy balancing, lest balancing be too "ad hoc").

    31. 489 U.S. at 780; see, e.g., Reed v. NLRB, 927 F.2d 1249, 1252 (D.C. Cir. 1991) ("Exemption 6 protects 'Excelsior' lists [names and addresses of employees eligible to vote in union representation elections] as a category."); SafeCard Servs. v. SEC, 926 F.2d 1197, 1205-06 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (holding "categorically that, unless access to the names and addresses of private individuals appearing in files within the ambit of Exemption 7(C) is necessary in order to confirm or refute compelling evidence that the agency is engaged in illegal activity, such information is exempt from disclosure"); Johnson v. Comm'r, 239 F. Supp. 2d 1125, 1137 (W.D. Wash. 2002) (allowing categorical withholding of any identifying information about third parties and witnesses, as well as any information that they provided to IRS), aff'd on other grounds, 68 Fed. Appx. 839 (9th Cir. 2003) (Exemption 7(C)); Grove v. Dep't of Justice, 802 F. Supp. 506, 511 (D.D.C. 1992) (Categorical balancing is appropriate for "information concerning criminal investigations of private citizens.") (Exemption 7(C)). But see Armstrong v. Executive Office of the President, 97 F.3d 575, 581-82 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (finding that agency had not adequately established basis for categorical rule for withholding identities of low-level FBI agents); Nation Magazine v. United States Customs Serv., 71 F.3d 885, 893-96 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (rejecting categorical issuance of "Glomar" response in case involving request for information concerning presidential candidate H. Ross Perot's offer "to help a federal agency fulfill its statutory duties to interdict drugs") (Exemption 7(C)); Konigsberg v. FBI, No. 02-2428, slip op. at 6 (D.D.C. May 27, 2003) (rejecting categorical withholding for records based on insufficient "eviden[tiary]" support); see also FOIA Update, Vol. XVII, No. 2, at 3-4 ("OIP Guidance: The Bifurcation Requirement for Privacy 'Glomarization'") (discussing need to bifurcate requests that ask for more than law enforcement records on a third party -- i.e., employing "Glomar" response for law enforcement records and treating non-law enforcement records under Exemption 6 in ordinary fashion).

    32. See FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 7.

    33. See Schell v. HHS, 843 F.2d 933, 938 (6th Cir. 1988); Ripskis v. HUD, 746 F.2d 1, 3 (D.C. Cir. 1984).

    34. 489 U.S. 749, 763 (1989).

    35. 124 S. Ct. 1570, 1576-77, 1579 (2004) ("[T]he concept of personal privacy . . . is not some limited or 'cramped notion' of that idea.") (Exemption 7(C)), reh'g denied, No. 02-409, 2004 WL 108633 (U.S. May 17, 2004); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (highlighting breadth of privacy protection principles in Supreme Court's decision).

    36. Id. at 767; see also DOD v. FLRA, 510 U.S. 487, 500 (1994) (finding privacy interest in federal employees' home addresses even though they "often are publicly available through sources such as telephone directories and voter registration lists"); FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 4.

    37. See United States Dep't of State v. Wash. Post Co., 456 U.S. 595, 600 (1982); Nat'l Ass'n of Retired Fed. Employees v. Horner, 879 F.2d 873, 875 (D.C. Cir. 1989).

    38. Pub. Citizen Health Research Group v. United States Dep't of Labor, 591 F.2d 808, 809 (D.C. Cir. 1978) (per curiam) (ruling that district court improperly refused to look beyond face of document at issue (i.e., to proffered in camera explanation of harm), which led it to fail to recognize underlying sensitivity).

    39. See Dep't of the Air Force v. Rose, 425 U.S. 352, 380 n.19 (1976) ("The legislative history is clear that Exemption 6 was directed at threats to privacy interests more palpable than mere possibilities."); Carter v. United States Dep't of Commerce, 830 F.2d 388, 391 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (stating that "[w]ithholding information to prevent speculative harm" is contrary to the FOIA's pro-disclosure policy); Arieff v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 712 F.2d 1462, 1467-68 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (finding that Exemption 6 did not apply when there was only a "'mere possibility'" that the medical condition of a particular individual would be disclosed by releasing a list of pharmaceuticals supplied to a congressional physician (quoting Rose, 425 U.S. at 380 n.19)).

    40. See, e.g., S. Utah Wilderness Alliance, Inc. v. Hodel, 680 F. Supp. 37, 39 (D.D.C. 1988), vacated as moot, No. 88-5142 (D.C. Cir. Nov. 15, 1988).

    41. 712 F.2d at 1468.

    42. 879 F.2d at 878; see also Dayton Newspapers, Inc. v. Dep't of the Air Force, 107 F. Supp. 2d 912, 919 (S.D. Ohio 1999) (declining to protect medical malpractice settlement figures based upon "mere possibility that factual information might be pieced together to supply 'missing link' and lead to personal identification" of claimants); Chi. Tribune Co. v. HHS, No. 95 C 3917, 1997 WL 1137641, at **10-11 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 26, 1997) (magistrate's recommendation) (finding "speculative at best" agency's argument that release of breast cancer patient data forms that identify patients only by nine -digit encoded "Study Numbers" could result in identification of individual patients), adopted (N.D. Ill. Mar. 28, 1997).

    43. 124 S. Ct. at 1577.

    44. Id.

    45. Id. at 1578.

    46. Id. at 1581 ("It must be remembered that once there is disclosure, the information belongs to the general public."); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (emphasizing that agencies must consider full range of potential privacy invasions).

    47. NARFE, 879 F.2d at 878; see, e.g., Favish v. Office of Indep. Counsel, 217 F.3d 1168, 1173 (9th Cir. 2000) (declaring that "it is not 'the production' of the records that would cause the harms, . . . but their exploitation by the media," a "probable consequence[] of the release" that is encompassed by "the statutory reference to what may 'reasonably be expected'"), rev'd on other grounds sub nom. NARA v. Favish, 124 S. Ct. 1570, 1578-79 (2004) (specifically taking into account "the consequences" of FOIA disclosure, including "public exploitation" of the records by either the requester or others), reh'g denied, No. 02-409, 2004 WL 108633 (U.S. May 17, 2004); Hougan & Denton v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 90-1312, slip op. at 3 (D.D.C. July 3, 1991) (concluding that solicitation by employers would invade privacy of participants in union's training program). But see United States Dep't of State v. Ray, 502 U.S. 164, 179-82 (1991) (Scalia, J., concurring in part) (suggesting that "derivative" privacy harm should not be relied upon in evaluating privacy interests, a position subsequently rejected sub silento by a unanimous Supreme Court in Favish); Dayton Newspapers, Inc. v. VA, 257 F. Supp. 2d 988, 1001-05 (S.D. Ohio 2003) (rejecting argument based upon agency's concern that names of judges and attorneys could be used to search through databases to identify claimants and thereby invade privacy of claimants).

    48. Hudson v. Dep't of the Army, No. 86-1114, 1987 WL 46755, at *3 (D.D.C. Jan. 29, 1987) (protecting personal information on basis that disclosure could ultimately lead to physical harm), aff'd, 926 F.2d 1215 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (unpublished table decision); see also, e.g., Hemenway v. Hughes, 601 F. Supp. 1002, 1006-07 (D.D.C. 1985) (same).

    49. See, e.g., City of Chicago v. United States Dep't of Treasury, 287 F.3d 628, 636 (7th Cir. 2002) (declaring, in a harsh view, that "[f]irearms manufacturers, dealers and purchasers are on notice that records of their transactions are not confidential"), vacated, 537 U.S. 1229 (2003) (taking exceptional vacatur action as explained in FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Vacates and Remands in ATF Database Case" (posted 3/25/03)); Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Dep't of the Interior, 53 F. Supp. 2d 32, 37 (D.D.C. 1999) (finding that commenters to proposed rulemaking could have no expectation of privacy when agency made clear that their identities would not be concealed); see also Memorandum for the President's Management Council 1 (Mar. 1, 2004) (providing guidance for federal agencies in implementing "E-Government initiative" and attaching NARA template for "Addresses" section of regulatory preambles that includes new policy that "[a]ll comments received will be posted without change . . . including any personal information provided"), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/ inforeg/memo_pmc_egov.pdf.

    50. See 5 C.F.R. § 293.311 (2004) (OPM regulation specifying that certain information contained in federal employee personnel files is available to public); see also FLRA v. United States Dep't of Commerce, 962 F.2d 1055, 1059-61 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (noting that performance awards "have traditionally been subject to disclosure"); Core v. United States Postal Serv., 730 F.2d 946, 948 (4th Cir. 1984) (finding no substantial invasion of privacy in information identifying successful federal job applicants); Nat'l W. Life Ins. v. United States, 512 F. Supp. 454, 461 (N.D. Tex. 1980) (discerning no expectation of privacy in names and duty stations of Postal Service employees); see also FOIA Update, Vol. III, No. 4, at 3 (discussing extent to which privacy of federal employees can be protected).

    51. See Barvick v. Cisneros, 941 F. Supp. 1015, 1020 n.4 (D. Kan. 1996) (noting that the agency had "released information pertaining to the successful candidates' educational and professional qualifications, including letters of commendation and awards, as well as their prior work history, including federal positions, grades, salaries, and duty stations").

    52. See Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Program Regulation, DOD 5400.7-R, 37-39 (Sept. 1998); see also Memorandum from Department of Defense Directorate for Freedom of Information and Security Review 1 (Oct. 26, 1999) (applying same analysis as in DOD 5400.7-R to electronic mail addresses, and authorizing withholding only for "personnel assigned to units that are sensitive, routinely deployable or stationed in foreign territories"); cf. 10 U.S.C. § 130b (2000) (Department of Defense-wide provision); Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Program Regulations, 32 C.F.R. § 286.12(f)(2)(ii) (2003) ("Names and duty addresses (postal and/or e-mail) . . . for personnel assigned to units that are sensitive, routinely deployable, or stationed in foreign territories are withholdable under [Exemption 6].").

    53. See Army Reg. 340-21, ¶ 3-3a(1), b(1), 5 July 1985; see also Army Reg. 25-55, ¶ 3-200, No. 6(b), 1 Nov. 1997 (providing for withholding of names and duty addresses of military personnel assigned to units that are "sensitive, routinely deployable or stationed in foreign territories").

    54. Department of Defense Director for Administration and Management Memorandum 1-2 (Nov. 9, 2001), available at www.defenselink.mil/pubs/foi/withhold.pdf (noting that certain personnel's names can be released due to "the nature of their positions and duties," including public affairs officers and flag officers).

    55. See, e.g., Avondale Indus. v. NLRB, 90 F.3d 955, 961 (5th Cir. 1996) (finding that names and addresses of voters in union election were already disclosed in voluminous public record and that there was no showing that public record was compiled in such a way as to effectively obscure that information); Detroit Free Press, Inc. v. Dep't of Justice, 73 F.3d 93, 96-97 (6th Cir. 1996) (finding -- in singular decision not followed elsewhere and now called into question by Supreme Court's decision in Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1578-79 -- no privacy rights in mug shots of defendants in ongoing criminal proceedings when names are public and defendants have appeared in open court) (Exemption 7(C)); Billington v. United States Dep't of Justice, 245 F. Supp. 2d 79, 85-86 (D.D.C. 2003) (finding that information about two persons contained in a reporter's notes given to the State Department was not protected by Exemption 6, because these persons "knew that they were speaking to a reporter on the record and therefore could not expect to keep private the substance of the interview"); Blanton v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 93-2398, 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21444, at **11-12 (W.D. Tenn. July 14, 1994) ("The fact of [requester's former counsel's] representation is a matter of public record . . . . Whether an individual possesses a valid license to practice law is also a matter of public record and cannot be protected by any privacy interest."); Nat'l W. Life Ins., 512 F. Supp. at 461 (noting that names and duty stations of most federal employees are routinely published and available through Government Printing Office); cf. Doe v. FBI, 218 F.R.D. 256, 259-60 (D. Colo. 2003) (refusing to allow plaintiff to proceed with a case under a pseudonym or under seal, on the basis that his particular reputational interest does not "outweigh the public's interest in an open court system"). But see Times Picayune Publ'g Corp. v. United States Dep't of Justice, 37 F. Supp. 2d 472, 477-82 (E.D. La. 1999) (protecting the mug shot of a prominent individual despite wide publicity prior to his guilty plea and observing that a "mug shot is more than just another photograph of a person") (Exemption 7(C)); cf. Lakin Law Firm, P.C. v. FTC, 352 F.3d 1122, 1124-25 (7th Cir. 2003) (explaining that posting complaint advisory on Web site that warned consumers that "information provided may be subject to release under the FOIA" does not waive the privacy interests of consumer complainants) (emphasis added), reh'g denied, 03-1689 (7th Cir.), petition for cert. filed, No. 03-1468 (U.S. Apr. 22, 2004).

    56. See Nation Magazine v. United States Customs Serv., 71 F.3d 885, 896 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (finding no privacy interest in documents concerning presidential candidate H. Ross Perot's offer to aid federal government in drug interdiction, a subject about which Perot had made several public statements); see also Kimberlin v. Dep't of Justice, 139 F.3d 944, 949 (D.C. Cir 1998) (noting that government lawyer investigated by Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility diminished his privacy interest by acknowledging existence of investigation but that he still retains privacy interest in nondisclosure of any details of investigation) (Exemption 7(C)).

    57. Reporters Comm., 489 U.S. at 780; see also Wash. Post, 456 U.S. at 603 n.5; Fiduccia v. United States Dep't of Justice, 185 F.3d 1035, 1046-47 (9th Cir. 1999) (protecting information about two individuals whose homes were searched ten years previously despite publicity at that time and fact that some information might be public in various courthouses) (Exemption 7(C)); Abraham & Rose, P.L.C. v. United States, 138 F.3d 1075, 1083 (6th Cir. 1998) (noting that there may be privacy interest in personal information even if "available on publicly recorded filings"); Dayton Newspapers, Inc., 257 F. Supp. 2d at 1010 (reasoning that although modern search engines might make even otherwise obscure personal information more widely available, that "does not mean that [individuals] have lost all traits of privacy" in that information); Linn v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 92-1406, 1995 WL 417810, at *31 (D.D.C. June 6, 1995) (declaring that even if "some of the names at issue were at one time released to the general public, individuals are entitled to maintaining the 'practical obscurity' of personal information that is developed through the passage of time").

    58. See Isley v. Executive Office for United States Attorneys, No. 98-5098, 1999 WL 1021934, at *4 (D.C. Cir. Oct. 21, 1999) (finding no evidence that previously disclosed documents "continue to be 'freely available' in any 'permanent public record'") (Exemption 7(C)); Edmonds v. FBI, 272 F. Supp. 2d 35, 53 (D.D.C. 2003) (finding that media identification of persons mentioned in a law enforcement file "does not lessen their privacy interests or 'defeat the exemption,' for prior disclosure of personal information does not eliminate an individual's privacy interest in avoiding subsequent disclosure by the government") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)) (appeal pending); Mueller v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, 63 F. Supp. 2d 738, 743 (E.D. Va. 1999) (stating that existence of publicity surrounding events does not eliminate privacy interest) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Chin v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, No. 97-2176, slip op. at 5 (W.D. La. June 24, 1999) (concluding that although "some of the events are known to certain members of the public . . . this fact is insufficient to place this record for dissemination into the public domain"), aff'd per curiam, No. 99-31237 (5th Cir. June 15, 2000); cf. Schiffer v. FBI, 78 F.3d 1405, 1411 (9th Cir. 1996) (treating requester's personal knowledge as irrelevant in assessing privacy interests).

    59. 124 S. Ct. at 1580; see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (advising that "the Favish decision illustrates that the occurrence of an event in a public place is no disqualifying factor for privacy protection under the FOIA").

    60. Baltimore Sun Co. v. United States Customs Serv., No. 97-1991, slip op. at 5 (D. Md. Nov. 21, 1997) (Exemption 7(C)).

    61. See FOIA Update, Vol. VI, No. 1, at 6; see also Holland v. CIA, No. 91-1233, 1992 WL 233829, at **15-16 (D.D.C. Aug. 31, 1992) (holding that researcher who sought assistance of presidential advisor in obtaining CIA files he had requested is comparable to FOIA requester whose identity is not protected by Exemption 6); Martinez v. FBI, No. 82-1547, slip op. at 7 (D.D.C. Dec. 19, 1985) (denying protection for identities of news reporters seeking information concerning criminal investigation) (Exemption 7(C)).

    62. See FOIA Update, Vol. VI, No. 1, at 6.

    63. 5 U.S.C. § 552a (2000).

    64. See FOIA Update, Vol. VI, No. 1, at 6.

    65. See, e.g., Lakin Law Firm, 352 F.3d at 1125 (finding that the "core purposes" of the FOIA would not be served by the release of the names and addresses of persons who complained to the FTC about "cramming"); Strout v. United States Parole Comm'n, 40 F.3d 136, 139 (6th Cir. 1994) (articulating public policy against disclosure of names and addresses of people who write Parole Commission opposing convict's parole); Save Our Springs Alliance v. Babbitt, No. A-97-CA-259, slip op. at 7-8 (W.D. Tex. Nov. 19, 1997) (concluding that release of home addresses and telephone numbers of government correspondents would not shed light on whether agency improperly considered writers' comments); Voinche v. FBI, 940 F. Supp. 323, 329-30 (D.D.C. 1996) ("There is no reason to believe that the public will obtain a better understanding of the workings of various agencies by learning the identities of . . . private citizens who wrote to government officials . . . ."), aff'd per curiam, No. 96-5304, 1997 WL 411685 (D.C. Cir. June 19, 1997); Wilson v. Dep't of Justice, No. 87-2415, 1991 WL 111457, at *6 (D.D.C. June 14, 1991) (protecting identity of individual who wrote to Senator about matter of public interest); Holy Spirit Ass'n v. United States Dep't of State, 526 F. Supp. 1022, 1032-34 (S.D.N.Y. 1981) (finding that "strong public interest in encouraging citizens to communicate their concerns regarding their communities" is fostered by protecting identities of writers); see also Holy Spirit Ass'n v. FBI, 683 F.2d 562, 564 (D.C. Cir. 1982) (concurring with the nondisclosure of correspondence because communications from citizens to their government "will frequently contain information of an intensely personal sort") (MacKinnon, J., concurring) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); cf. Ortiz v. HHS, 874 F. Supp. 570, 573-75 (S.D.N.Y.) (protecting letter to HHS alleging social security fraud) (Exemptions 7(C) and 7(D)), aff'd on Exemption 7(D) grounds, 70 F.3d 729 (2d Cir. 1995). But see Memorandum for the President's Management Council 1 (Mar. 1, 2004) (providing guidance for federal agencies in implementing "E-Government initiative," and attaching NARA template for "Addresses" section of new regulatory preambles that includes new policy that "[a]ll comments received will be posted without change . . . including any personal information provided"), available at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg/memo_pmc_egov.pdf.

    66. Judicial Watch, Inc. v. United States, 84 Fed. Appx. 335, 337 (4th Cir. 2004), petition for cert. filed, 72 U.S.L.W. 3644 (U.S. Apr. 5, 2004) (No. 03-1389) (Exemption 7(C)).

    67. Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Rossotti, 285 F. Supp. 2d 17, 28 (D.D.C. 2003) (Exemption 7(C)).

    68. See Landmark Legal Found. v. IRS, 87 F. Supp. 2d 21, 27-28 (D.D.C. 2000) (granting Exemption 3 protection under 26 U.S.C. § 6103, but declining to grant Exemption 6 protection to citizens who wrote to IRS to express opinions or provide information; noting that "IRS has suggested no reason why existing laws are insufficient to deter any criminal or tortious conduct targeted at persons who would be identified"), aff'd on Exemption 3 grounds, 267 F.3d 1132 (D.C. Cir. 2001); Judicial Watch v. United States Dep't of Justice, 102 F. Supp. 2d 6, 17-18 (D.D.C. 2000) (allowing deletion of home addresses and telephone numbers but ordering release of identities of individuals who wrote to Attorney General about campaign finance or Independent Counsel issues), reconsideration denied temporarily pending in camera review, No. 97-CV-2869 (D.D.C. Aug. 17, 2000); Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Dep't of the Interior, 53 F. Supp. 2d 32, 36-37 (D.D.C. 1999) (concluding that the agency "made it abundantly clear in its notice that the individuals submitting comments to its rulemaking would not have their identities concealed" when the rulemaking notice "specified that '[t]he complete file for this proposed rule is available for inspection'"); Cardona v. INS, No. 93-3912, 1995 WL 68747, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 15, 1995) (finding only "de minimis invasion of privacy" in release of name and address of individual who wrote letter to INS complaining about private agency that offered assistance to immigrants).

    69. See, e.g., Sims v. CIA, 642 F.2d 562, 572 n.47 (D.C. Cir. 1980); Nat'l Parks & Conservation Ass'n v. Kleppe, 547 F.2d 673, 685 n.44 (D.C. Cir. 1976); Ivanhoe Citrus Ass'n v. Handley, 612 F. Supp. 1560, 1567 (D.D.C. 1985); see also Iowa Citizens for Cmty. Improvement v. USDA, No. 4-02-CV-10114, 2002 WL 32078275, at *5 n.10 (S.D. Iowa Aug. 13, 2002) (noting in dicta that "[i]t is not clear to this Court that a trust, any more than a corporation, has a privacy interest worthy of protection under the FOIA").

    70. Providence Journal Co. v. FBI, 460 F. Supp. 778, 785 (D.R.I. 1978), rev'd on other grounds, 602 F.2d 1010 (1st Cir. 1979); see also Beard v. Espy, No. 94-16748, 1995 WL 792071, at *1 (9th Cir. Dec. 11, 1995); Nat'l Parks, 547 F.2d at 685-86; Okla. Publ'g Co. v. HUD, No. CIV-87-1935-P, 1988 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18643, at **4-5 (W.D. Okla. June 17, 1988); FOIA Update, Vol. III, No. 4, at 5.

    71. See, e.g., Or. Natural Desert Ass'n v. United States Dep't of the Interior, 24 F. Supp. 2d 1088, 1089 (D. Or. 1998) (concluding that cattle owners who violated federal grazing laws have "diminished expectation of privacy" in their names when such information relates to commercial interests); Wash. Post Co. v. USDA, 943 F. Supp. 31, 34-36 (D.D.C. Oct. 18, 1996) (finding that farmers who received subsidies under cotton price support program have only minimal privacy interests in home addresses from which they also operate businesses), appeal dismissed voluntarily, No. 96-5373 (D.C. Cir. May 19, 1997); Ackerson & Bishop Chartered v. USDA, No. 92-1068, slip op. at 1 (D.D.C. July 15, 1992) (concluding that commercial mushroom growers operating under individual names have no expectation of privacy); Lawyers Comm. for Human Rights v. INS, 721 F. Supp. 552, 569 (S.D.N.Y. 1989) (stating that "disclosure [of names of State Department's officers and staff members involved in highly publicized case] merely establishes State [Department] employees' professional relationships or associates these employees with agency business"). But see Campaign for Family Farms v. Glickman, 200 F.3d 1180, 1187-89 (8th Cir. 2000) (protecting identities of pork producers who signed petition calling for abolishment of mandatory contributions to fund for marketing and advertising pork, because release would reveal position on referendum and "would vitiate petitioners' privacy interest in secret ballot") (reverse FOIA suit); Forest Guardians v. United States Forest Serv., No. 99-0615, slip op. at 39-45 (D.N.M. Jan. 29, 2001) (finding "'substantial' privacy interest" in personal loan information contained on escrow waiver forms that record ranchers' use of federal grazing permits as loan collateral) (reverse FOIA suit), appeal dismissed voluntarily, No. 01-2296 (10th Cir. Nov. 21, 2001); Hill v. USDA, 77 F. Supp. 2d 6, 8 (D.D.C. 1999) (finding privacy interest in records of business transactions between borrowers and partly owned family corporation relating to loans made by Farmers Home Administration to individual borrowers), summary affirmance granted, No. 99-5365, 2000 WL 520724, at *1 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 7, 2000).

    72. 230 F. Supp. 2d 739, 748-51 (W.D. Tex. 2002) (appeal pending).

    73. 124 S. Ct. at 1579; see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (highlighting full implications of Supreme Court's decision).

    74. 124 S. Ct. at 1574.

    75. Id. at 1574-76; see FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Decides to Hear 'Survivor Privacy' Case" (posted 5/13/03; supplemented 10/10/03) (chronicling case's history).

    76. 124 S. Ct. at 1576.

    77. Id.

    78. Id. at 1576-77.

    79. Id. at 1578.

    80. Id.

    81. Id. at 1579 (citing Attorney General's Memorandum on the Public Information Section of the Administrative Procedure Act (FOIA) 36 (June 1967) and Attorney General's Memorandum on the 1974 Amendments to the Freedom of Information Act 9-10 (Feb. 1975)); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (noting that Supreme Court "dr[ew] additional support from two successive Attorney General memoranda on FOIA that specifically extended privacy protection to 'family members'").

    82. See, e.g., Hale v. United States Dep't of Justice, 973 F.2d 894, 902 (10th Cir. 1992) (perceiving "no public interest in photographs of the deceased victim, let alone one that would outweigh the personal privacy interests of the victim's family") (Exemption 7(C)), cert. granted, vacated & remanded on other grounds, 509 U.S. 918 (1993); Bowen v. FDA, 925 F.2d 1225, 1228 (9th Cir. 1991) (affirming nondisclosure of autopsy reports of individuals killed by cyanide-contaminated products); Badhwar v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, 829 F.2d 182, 186 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (noting that some autopsy reports might "shock the sensibilities of surviving kin"); Marzen v. HHS, 825 F.2d 1148, 1154 (7th Cir. 1987) (holding deceased infant's medical records exempt because their release "would almost certainly cause . . . parents more anguish"); Isley v. Executive Office for United States Attorneys, No. 96-0123, slip op. at 3-4 (D.D.C. Feb. 25, 1998) (approving the withholding of "medical records, autopsy reports and inmate injury reports pertaining to a murder victim as a way of protecting surviving family members"), aff'd on other grounds, 203 F.3d 52 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (unpublished table decision); Katz v. NARA, 862 F. Supp. 476, 483-86 (D.D.C. 1994) (holding that Kennedy family's privacy interests would be invaded by disclosure of "graphic and explicit" JFK autopsy photographs), aff'd on other grounds, 68 F.3d 1438 (D.C. Cir. 1995); N.Y. Times Co. v. NASA, 782 F. Supp. 628, 631-32 (D.D.C. 1991) (withholding audiotape of voices of Space Shuttle Challenger astronauts recorded immediately before their deaths, to protect family members from pain of hearing final words of loved ones). But see Outlaw v. United States Dep't of the Army, 815 F. Supp. 505, 506 (D.D.C. 1993) (ordering disclosure in absence of evidence of existence of any survivor whose privacy would be invaded by release of murder-scene photographs of man murdered twenty-five years earlier); Journal-Gazette Co. v. United States Dep't of the Army, No. F89-147, slip op. at 8-9 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 8, 1990) (holding that because autopsy report of Air National Guard pilot killed in training exercise contained "concise medical descriptions of the cause of death," not "graphic, morbid descriptions," survivors' minimal privacy interest was outweighed by public interest); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (cautioning that "agencies applying this important principle must be mindful that it logically requires reasonable certainty that a survivor actually exists to merit such protection"); cf. Kyle v. United States, No. 80-1038E, 1987 WL 13874, at **1-2 (W.D.N.Y. July 16, 1987) (ordering disclosure of medical records of all servicemen involved in accident alike, including two who died and one who was still alive); Rabbitt v. Dep't of the Air Force, 401 F. Supp. 1206, 1210 (S.D.N.Y. 1974) (ordering disclosure of medical records of two Air Force personnel involved in accident alike, including one who died and one who was still alive).

    83. 124 S. Ct. at 1580 (quoting N.Y. Times Co., 782 F. Supp. at 631-32); see also Cowles Publ'g Co. v. United States, No. 90-349, slip op. at 6-7 (E.D. Wash. Dec. 20, 1990) (withholding identities of individuals who became ill or died from radiation exposure, in order to protect living victims and family members of deceased persons from intrusive contacts and inquiries); FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (discussing protection of records of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination investigation); FOIA Update, Vol. III, No. 4, at 5 (advising more than two decades ago that while privacy rights cannot be inherited, sensitive personal information pertaining to deceased persons may threaten privacy interests of surviving family members).

    84. 124 S. Ct. at 1577; see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (advising that "the Court's 'survivor privacy' analysis in Favish eschewed" any such decedent-based approach).

    85. 124 S. Ct. at 1577.

    86. Id.

    87. See, e.g., Na Iwi O Na Kupuna v. Dalton, 894 F. Supp. 1397, 1413 (D. Haw. 1995) (reverse FOIA suit); Tigar & Buffone v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 80-2382, slip op. at 9-10 (D.D.C. Sept. 30, 1983) (Exemption 7(C)); Diamond v. FBI, 532 F. Supp. 216, 227 (S.D.N.Y. 1981), aff'd on other grounds, 707 F.2d 75 (2d Cir. 1983); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04); FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Decides to Hear 'Survivor Privacy' Case" (posted 5/13/03; supplemented 10/10/03); FOIA Update, Vol. III, No. 4, at 5 (advising that "[a]fter death, a person no longer possesses privacy rights . . . [and that] privacy rights cannot be inherited by one heirs[, though] the disclosure of particularly sensitive personal information pertaining to a deceased person may well threaten the privacy interests of surviving family members or other close associates"); cf. United States v. Schlette, 842 F.2d 1574, 1581 (9th Cir.) (ordering disclosure of presentence report of deceased person pursuant to Rule 32(c) of Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure), amended, 854 F.2d 359 (9th Cir. 1988). But see Kiraly v. FBI, 728 F.2d 273, 277-78 (6th Cir. 1984) (adopting the district court's rationale, "which held: '. . . that the right to recovery for invasion of privacy lapses upon the person's death does not mean that the government must disclose inherently private information as soon as the individual dies'") (Exemption 7(C)).

    88. FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Decides to Hear 'Survivor Privacy' Case" (posted 5/13/03; supplemented 10/10/03) (discussing line of D.C. Circuit cases that suggested protecting post-mortem "reputational" interests).

    89. See 124 S. Ct. at 1577 (distinguishing "survivor privacy" basis from any "reputation[al]" basis for privacy protection); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (advising that "the proper application of [the 'survivor privacy'] principle involves protection of the interests of a decedent's survivors themselves").

    90. Fund for Constitutional Gov't v. Nat'l Archives & Records Serv., 656 F.2d 856, 865 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (emphasis added) (Exemption 7(C)); see Times Picayune, 37 F. Supp. 2d at 478-79 (noting that prominence of person "may well exacerbate the privacy intrusions") (Exemption 7(C)); cf. Wichlacz v. United States Dep't of Interior, 938 F. Supp. 325, 333-34 (E.D. Va. 1996) (recognizing that intense media scrutiny of death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster enhances privacy interests of individuals connected even remotely with investigation), aff'd, 114 F.3d 1178 (4th Cir. 1997) (unpublished table decision).

    91. Fund, 656 F.2d at 866; see also Nation Magazine v. Dep't of State, No. 92-2303, slip op. at 20-24 & n.15 (D.D.C. Aug. 18, 1995) (holding that public interest in information about presidential candidate H. Ross Perot's dealings with government or whether he ever was investigated by FBI is not kind of public interest recognized by FOIA); Wilson, 1991 WL 111457, at *6 (stating that even well-known Iran-Contra figure Richard Secord had privacy interest in fact that he was investigated; such investigation would reveal "little about 'what government is up to'"); cf. In re Espy, 259 F.3d 725, 729-30 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (granting motion, pursuant to Independent Counsel Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 594(h) (2000), to release final report concerning former Secretary of Agriculture). But see Wilson v. Dep't of Justice, No. 87-2415, 1991 WL 120052, at *4 (D.D.C. June 18, 1991) (ordering further declarations to determine whether any of the individuals investigated "are 'public figures' like the plaintiff whose involvement in Government operations would be of interest to the public").

    92. See Fund, 656 F.2d at 865; Billington v. Dep't of Justice, 11 F. Supp. 2d 45, 62 (D.D.C. 1998) (finding that although public officials in some circumstances have diminished privacy, residual privacy interests militate against disclosure of nonpublic details), aff'd in pertinent part, 233 F.3d 581 (D.C. Cir. 2000); cf. Strassman v. United States Dep't of Justice, 792 F.2d 1267, 1268 (4th Cir. 1986) (protecting privacy interest of governor alleged to have invoked Fifth Amendment before grand jury) (Exemption 7(C)); McNamera v. United States Dep't of Justice, 974 F. Supp. 946, 959 (W.D. Tex. Aug. 12, 1997) (stating that "[s]imply because an individual was once a public official does not mean that he retains that status throughout his life," and holding that three years after a disgraced sheriff resigned he was "a private, not a public figure") (Exemption 7(C)); Steinberg v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 93-2409, slip op. at 11 (D.D.C. July 14, 1997) ("[E]ven widespread knowledge about a person's business cannot serve to diminish his or her privacy interests in matters that are truly personal.") (Exemption 7(C)); see also FOIA Update, Vol. III, No. 4, at 5.

    93. 124 S. Ct. at 1580; see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (advising that the "fact that [Mr. Foster's] status did not at all 'detract' from those [privacy] interests in the Court's estimation means that they stood entirely undiminished despite it" and that "[i]n the future, other potential beneficiaries of the FOIA's privacy exemptions should be no less entitled to such treatment and commensurate privacy protection").

    94. See Nation Magazine, 71 F.3d at 894 & n.9 ("Although candidacy for federal office may diminish an individual's right to privacy . . . it does not eliminate it . . . ."); Hunt v. United States Marine Corps, 935 F. Supp. 46, 54 (D.D.C. 1996) (finding that senatorial candidate Oliver North has unquestionable privacy interest in his military service personnel records and medical records); Nation Magazine, No. 92-2303, slip op. at 20-23 (D.D.C. Aug. 18, 1995) (upholding refusal to confirm or deny existence of investigative records pertaining to presidential candidate H. Ross Perot); cf. Iowa Citizens for Cmty. Improvement, 256 F. Supp. at 954 (ruling that nominee for position of Undersecretary of Agriculture for Rural Development does not forfeit all privacy rights).

    95. See Shaw v. United States Dep't of State, 559 F. Supp. 1053, 1067 (D.D.C. 1983); see also United States Dep't of State v. Ray, 502 U.S. 164 (1991) (applying traditional analysis of privacy interests under FOIA to Haitian nationals); Ctr. for Nat'l Sec. Studies v. United States Dep't of Justice, 215 F. Supp. 2d 94, 105-06 (D.D.C. 2002) (recognizing, without discussion, the privacy rights of post-9/11 detainees who were unlawfully in the United States) (Exemption 7(C)), aff'd on other grounds, 331 F.3d 918 (D.C. Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 124 S. Ct. 1041 (2004); Schiller v. INS, 205 F. Supp. 2d 648, 662 (W.D. Tex. 2002) (finding that "[a]liens [and] their families . . . have a strong privacy interest in nondisclosure of their names, addresses, and other information which could lead to revelation of their identities") (Exemption 7(C)); Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Reno, No. 00-0723, 2001 WL 1902811, at *8 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2001) (protecting asylum application filed on behalf of Cuban emigré Elian Gonzalez); Hemenway, 601 F. Supp. at 1005-07 (according Exemption 6 protection to citizenship information regarding news correspondents accredited to attend State Department press briefings); FOIA Update, Vol. VI, No. 3, at 5.

    96. See Hill, 77 F. Supp. 2d at 8; see also Lakin Law Firm, 352 F.3d at 1124-25 (explaining that a warning on Federal Trade Commission Web site that "information provided may be subject to release under the FOIA" cannot be construed as a waiver by consumers) (emphasis added).

    97. Hill, 77 F. Supp. 2d at 8 (rejecting argument that borrowers of Farmers Home Administration loans waived their privacy interests by signing loan-application documents that warned that information supplied could be subject to release to third parties).

    98. See Campaign for Family Farms, 200 F.3d at 1188.

    99. Id.

    100. Sherman v. United States Dep't of the Army, 244 F.3d 357, 363-64 (5th Cir. 2001) (protecting social security numbers of soldiers even though Army publicly disclosed SSNs in some circumstances, because individuals rather than government hold privacy interest in that information); see also Reporters Comm., 489 U.S. at 763-65 (emphasizing that privacy interest belongs to individual, not agency holding information pertaining to individual).

    101. Id.; accord Attorney General's Memorandum for Heads of All Federal Departments and Agencies Regarding the Freedom of Information Act (Oct. 12, 2001), reprinted in FOIA Post (posted 10/15/01) (emphasizing importance of "preserving personal privacy" under FOIA); FOIA Post, "New Attorney General FOIA Memorandum Issued" (posted 10/15/01) (noting that the Ashcroft FOIA Memorandum "places particular emphasis on the right to privacy among the other interests that are protected by the FOIA's exemptions").

    102. See Isley, 1999 WL 1021934, at *4; Kiraly, 728 F.2d at 279; Brown v. FBI, 658 F.2d 71, 75 (2d Cir. 1981); Coleman v. FBI, 13 F. Supp. 2d 75, 80 (D.D.C. 1998); cf. Irons v. FBI, 880 F.2d 1446, 1454 (1st Cir. 1989) (en banc) (holding that disclosure of any source information beyond that actually testified to by confidential source is not required) (Exemption 7(D)).

    103. See Times Picayune, 37 F. Supp. 2d at 477-78 (refusing to order release of a mug shot, which with its "unflattering facial expressions" and "stigmatizing effect [that] can last well beyond the actual criminal proceedings . . . preserves, in its unique and visually powerful way, the subject individual's brush with the law for posterity"); see also McNamera, 974 F. Supp. at 959 (holding that convict's privacy rights are diminished only with respect to information made public during criminal proceedings against him) (Exemption 7(C)).

    104. See McCutchen v. HHS, 30 F.3d 183, 189 (D.C. Cir. 1994) ("The complainants [alleging scientific misconduct] have a strong privacy interest in remaining anonymous because, as 'whistle-blowers,' they might face retaliation if their identities were revealed.") (Exemption 7(C)); Holy Spirit, 683 F.2d at 564-65 (concurring opinion) (recognizing that writers of letters to authorities describing "'bizarre' and possibly illegal activities . . . could reasonably have feared reprisals against themselves or their family members") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Billington v. United States Dep't of Justice, 301 F. Supp. 2d 15, 19-21 (D.D.C. 2004) (protecting identity of reporter who furnished interview notes to State Department, partly based upon existence of "substantial" fear of reprisal by Lyndon LaRouche followers); McQueen v. United States, 264 F. Supp. 2d 502, 519-20 (S.D. Tex. 2003) (protecting names and identifying information of grand jury witnesses and other sources when suspect had made previous threats against witnesses) (Exemption 7(C)) (appeal pending); Givner v. Executive Office for United States Attorneys, No. 99-3454, slip op. at 12-13 (D.D.C. Mar. 1, 2001) (finding withholding of juror and witness information "particularly appropriate" when "codefendents are either still fugitives or seeking a new trial"); Summers v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 87-3168, slip op. at 4-15 (D.D.C. Apr. 19, 2000) (protecting identities of individuals who provided information to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover concerning well-known people "because persons who make allegations against public figures are often subject to public scrutiny"); Ortiz, 874 F. Supp. at 573-75 (noting that probable close relationship between plaintiff and author of letter about her to HHS was likely to lead to retaliation); Cappabianca v. Comm'r, United States Customs Serv., 847 F. Supp. 1558, 1564-65 (M.D. Fla. 1994) (finding that the "opportunity for harassment or embarrassment is very strong" in a case involving the investigation of "allegations of harassment and retaliation for cooperation in a prior investigation") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Manna v. United States Dep't of Justice, 815 F. Supp. 798, 809 (D.N.J. 1993) (concluding that because La Cosa Nostra "is so violent and retaliatory, the names of interviewees, informants, witnesses, victims and law enforcement personnel must be safeguarded") (Exemption 7(C)), aff'd, 51 F.3d 1158 (3d Cir. 1995).

    105. See, e.g., Perlman v. United States Dep't of Justice, 312 F.3d 100, 106 (2d Cir. 2002) (concluding that "[t]he public's interest in learning the identities of witnesses and other third parties is minimal because the information tells little or nothing about either the administration of the INS program or the Inspector General's conduct of its investigation") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)), vacated & remanded, 124 S. Ct. 1874 (2004); Ford v. West, No. 97-1342, 1998 WL 317561, at **1-2 (10th Cir. June 12, 1998) (finding thoughts, sentiments, and emotions of co-workers questioned in investigation of racial harassment claim to be within protections of Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Hayes v. United States Dep't of Labor, No. 96-1149, slip op. at 9-10 (S.D. Ala. June 18, 1998) (magistrate's recommendation) (protecting information that "would have divulged personal information or disclosed the identity of a confidential source" in an OSHA investigation) (Exemption 7(C)), adopted, (S.D. Ala. Aug. 10, 1998); Tenaska Wash. Partners v. United States Dep't of Energy, No. 8:96-128, slip op. at 6-8 (D. Neb. Feb. 19, 1997) (protecting information that would "readily identify" individuals who provided information during routine IG audit); McLeod v. Peña, No. 94-1924, slip op. at 4 (D.D.C. Feb. 9, 1996) (protecting in their entireties memoranda and witness statements concerning investigation of plaintiff's former commanding officer when unit consisted of eight officers and twenty enlisted personnel) (Exemption 7(C)), summary affirmance granted sub nom. McLeod v. United States Coast Guard, No. 96-5071, 1997 WL 150096 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 10, 1997). But see Cooper Cameron Corp. v. United States Dep't of Labor, 280 F.3d 539, 553-54 (5th Cir. 2002) (ordering disclosure of information that could link witnesses to their OSHA investigation statements, because agency presented no evidence of "possibility of employer retaliation") (Exemption 7(C)); Horowitz v. Peace Corps, No. 00-0848, slip op. at 12-13 (D.D.C. Oct. 12, 2001) (finding "nothing more than an implicit, yet minimal, privacy interest" in identity of complainant against Peace Corps volunteer, particularly "where the underlying accusations that involve private and sensitive matters were made against the plaintiff, as opposed to the third-party complainant"), subsequent decision, No. 00-0848 (D.D.C. Jan. 6, 2004) (appeal pending); Fine v. United States Dep't of Energy, 823 F. Supp. 888, 896 (D.N.M. 1993) (ordering disclosure based partly upon the fact that the plaintiff no longer was employed by the agency and was "not in a position on-the-job to harass or intimidate employees of DOE/OIG and/or its contractors").

    106. See FOIA Update, Vol. V, No. 1, at 5; see also, e.g., Johnson v. Executive Office for United States Attorneys, 310 F.3d 771, 775-76 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (finding that agency's efforts to determine if individuals were alive or dead met "basic steps" necessary to determine information that could affect privacy interests, and concluding that "[w]e will not attempt to establish a brightline set of steps for agency to take" in determining whether an individual is dead); Manna v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 92-1840, slip op. at 8 (D.N.J. Aug. 27, 1993) (finding government's obligation fulfilled by search of computerized index system and index cards for evidence of death of witness relocated more than twenty years ago), aff'd, 51 F.3d 1158 (3d Cir. 1995); Williams v. United States Dep't of Justice, 556 F. Supp. 63, 66 (D.D.C. 1982) (finding agency's good-faith processing, rather than extensive research for public disclosures, sufficient in lengthy, multifaceted judicial proceedings); cf. McGehee v. Casey, 718 F.2d 1137, 1141 n.9 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (recognizing that CIA cannot reasonably bear burden of conducting exhaustive search to prove that particular items of classified information have never been published) (non-FOIA case).

    107. Schrecker v. United States Dep't of Justice, 349 F.3d 657, 662-65 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (holding decisively at long last that the FBI's administrative process of using its "100-year rule," searching the Social Security Death Index if an individual's birthdate is in records, and using its institutional knowledge is reasonable and entirely sufficient in determining whether individuals mentioned in requested records are deceased).

    108. 489 U.S. at 780; see also Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1581 (discussing the need for "stability with respect to both the specific category of privacy interests . . . and . . . public interests," because "[o]therwise, courts will be left to balance in an ad hoc manner"); accord Halloran v. VA, 874 F.2d 315, 322 (5th Cir. 1989); see also FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 4.

    109. See Davin v. United States Dep't of Justice, 60 F.3d 1043, 1059 (3d Cir. 1995) ("[A]fter a sufficient passage of time . . . it would be unreasonable . . . not to assume that many of the individuals named in the requested records have died."); Diamond, 707 F.2d at 77 (requiring agency to review 200,000 pages outside scope of request to search for evidence as to whether subjects' privacy had been waived through death or prior public disclosure) (Exemption 7(C)); Outlaw, 815 F. Supp. at 506 (declining to withhold photographs of a victim murdered twenty-five years ago to protect the privacy of relatives when "[d]efendant's concern for the privacy of the decedent's surviving relatives has not extended to an effort to locate them . . . [and] there is no showing by defendant that, as of now, there are any surviving relatives of the deceased, or if there are, that they would be offended by the disclosure"); Wilkinson v. FBI, No. 80-1048, slip op. at 12-13 (C.D. Cal. June 17, 1987) (holding Exemption 7(C) inapplicable to documents more than thirty years old because the government relied on a presumption that "all persons [who are] the subject of FOIA requests are . . . living"); cf. Summers v. Dep't of Justice, 140 F.3d 1077, 1085 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (Williams, J., concurring) (suggesting that "taking death into account only if the fact has happened to swim into their line of vision" might not be adequate if the FBI has access to "data bases that could resolve the issue") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Rosenfeld v. United States Dep't of Justice, 57 F.3d 803, 813 (9th Cir. 1995) (ordering disclosure of information based upon belief that it was not likely that anyone could be identified twenty-five years later) (Exemption 7(C)). But see Assassination Archives & Research Ctr. v. CIA, 903 F. Supp. 131, 133 (D.D.C. 1995) (protecting the identities of third parties in thirty-to-forty-year-old records based upon its finding "that the passage of time may actually increase privacy interests") (Exemption 7(C)).

    110. See, e.g., Nat'l Org. for Women v. Soc. Sec. Admin., 736 F.2d 727, 728 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (per curiam) (affirming district court's decision to enjoin release of affirmative action plans submitted to SSA) (Exemptions 4 and 6); Sonderegger v. United States Dep't of the Interior, 424 F. Supp. 847, 853-56 (D. Idaho 1976) (ordering temporary injunction of release of claimant names and amount claimed for victims of Teton Dam disaster, while allowing release of amount paid and category of payment with all personal identifying information deleted) (Exemptions 4 and 6).

    111. Campaign for Family Farms, 200 F.3d at 1182-84.

    112. 5 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 701-06 (2000) ("A person suffering legal wrong because of agency action, or adversely affected or aggrieved by agency action . . . is entitled to judicial review thereof."); see Chrysler v. Brown, 441 U.S. 281, 318 (1979) (deciding that judicial review based on administrative record according to "arbitrary, capricious, or not in accordance with law" standard applies to "reverse" FOIA cases).

    113. Campaign for Family Farms, 200 F.3d at 1184-89; see also Doe v. Veneman, 230 F. Supp. 2d at 749-51 (enjoining USDA from releasing ranch names and home addresses of ranchers, but mistakenly including within injunction releases through future FOIA requests and through non-FOIA matters); AFL-CIO v. Fed. Election Comm'n, 177 F. Supp. 2d 48, 61-63 (D.D.C. 2001) (finding, despite questionable standing of requester organization, agency's refusal to invoke Exemption 7(C) to withhold identities of individuals in its investigative files to be "arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law"), aff'd on other grounds, 333 F.3d 168 (D.C. Cir. 2003); Forest Guardians, No. 99-0615, slip op. at 39-45 (D.N.M. Jan. 29, 2001) (setting aside agency's decision to disclose personal financial information on escrow waiver forms that are used by banks to record use of federal grazing permits as loan collateral) (reverse FOIA suit).

    114. Na Iwi O Na Kupuna, 894 F. Supp. at 1402-04.

    115. Id. at 1412-13 (concluding that Exemption 6 was not intended to protect information pertaining to human remains, nor to protect information pertaining to large groups in which individuals are not identifiable).

    116. 3 C.F.R. 235 (1988), reprinted in 5 U.S.C. § 552 note (2000), and in FOIA Update, Vol. VIII, No. 2, at 2-3; see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (comparing the operation of the "submitter notice" provision to cases involving personal privacy, where the individuals whose privacy "interests are being protected under the FOIA rarely are aware of th[e FOIA] process, let alone involved in it").

    117. Blakey v. Dep't of Justice, 549 F. Supp. 362, 365 (D.D.C. 1982) (Exemption 7(C)), aff'd in part & vacated in part, 720 F.2d 215 (D.C. Cir. 1983); see Halpern v. FBI, No. 94-CV-365A, 2002 WL 31012157, at *10 (W.D.N.Y. Sept. 1, 2001) (magistrate's recommendation) (finding that there exists "no authority requiring the Government to contact [individuals mentioned in documents] for Exemption 6 to apply"), adopted (W.D.N.Y. Oct. 17, 2001); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (noting that no formal objection is necessary for agencies to invoke FOIA's privacy exemptions to protect individuals); cf. Hemenway, 601 F. Supp. at 1007 (placing burden on requester, not agency, to contact foreign correspondents for requested citizenship information after receiving list of correspondents with office telephone numbers and addresses, and noting that correspondents are "free to decline to respond"). But cf. War Babes v. Wilson, 770 F. Supp. 1, 4-5 (D.D.C. 1990) (allowing agency sixty days to meet burden of establishing privacy interest by obtaining affidavits from World War II servicemembers who object to release of their addresses to British citizens seeking to locate their natural fathers).

    118. See, e.g., Jefferson v. United States Dep't of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, No. 01-1418, slip op. at 4-5 (D.D.C. Nov. 14, 2003) (allowing Department of Justice attorney to intervene to protect her personal privacy interests, on basis that she was at odds with plaintiff over release of information about her and that there was a question of the Department's ability to adequately represent her interests given past and ongoing employment discrimination matters) (Exemption 7(C)); cf. Doe v. Glickman, 256 F.3d 371, 375-81 (5th Cir. 2001) (holding that requester could intervene in "reverse" FOIA suit brought by individuals, in order to seek to block release of personally identifying information that requester sought in related FOIA suit); Pub. Citizen Health Research Group v. United States Dep't of Labor, 591 F.2d 808, 809 (D.C. Cir. 1978) (same, in FOIA suit).

    119. See FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 7 ("FOIA Counselor: Exemption 6 and Exemption 7(C): Step-by-Step Decisionmaking").

    120. See Carter v. United States Dep't of Commerce, 830 F.2d 388, 391 nn.8 & 13 (D.C. Cir. 1987); see also NARA v. Favish, 124 S. Ct. 1570, 1582 (2004) (instructing that the balance does not even come "into play" when a requester has produced no evidence to "warrant a belief by a reasonable person that the alleged Government impropriety might have occurred") (Exemption 7(C)), reh'g denied, No. 02-409, 2004 WL 108633 (U.S. May 17, 2004).

    121. 489 U.S. 749, 773 (1989); see also O'Kane v. United States Customs Serv., 169 F.3d 1308, 1310 (11th Cir. 1999) (per curiam) (affirming that Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-231, 110 Stat. 3048, do not overrule Reporters Committee definition of "public interest"). But cf. Voinche v. FBI, 940 F. Supp. 323, 330 n.4 (D.D.C. 1996) (dictum) (speculating, based upon mere newspaper report of legislative action, that Electronic FOIA amendments would "effectively overrule" Reporters Committee), aff'd on other grounds per curiam, No. 96-5304, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 19089 (D.C. Cir. June 19, 1997).

    122. See Landano v. United States Dep't of Justice, 956 F.2d 422, 430 (3d Cir.) (There is "no FOIA-recognized public interest in discovering wrongdoing by a state agency.") (Exemption 7(C)), cert. denied on Exemption 7(C) question, 506 U.S. 868 (1992), & rev'd & remanded on other grounds, 508 U.S. 165 (1993); Garcia v. United States Dep't of Justice, 181 F. Supp. 2d 356, 374 (S.D.N.Y. 2002) (noting that the "discovery of wrongdoing at a state as opposed to a federal agency . . . is not a goal of FOIA") (Exemption 7(C)); see also FOIA Update, Vol. XII, No. 2, at 6 (advising that "government" should mean federal government); cf. Lissner v. United States Customs Serv., 241 F.3d 1220, 1223 & n.2 (9th Cir. 2001) (finding a public interest in the agency's treatment of city police officers arrested for smuggling steroids, but declining to "address the issue of whether opening up state and local governments to scrutiny also raises a cognizable public interest under the FOIA") (Exemption 7(C)); Dollinger v. USPS, No. 95-CV-6174T, slip op. at 3-4 (W.D.N.Y. Aug. 24, 1995) (finding "that the term 'government' as used in § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) [i.e., the fee waiver provision] of the statute refers to the federal government").

    123. 489 U.S. at 775; see Bibles v. Or. Natural Desert Ass'n, 519 U.S. 355, 355-56 (1997); DOD v. FLRA, 510 U.S. 487, 497 (1994); see also, e.g., Iowa Citizens for Cmty. Improvement v. USDA, 256 F. Supp. 2d 946, 951 (S.D. Iowa 2002) (declaring that while a presidential nominee's "fitness for public office may be of great popular concern to the public," such concern "does not translate into a real public interest that is cognizable . . . [under] the FOIA"); Gallant v. NLRB, No. 92-873, slip op. at 8-10 (D.D.C. Nov. 6, 1992) (concluding that disclosure of names of individuals to whom NLRB Member sent letters in attempt to secure reappointment would not add to understanding of NLRB's performance of its duties), aff'd on other grounds, 26 F.3d 168 (D.C. Cir. 1994); Andrews v. United States Dep't of Justice, 769 F. Supp. 314, 316-17 (E.D. Mo. 1991) (finding that although release of an individual's address, telephone number, and place of employment might serve a general public interest in the satisfaction of monetary judgments, "it does not implicate a public interest cognizable under the FOIA"); see also FOIA Update, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, at 1; FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 4, 6; cf. FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Vacates and Remands in ATF Database Case" (posted 3/25/03) (discussing the Supreme Court's decision to vacate the Seventh Circuit opinion that erroneously found that "[t]he effectiveness of ATF's performance [of its statutory duties] impacts the City's interests" (citing City of Chicago v. United States Dep't of Treasury, 286 F.3d 628, 637 (7th Cir. 2002))).

    124. See, e.g., Dep't of the Air Force v. Rose, 425 U.S. 352, 372 (1976); Ripskis v. HUD, 746 F.2d 1, 3 (D.C. Cir. 1981); Fund for Constitutional Gov't v. Nat'l Archives & Records Serv., 656 F.2d 856, 862 (D.C. Cir. 1981).

    125. 124 S. Ct. at 1580; see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (noting that the Supreme Court "emphasized" the requirement of "significan[ce]").

    126. See, e.g., Multnomah County Med. Soc'y v. Scott, 825 F.2d 1410, 1413 (9th Cir. 1987) (commercial solicitation of Medicare recipients); Wine Hobby USA, Inc. v. IRS, 502 F.2d 133, 137 (3d Cir. 1974) (individuals licensed to produce wine at home requested by distributor of amateur wine-making equipment); see also Aronson v. HUD, 822 F.2d 182, 185-86 (1st Cir. 1987) (Plaintiff's "commercial motivations are irrelevant for determining the public interest served by disclosure; they do, however, suggest one of the ways in which private interests could be harmed by disclosure and a reason why individuals would wish to keep the information confidential.").

    127. See, e.g., Multnomah County Med. Soc'y, 825 F.2d at 1413; Van Bourg, Allen, Weinberg & Roger v. NLRB, 728 F.2d 1270, 1273 (9th Cir. 1984), vacated, 756 F.2d 692 (9th Cir.), reinstated, 762 F.2d 831 (9th Cir. 1985). But see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (noting a similar Ninth Circuit misinterpretation of Exemption 7(C) that had "left it alone among all circuit courts of appeals" until the Supreme Court repudiated its approach in Favish).

    128. 489 U.S. at 771; see also DOD v. FLRA, 510 U.S. at 496-501; FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 5-6.

    129. 489 U.S. at 771; see FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 5; see also, e.g., Frets v. Dep't of Transp., No. 88-404-W-9, 1989 WL 222608, at **5-6 (W.D. Mo. Dec. 14, 1989) (withholding names of third parties mentioned in plaintiffs' own statements).

    130. 489 U.S. at 772; see also Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1580 (reiterating the Reporters Committee principle that "citizens should not be required to explain why they seek the information" at issue, but further elucidating that in a case where the requester's purported public interest revolves around an allegation of government wrongdoing, "the usual rule that the citizen need not offer a reason for requesting the information must be inapplicable"); DOD v. FLRA, 510 U.S. at 496-501.

    131. 489 U.S. at 772.

    132. See id. at 771-72 & n.20; see also Schiffer v. FBI, 78 F.3d 1405, 1410-11 (9th Cir. 1996) (noting that individual interest in obtaining information about oneself does not constitute public interest); Schwarz v. United States Dep't of State, No. 97-1342, slip op. at 1-5 (D.D.C. Mar. 20, 1998) (protecting address of individual despite incorrigibly prolific FOIA plaintiff's claim that she sought imagined "missing" husband's address so that she might "testify on his behalf and win his release from prison"), aff'd per curiam, 172 F.3d 921 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (unpublished table decision).

    133. See FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 5-6; see also Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1581 ("It must be remembered that once there is a disclosure, the information belongs to the general public.").

    134. Curry v. DEA, No. 97-1359, slip op. at 5 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 1998) (citing Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963)); see Neely v. FBI, 208 F.3d 461, 464 (4th Cir. 2000) (stating that "courts have sensibly refused to recognize, for purposes of FOIA, a public interest in nothing more than the fairness of a criminal defendant's own trial"); Lora v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 00-3072, slip op. at 13 (D.D.C. Apr. 9, 2004) ("Plaintiff's interest in attacking his conviction does not constitute a public interest sufficient to overcome the privacy interests of [third parties]."); Martin v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 96-2866, slip op. at 10 (D.D.C. Dec. 15, 1999) (noting that "courts have consistently found Brady violations to be outside the scope of the FOIA"); Billington v. Dep't of Justice, 11 F. Supp. 2d 45, 63 (D.D.C. 1998) (noting that "requests for Brady material are 'outside the proper role of FOIA'" (quoting Johnson v. Dep't of Justice, 758 F. Supp. 2, 5 (D.D.C. 1991))), aff'd in pertinent part, 233 F.3d 581 (D.C. Cir. 2000); cf. Hale v. United States Dep't of Justice, 226 F.3d 1200, 1204 n.4 (10th Cir. 2000) (finding that plaintiff's Brady claim is irrelevant to Exemption 7(D) analysis).

    135. See Brown v. FBI, 658 F.2d 71, 75 (2d Cir. 1981) (private litigation); Cappabianca v. Comm'r, United States Customs Serv., 847 F. Supp. 1558, 1564 (M.D. Fla. 1994) (job-related causes of action); Harry v. Dep't of the Army, No. 92-1654, slip op. at 7-8 (D.D.C. Sept. 10, 1993) (to appeal negative officer efficiency report); NTEU v. United States Dep't of the Treasury, 3 Gov't Disclosure Serv. (P-H) ¶ 83,224, at 83,948 (D.D.C. June 17, 1983) (grievance proceeding); FOIA Update, Vol. III, No. 4, at 6 (advising that requests from requesters who have clear personal interest in disclosure should be subject to careful scrutiny).

    136. Gilbey v. Dep't of the Interior, No. 89-0801, 1990 WL 174889, at *2 (D.D.C. Oct. 22, 1990); see also Billington, 11 F. Supp. 2d at 64 (noting that proper forum for challenging alleged illegal warrantless search is in district court where case was prosecuted); Bongiorno v. Reno, No. 95-72143, 1996 WL 426451, at *4 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 19, 1996) (observing that the proper place for a noncustodial parent to seek information about his child is the "state court that has jurisdiction over the parties, not a FOIA request or the federal court system"); cf. Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1581 ("There is no mechanism under FOIA for a protective order allowing only the requester to see whether the information bears out his theory, or for proscribing its general dissemination."). But see Horowitz v. Peace Corps, No. 00-0848, slip op. at 11 (D.D.C. Jan. 6, 2004) (deciding that FOIA requester should not have to file new FOIA request in related civil case to obtain name previously withheld, because to do so would delay that case) (appeal pending).

    137. Multnomah County Med. Soc'y, 825 F.2d at 1415 (quoting NLRB v. Robbins Tire & Rubber Co., 437 U.S. 214, 242 (1978)); see also Arieff v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 712 F.2d 1462, 1468 (D.C. Cir. 1983); Wash. Post Co. v. HHS, 690 F.2d 252, 264 (D.C. Cir. 1982); Nat'l Ass'n of Atomic Veterans, Inc. v. Dir., Def. Nuclear Agency, 583 F. Supp. 1483, 1487 (D.D.C. 1984).

    138. See Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1581 (stressing that there should be a "necessary nexus between the requested information and the asserted public interest that would be advanced by disclosure"); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (discussing the importance of establishing an "actual connection" between the particular information at issue and the qualifying public interest articulated by the requester).

    139. See, e.g., Cochran v. United States, 770 F.2d 949, 956-57 (11th Cir. 1985) (nonjudicial punishment findings and discipline imposed on Army major general for misuse of government personnel and facilities) (Privacy Act "wrongful disclosure" suit); Stern v. FBI, 737 F.2d 84, 93-94 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (name of high-level FBI official censured for deliberate and knowing misrepresentation) (Exemption 7(C)); Columbia Packing Co. v. USDA, 563 F.2d 495, 499 (1st Cir. 1977) (information about federal employees found guilty of accepting bribes); Chang v. Dep't of the Navy, No. 00-0783, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7021, at **21-24 (D.D.C. Apr. 22, 2004) (information about Naval Commander's nonjudicial punishment for involvement in accident at sea) (Privacy Act "wrongful disclosure" suit); Wood v. FBI, No. 3:02cv2058, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5525, at **49-52 (D. Conn. Mar. 31, 2004) (identifying information linking FBI Supervisory Special Agent's name with specific findings and disciplinary action taken against him); Lurie v. Dep't of the Army, 970 F. Supp. 19, 39-40 (D.D.C. 1997) (information concerning "mid- to high-level" Army medical researcher whose apparent misrepresentation and misconduct contributed to appropriation of $20,000,000 for particular form of AIDS research), appeal dismissed voluntarily, No. 97-5248 (D.C. Cir. Oct. 22, 1997); Sullivan v. VA, 617 F. Supp. 258, 260-61 (D.D.C. 1985) (reprimand of senior official for misuse of government vehicle and failure to report accident) (Privacy Act "wrongful disclosure" suit/Exemption 7(C)); Cong. News Syndicate v. United States Dep't of Justice, 438 F. Supp. 538, 544 (D.D.C. 1977) (misconduct by White House staffers); cf. Perlman v. United States Dep't of Justice, 312 F.3d 100, 107-08 (2d Cir. 2002) (finding public interest, even though misconduct was not proven, because "a substantial amount of evidence shows [that former INS General Counsel] allowed former INS officials . . . to exercise improper influence" and "the degree of wrongdoing alleged is fairly serious") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)), vacated & remanded, 124 S. Ct. 1874 (2004); Ferri v. Bell, 645 F.2d 1213, 1218 (3d Cir. 1981) (finding attempt to expose alleged deal between prosecutor and witness to be in public interest) (Exemption 7(C)), vacated & reinstated in part on reh'g, 671 F.2d 769 (3d Cir. 1982).

    140. See, e.g., Rose, 425 U.S. at 381 (protecting names of cadets found to have violated Academy honor code); Hoyos v. United States, No. 98-4178, slip op. at 3 (11th Cir. Feb. 1, 1999) (finding "little public interest in access to [identities of individuals fired from the VA], especially when the reasons for removal -- the information that truly bears upon the agency's conduct, which is the focus of FOIA's concern -- were readily made available"); Beck v. Dep't of Justice, 997 F.2d 1489, 1493 (D.C. Cir. 1993) ("The identity of one or two individual relatively low-level government wrongdoers, released in isolation, does not provide information about the agency's own conduct.") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Stern, 737 F.2d at 94 (protecting names of mid-level employees censured for negligence); Chamberlain v. Kurtz, 589 F.2d 827, 842 (5th Cir. 1979) (protecting names of disciplined IRS agents); Chang, No. 00-0783, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7021, at *24 (protecting names and results of punishment of lower-level officers involved in collision of Navy vessel with another ship); Jefferson v. United States Dep't of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, No. 01-1418, slip op. at 11 (D.D.C. Nov. 14, 2003) ("A [nonsupervisory] Attorney-Advisor is not a government employee whose rank is so high that the public interest in disclosure of information pertaining to her performance of official government functions outweighs her personal privacy interest in protecting information about the details of a law enforcement investigation of her alleged misconduct.") (Exemption 7(C)); Gonzalez v. FBI, No. 99-5789, slip op. at 13-15 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 11, 2000) (declining to order agency to confirm or deny existence of records concerning any misconduct investigations against named federal employees) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)), aff'd, 14 Fed. Appx. 916 (9th Cir. 2001); Butler v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 86-2255, 1994 WL 55621, at *10 (D.D.C. Feb. 3, 1994) (protecting identity of FBI Special Agent who received "mild admonishment" for conduct that "was not particularly egregious"), appeal dismissed, No. 94-5078 (D.C. Cir. Sept. 8, 1994); Cotton v. Adams, 798 F. Supp. 22, 26-27 (D.D.C. 1992) (finding that release of IG reports on conduct of low-level Smithsonian Institution employees would not allow public to evaluate Smithsonian's performance of mission); Heller v. United States Marshals Serv., 655 F. Supp. 1088, 1091 (D.D.C. 1987) (protecting names of agency personnel found to have committed "only minor, if any, wrongdoing") (Exemption 7(C)).

    141. Beck, 997 F.2d at 1493-94; see Chin v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, No. 97-2176, slip op. at 3 (W.D. La. June 24, 1999) (finding a significant privacy interest in records that "document[] personal and intimate incidents of misconduct [that have] not previously been a part of the public domain"), aff'd per curiam, No. 99-31237 (5th Cir. June 15, 2000).

    142. See, e.g., McCutchen v. HHS, 30 F.3d 183, 187-89 (D.C. Cir. 1994) (protecting identities of scientists found not to have engaged in alleged scientific misconduct) (Exemption 7(C)); Hunt v. FBI, 972 F.2d 286, 288-90 (9th Cir. 1992) (protecting investigation of named FBI agent cleared of charges of misconduct) (Exemption 7(C)); Dunkelberger v. Dep't of Justice, 906 F.2d 779, 781-82 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (same) (Exemption 7(C)); Carter, 830 F.2d at 391 (protecting identities of attorneys subject to disciplinary proceedings that were later dismissed); Edmonds v. FBI, 272 F. Supp. 2d 35, 52 (D.D.C. 2003) (protecting identities of FBI clerical employees and FBI Special Agents because there was no reason to believe that their identities would shed light on alleged misconduct in FBI's language division) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)) (appeal pending); McQueen v. United States, 264 F. Supp. 2d 502, 533-34 (S.D. Tex. 2003) (deciding that public interest would not be served by "disclosure of information regarding unsubstantiated allegations" made against three government employees) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)) (appeal pending); Pontecorvo v. FBI, No. 00-1511, slip op. at 40 (D.D.C. Sept. 30, 2001) (declining to order disclosure of the identity of an FBI Special Agent under investigation by the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility when the investigation was instituted solely "because of Plaintiff's own written request, not the independent determination of the Bureau") (Exemption 7(C)). But see Dobronski v. FCC, 17 F.3d 275, 278-80 (9th Cir. 1994) (aberrationally ordering release of employee's sick leave slips despite fact that requester's allegations of abuse of leave time were wholly based upon unsubstantiated tips); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (advising that Dobronksi is now discredited, if not effectively overruled, by Favish decision's total repudiation of Ninth Circuit's disclosure rationales).

    143. 124 S. Ct. at 1577; see also Summers v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 98-1837, slip op. at 19 (D.D.C. Apr. 13, 2004) (citing Favish and finding no merit to plaintiff's allegation that the FBI did not thoroughly investigate a case, because "plaintiff has not provided any evidence that the FBI acted improperly") (Exemption 7(C)); FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (discussing insufficiency of "mere allegations").

    144. 124 S. Ct. at 1581; see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (discussing how privacy exemptions "could be swallowed whole" unless requesters alleging government wrongdoing are held to higher standards, because "[u]nfortunately, the government's decades of experience with FOIA administration teaches that there is no shortage of potential FOIA requesters who might be willing to make such allegations (even in what they would swear to be good faith, subjectively speaking) if that were all that it would take to gain disclosure").

    145. See United States Dep't of Justice v. Ray, 502 U.S. 164, 179 (1991) ("If a totally unsupported suggestion that the interest in finding out whether Government agents have been telling the truth justified disclosure of private materials, Government agencies would have no defenses against requests for production of private information."); see also Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1581 (emphasizing importance of "practical[ity]" in privacy-protection decisionmaking).

    146. See Kimberlin v. Dep't of Justice, 139 F.3d 944, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (concluding that Assistant United States Attorney "did not, merely by acknowledging the investigation and making a vague references to its conclusion, waive all his interest in keeping the contents of the OPR file confidential") (Exemption 7(C)); Mueller v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, 63 F. Supp. 2d 738, 743 (E.D. Va. 1999) (declaring that even given pre-existing publicity, "individuals have a strong interest in not being associated with alleged wrongful activity, particularly where, as here, the subject of the investigation is ultimately exonerated") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); see also Bast v. FBI, 665 F.2d 1251, 1255 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (explaining that publicity over an alleged transcript-alteration incident actually could exacerbate the harm to a privacy interest because "[t]he authoritative nature of such findings threatens much greater damage to an individual's reputation than newspaper articles or editorial columns" and "renewed publicity brings with it a renewed invasion of privacy"); Chin, No. 97-2176, slip op. at 5 (W.D. La. June 24, 1999) (finding that the fact "that some of the events are known to certain members of the public . . . is insufficient to place this record for dissemination into the public domain").

    147. See, e.g., Office of Capital Collateral Counsel, Northern Region of Fla. v. Dep't of Justice, 331 F.3d 799, 803-04 (11th Cir. 2003) (protecting AUSA's "private thoughts and feelings concerning her misconduct . . . and its effect on her, her family, and her career"); see also Kimberlin, 139 F.3d at 949 (finding that an AUSA "still has a privacy interest . . . in avoiding disclosure of the details of the investigation," despite the AUSA's acknowledgment that he was disciplined after the investigation); Halloran v. VA, 874 F.2d 315, 320-22 (5th Cir. 1989) (noting that employees of government contractor investigated by government for fraud did not lose privacy interests in comments transcribed in government investigatory files) (Exemption 7(C)); cf. LaRouche v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 90-2753, slip op. at 14 (D.D.C. Aug. 8, 2002) (observing that the FBI "need not make a wholesale disclosure about an individual just because he is a publicly acknowledged FBI source") (Exemption 7(C)).

    148. See FOIA Update, Vol. XV, No. 2, at 2 (discussing Deputy Attorney General Memorandum dated Dec. 13, 1993 that established policy); cf. Cobell v. Norton, 157 F. Supp. 2d 82, 88-92 (D.D.C. 2001) (requiring agency to file publicly, rather than under seal, its report concerning court-ordered investigation into attorney misconduct in course of instant litigation) (non-FOIA case).

    149. See Deputy Attorney General Memorandum at 1-2.

    150. See, e.g., Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers Local No. 5 v. HUD, 852 F.2d 87, 90 (3d Cir. 1988) (wage rates payable by federal contractors regulated by Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C.A §§ 3141-3144, 3146-3147 (West Supp. 2003)); USDA v. FLRA, 836 F.2d 1139, 1143 (8th Cir.) (names and addresses of federal employees under federal labor relations statute), cert. granted & remanded, 488 U.S. 1025 (1988), vacated, 876 F.2d 50 (8th Cir. 1989); Common Cause v. Nat'l Archives & Records Serv., 628 F.2d 179, 183-85 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (political campaign activities under Federal Corrupt Practices Act, 2 U.S.C. §§ 241-248, 252-256 (1970) (repealed 1972)) (Exemption 7(C)); Wash. Post, 690 F.2d at 265 (public disclosure of financial statements required by Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (currently codified at 5 U.S.C. app. 3 §§ 101-505 (2000 & Supp. I 2001))); see also Marzen v. HHS, 825 F.2d 1148, 1154 (7th Cir. 1987) (finding nondisclosure proper upon consideration of state statute mandating same).

    151. 879 F.2d 873 (D.C. Cir. 1989).

    152. 5 U.S.C. §§ 7101-7106, 7111-7123, 7131-7135 (2000 & Supp. I 2001).

    153. D.C. Circuit: FLRA v. United States Dep't of the Treasury, 884 F.2d 1446, 1453 (D.C. Cir. 1989); First Circuit: FLRA v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 941 F.2d 49, 56-57 (1st Cir. 1991); Second Circuit: FLRA v. VA, 958 F.2d 503, 511-12 (2d Cir. 1992); Sixth Circuit: FLRA v. Dep't of the Navy, 963 F.2d 124, 125 (6th Cir. 1992); Seventh Circuit: FLRA v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 975 F.2d 348, 354-55 (7th Cir. 1992); Tenth Circuit: FLRA v. DOD, 984 F.2d 370, 375 (10th Cir. 1993); Eleventh Circuit: FLRA v. DOD, 977 F.2d 545, 548 (11th Cir. 1992). See also Reed v. NLRB, 927 F.2d 1249, 1251 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (concluding that disclosure of "Excelsior" list (names and addresses of employees eligible to vote in union representation elections) would not reveal anything about NLRB's operations).

    154. Third Circuit: FLRA v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 966 F.2d 747, 758-59 (3d Cir. 1992) (en banc) (alternative holding); Fifth Circuit: FLRA v. DOD, 975 F.2d 1105, 1113-15 (5th Cir.), rev'd, 510 U.S. 487 (1994); Ninth Circuit: FLRA v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 958 F.2d 1490, 1497 (9th Cir. 1992), reh'g granted & opinion withdrawn, No. 90-70511 (Apr. 18, 1994); see also FLRA v. Dep't of Commerce, 954 F.2d 994, 997 (4th Cir. 1992), appeal dismissed per stipulation, No. 90-1852 (4th Cir. Apr. 6, 1995).

    155. FLRA v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 966 F.2d at 757-59; FLRA v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 958 F.2d at 1496-97.

    156. DOD v. FLRA, 510 U.S. 487 (1994).

    157. Id. at 496-97 & n.6.

    158. Id. at 499.

    159. Id. at 497 (quoting Reporters Comm., 489 U.S. at 773).

    160. 40 U.S.C.A §§ 3141-3144, 3146-3147.

    161. Hopkins v. HUD, 929 F.2d 81, 88 (2d Cir. 1991); see Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Ass'n, Local No. 19 v. VA, 135 F.3d 891, 903-05 (3d Cir. 1998); Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Ass'n, Local No. 9 v. United States Air Force, 63 F.3d 994, 997-98 (10th Cir. 1995); Painting & Drywall Work Pres. Fund, Inc. v. HUD, 936 F.2d 1300, 1303 (D.C. Cir. 1991).

    162. Painting & Drywall, 936 F.2d at 1303; see Sheet Metal Workers, 63 F.3d at 997-98; Hopkins, 929 F.2d at 88.

    163. Painting Indus. Mkt. Recovery Fund v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, 751 F. Supp. 1410, 1417 (D. Haw.), reconsideration denied, 756 F. Supp. 452 (D. Haw. 1990); Seattle Bldg. & Constr. Trades Council v. HUD, No. C89-1346C, slip op. at 10-11 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 30, 1990).

    164. Painting Indus. Mkt. Recovery Fund v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, 26 F.3d 1479, 1484-86 (9th Cir. 1994).

    165. Id. at 1485; see also Sheet Metal Workers, 63 F.3d at 997-98.

    166. Miller v. Bell, 661 F.2d 623, 630 (7th Cir. 1981); see also Accuracy in Media, Inc. v. Nat'l Park Serv., 194 F.3d 120, 124 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (discounting inconsistencies in multiple agency reports from complex crime scene as "hardly so shocking as to suggest illegality or deliberate government falsification") (Exemption 7(C)); Schiffer, 78 F.3d at 1410 (rejecting public interest argument absent evidence suggesting wrongdoing by FBI); Computer Prof'ls for Soc. Responsibility v. United States Secret Serv., 72 F.3d 897, 904-05 (D.C. Cir. 1996) ("[T]he public interest is insubstantial unless the requester puts forward compelling evidence that the agency denying the FOIA request is engaged in illegal activity and shows that the information sought is necessary in order to confirm or refute that evidence.") (Exemption 7(C)); LaRouche v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 90-2753, slip op. at 22-23 (D.D.C. Nov. 17, 2000) ("[W]hile the public interest in possible corruption is great, mere inferences of a violation carry little weight."); Wichlacz v. United States Dep't of Interior, 938 F. Supp. 325, 333 (E.D. Va. 1996) (observing that plaintiff "has set forth no evidence to buttress his bald allegations" of cover-up in investigation of death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster, a theory substantially undercut by then-ongoing Independent Counsel investigation), aff'd, 114 F.3d 1178 (4th Cir. 1997) (unpublished table decision); Allard v. HHS, No. 4:90-CV-156, slip op. at 10-11 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 14, 1992) (finding that "conclusory allegations" of plaintiff -- a prisoner with violent tendencies -- concerning ex-wife's misuse of children's social security benefits do not establish public interest), aff'd, 972 F.2d 346 (6th Cir. 1992) (unpublished table decision).

    167. See Halloran, 874 F.2d at 323; Rashid v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 99-2461, slip op. at 16-17 (D.D.C. June 12, 2001).

    168. 124 S. Ct. at 1581-82.

    169. Id. at 1582 (quoting Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S. 574, 585 (1998)); see also Ray, 502 U.S. at 178-79 (holding that there is presumption of legitimacy given to government conduct, and noting that privacy interests would be worthless if only bare allegations could overcome these interests).

    170. 124 S. Ct. at 1582.

    171. Id. at 1581.

    172. See FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (advising that Favish's "additional new standard for determining the existence and magnitude of a public interest in 'agency wrongdoing' cases does not replace the basic Reporters Committee standard for determining the existence of any 'public interest' generally"); see also FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 6-7.

    173. See, e.g., Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1580 (stressing the requirement that "the public interest sought to be advanced [be] a significant one"); see also FOIA Update, Vol. III, No. 4, at 6; accord Attorney General's Memorandum for Heads of All Federal Departments and Agencies Regarding the Freedom of Information Act (Oct. 12, 2001), reprinted in FOIA Post (posted 10/15/01) (placing particular emphasis on the right to privacy among the other interests that are protected by the FOIA's exemptions).

    174. 929 F.2d at 88 (citing Halloran, 874 F.2d at 323 (observing that "merely stating that the interest exists in the abstract is not enough; rather, the court should have analyzed how that interest would be served by compelling disclosure")); see also Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1581 (reminding agencies and courts alike of "the nexus required between the requested documents and the purported public interest served by disclosure"); FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (emphasizing that "Favish serves as a reminder of that requirement").

    175. Id.; see also Abraham & Rose, P.L.C. v. United States, 138 F.3d 1075, 1083 (6th Cir. 1998) (finding that information about individual taxpayers does not serve any possible public interest in "how the IRS exercises its power over the collection of taxes"); Idaho v. United States Forest Serv., No. 97-0230-S, slip op. at 6 (D. Idaho Dec. 9, 1997) (determining that while disclosure of names and cities of residence of Forest Service land permit holders will show whether permits are being granted properly, disclosure of home addresses will provide no "additional insight into agency activities"); Save Our Springs Alliance v. Babbitt, No. A-97-CA-259, slip op. at 7-8 (W.D. Tex. Nov. 19, 1997) (finding that "context of the letters" shows nature of correspondents who commented on issue before agency; release of home addresses and telephone numbers would add nothing to understanding of agency's process); Hecht v. United States Agency for Int'l Dev., No. 95-263, 1996 WL 33502232, at *12 (D. Del. Dec. 18, 1996) (determining that the public interest is served by release of redacted contractor's employee data sheets without the names, addresses' and other identifying information of the employees); Stabasefski v. United States, 919 F. Supp. 1570, 1575 (M.D. Ga. 1996) (finding that public interest is served by release of redacted vouchers showing amounts of Hurricane Andrew subsistence payment to FAA employees; disclosure of names of employees would shed no additional light on agency activities); Gannett Satellite Info. Network, Inc. v. United States Dep't of Educ., 1990 WL 251480, at *6 (D.D.C. Dec. 21, 1990) ("If in fact a student has defaulted, [his] name, address, and social security number would reveal nothing about the Department's attempts to collect on those defaulted loans. Nor would [they] reveal anything about the potential misuse of public funds."). But see Judicial Watch v. United States Dep't of Justice, 102 F. Supp. 2d 6, 17-18 (D.D.C. 2000) (allowing deletion of home addresses and telephone numbers, but ordering release of identities of individuals who wrote to Attorney General about campaign finance or Independent Counsel issues), reconsideration denied temporarily pending in camera review, No. 97-CV-2869 (D.D.C. Aug. 17, 2000); Or. Natural Desert Ass'n v. United States Dep't of the Interior, 24 F. Supp. 2d 1088, 1093 (D. Or. 1998) (finding that public interest in knowing how agency is enforcing land-management laws is served by release of names of cattle owners who violated federal grazing laws); Maples v. USDA, No. F 97-5663, slip op. at 14 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 1998) (finding that release of names and addresses of permit holders would show public how permit process works and eliminate "suspicions of favoritism in giving out permits" for use of federal lands).

    176. 737 F.2d 784, 787 (9th Cir. 1984); see Summers, No. 98-1837, slip op. at 13 (D.D.C. Apr. 13, 2004) (concluding that "plaintiff has not established that disclosing the redacted names [of the FBI employees] will provide any substantial additional information about the adequacy of the FBI's conduct"); Kelly v. CIA, No. 00-2498, slip op. at 49-50 (D.D.C. Sept. 25, 2002) (finding that although the "public interest in [the CIA's former] MKULTRA [program] is certainly very high," plaintiff had not demonstrated how disclosing the names of individual test subjects would shed light on the MKULTRA program or CIA activities), appeal on adequacy of search dismissed on procedural grounds, No. 02-5384, 2003 WL 21804101 (D.C. Cir. July 31, 2003); Times Picayune Publ'g Corp. v. United States Dep't of Justice, 37 F. Supp. 2d 472, at 480-81 (E.D. La. 1999) (concluding that release of mug shot would not inform members of public about "activities of their government") (Exemption 7(C)); Baltimore Sun Co. v. United States Customs Serv., No. 97-1991, slip op. at 7 (D. Md. Nov. 21, 1997) (finding that the photograph of an individual who pled guilty to trafficking in child pornography was not "sufficiently probative of the fairness of [his] sentence that its disclosure [would] inform[] the public of 'what the government is up to'") (Exemption 7(C)); N.Y. Times Co. v. NASA, 782 F. Supp. 628, 632-33 (D.D.C. 1991) (finding that release of the audiotape of the Challenger astronauts' voices just prior to the explosion would not serve the "undeniable interest in learning about NASA's conduct before, during and after the Challenger disaster"). But see Detroit Free Press, Inc. v. Dep't of Justice, 73 F.3d 93, 97-98 (6th Cir. 1996) (finding that the agency's disclosure of the mug shots of indicted individuals during the course of an ongoing criminal proceeding could reveal an "error in detaining the wrong person for an offense" or the "circumstances surrounding an arrest and initial incarceration"); Rosenfeld v. United States Dep't of Justice, 57 F.3d 803, 811-12 (9th Cir. 1995) (concluding that disclosure of the identities of individuals investigated would reveal whether the "FBI abused its law enforcement mandate by overzealously investigating a political protest movement to which some members of the government may then have objected") (Exemption 7(C)); Baltimore Sun v. United States Marshals Serv., 131 F. Supp. 2d 725, 729-30 (D. Md. 2001) (declaring that "[a]ccess to names and addresses [of purchasers of seized property] would enable the public to assess law enforcement agencies' exercise of the substantial power to seize property, as well as USMS's performance of its duties regarding disposal of forfeited property") (Exemption 7(C)), appeal dismissed voluntarily, No. 01-1537 (4th Cir. June 25, 2001).

    177. 732 F.2d 526, 530 (6th Cir. 1984); Painting Indus., 26 F.3d at 1484-85 (protecting names and addresses of employees on payroll records, and stating that the "additional public benefit the requesters might realize through [contacting the employees] is inextricably intertwined with the invasions of privacy that those contacts will work").

    178. See Oguaju v. United States, 288 F.3d 448, 451 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (declaring that "even if the records Oguaju seeks would reveal wrongdoing in his case, exposing a single, garden-variety act of misconduct would not serve the FOIA's purpose of showing 'what the Government is up to'") (Exemption 7(C)), vacated & remanded, 124 S. Ct. 1903 (2004); Neely v. FBI, 208 F.3d 461, 464 (4th Cir. 2000) (observing that "courts have refused to recognize, for purposes of FOIA, a public interest in nothing more than the fairness of a criminal defendant's own trial") (Exemption 7(C)); Hunt, 972 F.2d at 289 (observing that disclosure of single internal investigation file "will not shed any light on whether all such FBI investigations are comprehensive or whether sexual misconduct by agents is common"); Mueller, 63 F. Supp. 2d at 745 ("the interest of the public in the personnel file of one Air Force prosecutor is attenuated because information concerning a single isolated investigation reveals relatively little about the conduct of the Air Force as an agency") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Chin, No. 97-2176, slip op. at 5 (W.D. La. June 24, 1999) (finding only "marginal benefit to the public interest" in release of the facts of a single case, particularly "where alternative means exist -- such as statistical samples or generalized accounts -- to satisfy the public interest"). But see Cooper Cameron Corp. v. United States Dep't of Labor, 280 F.3d 539, 548-49 (5th Cir. 2002) (perceiving a "public interest in monitoring agencies' enforcement of the law in specific instances") (Exemption 7(C)); Horowitz v. Peace Corps, No. 00-0848, slip op. at 14-15 (D.D.C. Oct. 12, 2001) (aberrationally finding that the "minimal public interest" in disclosure of the identity of plaintiff's accuser, based upon the premise that it would permit "independent investigation of the defendant's treatment of the plaintiff," outweighs the accuser's "de minimis privacy interest") (appeal pending).

    179. 124 S. Ct. at 1581.

    180. 489 U.S. at 774; see also NARFE, 879 F.2d at 879 (finding that names and home addresses of federal annuitants reveal nothing directly about workings of government); Halloran, 874 F.2d at 323 ("[M]erely stating that the interest exists in the abstract is not enough; rather, the court should have analyzed how that interest would be served by compelling disclosure."); Kimberlin v. Dep't of the Treasury, 774 F.2d 204, 208 (7th Cir. 1985) ("The record fails to reflect any benefit which would accrue to the public from disclosure and [the requester's] self-serving assertions of government wrongdoing and coverup do not rise to the level of justifying disclosure.") (Exemption 7(C)); Johnson v. United States Dep't of Justice, 739 F.2d 1514, 1519 (10th Cir. 1984) (finding that because allegations of improper use of law enforcement authority were not at all supported in requested records, disclosure of FBI special agent names would not serve public interest) (Exemption 7(C)); Stern, 737 F.2d at 92 (finding that certain specified public interests "would not be satiated in any way" by disclosure) (Exemption 7(C)); Miller, 661 F.2d at 630 (noting that plaintiff's broad assertions of government cover-up were unfounded as investigation was of consequence to plaintiff only and therefore did not "warrant probe of FBI efficiency") (Exemption 7(C)); Nation Magazine v. Dep't of State, No. 92-2303, slip op. at 20-24 & n.15 (D.D.C. Aug. 18, 1995) ("[T]he public interest in knowing more about [presidential candidate H. Ross] Perot's dealings with the government is also not the type of public interest protected by the FOIA."). But see Nation Magazine v. United States Customs Serv., 71 F.3d 885, 895 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (finding that agency's response to presidential candidate H. Ross Perot's offer to assist in drug interdiction would serve public interest in agency's plans regarding "'privatization of government functions'").

    181. See Reporters Comm., 489 U.S. at 774, 766 n.18; see also Robbins v. HHS, No. 1:95-cv-3258, slip op. at 8-9 (N.D. Ga. Aug. 12, 1996) (ruling that the possibility that release of names and addresses of rejected social security disability claimants could ultimately reveal the agency's wrongful denial is "too attenuated to outweigh the significant invasion of privacy"), aff'd per curiam, No. 96-9000 (11th Cir. July 8, 1997); Gannett Satellite, No. 90-1392, slip op. at 12 (D.D.C. Dec. 21, 1990) (finding that names, addresses, and social security numbers of student loan defaulters would reveal nothing directly about Department of Education's administration of student loan program); FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (pointing out that "Favish now stands as a further bulwark against" speculation-wielding FOIA requesters). But see Avondale Indus. v. NLRB, 90 F.3d 955, 961-62 (5th Cir. 1996) (declaring that disclosure of marked unredacted voting lists in union representation election would give plaintiff information it needs to determine whether NLRB conducted election tainted with fraud and corruption); Int'l Diatomite Producers Ass'n v. United States Soc. Sec. Admin., No. C-92-1634, 1993 WL 137286, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 28, 1993) (finding that release of vital status information concerning diatomite industry workers serves "public interest in evaluating whether public agencies (OSHA, [Mine Safety and Health Administration], and EPA) carry out their statutory duties to protect the public from the potential health hazards from crystalline silica exposure"), appeal dismissed, No. 93-16723 (9th Cir. Nov. 1, 1993).

    182. See NARFE, 879 F.2d at 875; see also FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 6 (discussing the narrowed "public interest" concept under Reporters Committee).

    183. 502 U.S. 164 (1991).

    184. Id. at 178; see also Pub. Citizen, Inc. v. RTC, No. 92-0010, 1993 WL 1617868, at **3-4 (D.D.C. Mar. 19, 1993) (adjudging public interest in agency's compliance with Affordable Housing Disposition Program to be served by release of information with identities of bidders and purchasers redacted). But see Rosenfeld, 57 F.3d at 811-12 (concluding that disclosure of names of investigative subjects would serve public interest in knowing whether FBI "overzealously" investigated political protest group by allowing comparison of investigative subjects to group's leadership roster) (Exemption 7(C)).

    185. 502 U.S. at 178-79; see also Navigator Publ'g v. United States Dep't of Transp., 146 F. Supp. 2d 68, 71 (D. Me. 2001) (concluding that release of addresses of merchant mariners licensed by United States would serve only "hypothetical 'derivative use'" that is far outweighed by "demonstrably significant invasion of privacy"), appeal dismissed, No. 01-1939 (1st Cir. Sept. 19, 2001).

    186. 502 U.S. at 178-79.

    187. Thott v. United States Dep't of the Interior, No. 93-0177-B, slip op. at 5-6 (D. Me. Apr. 14, 1994).

    188. Ray v. United States Dep't of Justice, 852 F. Supp. 1558, 1564-65 (S.D. Fla. 1994) (distinguishing Ray, 502 U.S. 164, on the basis that "in the instant case . . . the public interest is not adequately served by release of the redacted logs [and] this Court cannot say that interviewing the returnees would not produce any information concerning our government's conduct during the interdiction process").

    189. Urbigkit v. United States Dep't of the Interior, No. 93-CV-0232-J, slip op. at 13 (D. Wyo. May 31, 1994).

    190. Weiner v. FBI, No. 83-1720, slip op. at 5-7 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 6, 1995) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)).

    191. Cardona v. INS, No. 93-3912, 1995 WL 68747, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 15, 1995).

    192. Baltimore Sun, 131 F. Supp. 2d at 729-30.

    193. 273 F. Supp. 2d 67, 86-87 (D.D.C. 2003).

    194. Id. at 87.

    195. Id.

    196. 124 S. Ct. at 1581; see also Painting Indus., 26 F.3d at 1484-85 (finding that the public interest in monitoring an agency's enforcement of the Davis-Bacon Act is not served by disclosure of names and addresses on payroll records because an additional step of contacting employees is required and the "additional public benefit the requester might realize through these contacts is inextricably intertwined with the invasions of privacy that those contacts will work," but also reasoning that if yielding a public interest required only some further research by the requester, then the fact that the use is a "derivative" one should not detract from the strength of that public benefit); Sammis v. Barnhardt, No. C01-3973, 2002 WL 1285050, at *2 (N.D. Cal. June 6, 2002) ("If this court allowed disclosure, plaintiff would have to obtain the information, use it to contact applicants directly, and cause them to take action . . . . This derivative type of benefit is too tenuous to merit invading individuals' privacy."); Horsehead Indus. v. EPA, No. 94-1299, slip op. at 6 (D.D.C. Mar. 13, 1997) (acknowledging that disclosure of the identities of homeowners who volunteered to participate in a Superfund study might "provide a glimpse into EPA's activities," but finding that "this interest pales in comparison to the potential harm to the privacy" of study participants, based in part upon "reports of trespassers taking environmental samples"); Upper Peninsula Envtl. Coalition v. Forest Serv., No. 2:94-cv-021, slip op. at 10 (W.D. Mich. Sept. 28, 1994) (finding the "derivative" public interest in gathering information that might assist the Forest Service in managing a wilderness area to be only "negligible," because "[i]t is not the purpose of the FOIA to allow private citizens to do the work of government agencies").

    197. DOD v. FLRA, 964 F.2d 26, 29-30 (D.C. Cir. 1992); see Office of the Capital Collateral Counsel, 331 F.3d at 804 (finding that there is substantial public information available about the AUSA's misconduct and that therefore any "public interest in knowing how DOJ responded to [the AUSA's] misconduct can be satisfied by this other public information"); Painting Indus., 26 F.3d at 1485 (union may "pass out fliers" or "post signs or advertisements soliciting information from workers about possible violations of the Davis-Bacon Act"); FLRA v. United States Dep't of Commerce, 962 F.2d 1055, 1060 n.2 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (union may "distribute questionnaires or conduct confidential face-to-face interviews" to obtain rating information about employees); Painting & Drywall, 936 F.2d at 1303 (contact at workplace is alternative to disclosing home addresses of employees); Multnomah County Med. Soc'y, 825 F.2d at 1416 (medical society can have members send literature to their patients as alternative to disclosure of identities of all Medicare beneficiaries); Chin, No. 97-2176, slip op. at 4-5 (W.D. La. June 24, 1999) (release of "statistical data and/or general accounts of incidents" would be an alternative to releasing investigative records of named individual to show whether government policies were "administered in an arbitrary manner"); Cowles Publ'g Co. v. United States, No. 90-349, slip op. at 8-9 (E.D. Wash. Dec. 20, 1990) (advertisements soliciting injured persons and their physicians, or direct contact with physicians, in region are viable alternatives to agency's releasing identities of persons injured by radiation exposure); Hemenway v. Hughes, 601 F. Supp. 1002, 1007 (D.D.C. 1985) (personal contact with individuals whose names and work addresses were released to plaintiff is alternative to agency's releasing personal information he seeks); cf. Heat & Frost Insulators & Asbestos Workers, Local 16 v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, No. S92-2173, slip op. at 3-4 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 4, 1993) (no alternative to union's request for payroll records -- with names, addresses, and social security numbers redacted -- would allow union to monitor agency's collection of records in compliance with federal regulations); Cotton, 798 F. Supp. at 27 n.9 (suggesting that request for all inspector general reports, from which identifying information could be redacted, would better serve public interest in overseeing discharge of inspector general duties than does request for only two specific investigative reports involving known individuals).

    198. 124 S. Ct. at 1582.

    199. DOD v. FLRA, 964 F.2d at 29-30.

    200. See, e.g., Perlman, 312 F.3d at 106 ("The strong public interest in encouraging witnesses to participate in future government investigations offsets the weak public interest in learning witness and third party identities.") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Strout v. United States Parole Comm'n, 40 F.3d 136, 139 (6th Cir. 1994) ("[T]here would appear to be a public policy interest against such disclosure, as the fear of disclosure to a convicted criminal could have a chilling effect on persons, particularly victims, who would otherwise provide the Commission with information relevant to a parole decision."); Miller v. Bell, 661 F.2d 623, 631 (7th Cir. 1981) (observing that the district court failed to consider "the substantial public interest in maintaining the integrity of future FBI undercover investigations") (Exemption 7(C)); Church of Scientology v. Dep't of State, 493 F. Supp. 418, 421 (D.D.C. 1980) (finding that Church of Scientology offered no public interest and that it had "practice of harassing its 'suppressors'") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Flower v. FBI, 448 F. Supp. 567, 571-72 (W.D. Tex. 1978) (noting that "it is doubtful" that individuals would cooperate with law enforcement if their privacy were not protected) (Exemption 7(C)); cf. Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1579 (implying that nondisclosure result necessarily serves society's strong interest in denying "gruesome requests" made by "convicted felons" for photos of their victims); Kelly v. CIA, No. 00-2498, slip op. at 15 (D.D.C. Aug. 8, 2002) (observing that agency should factor in public interest at time that classification decision is made, and further noting that requester's asserted public interest in disclosure of requested information will not undermine proper classification because it certainly is in public interest to withhold information that would damage national security) (Exemption 1), modified in other respects, No. 00-2498, slip op. at 1 (D.D.C. Sept. 25, 2002), appeal on adequacy of search dismissed on procedural grounds, No. 02-5384, 2003 WL 21804101 (D.C. Cir. July 31, 2003).

    201. 656 F.2d at 865; see also FOIA Update, Vol. III, No. 4, at 5 (discussing the "sound basis" for agencies to look at the public interest in nondisclosure to "determine the 'net' public interest involved").

    202. See Dep't of the Air Force v. Rose, 425 U.S. 352, 372 (1976).

    203. See Ripskis v. HUD, 746 F.2d 1, 3 (D.C. Cir. 1984); see FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 7 ("FOIA Counselor: Exemption 6 and Exemption 7(C): Step-by-Step Decisionmaking").

    204. Ripskis, 746 F.2d at 3.

    205. See FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 6 (emphasizing possible applicability of Privacy Act's disclosure prohibitions, particularly in light of Reporters Committee).

    206. See NARA v. Favish, 124 S. Ct. 1570, 1577 (2004) (relying, in finding threat to privacy, on expectation of renewed media exploitation if photographs were to be released) (Exemption 7(C)), reh'g denied, No. 02-409, 2004 WL 108633 (U.S. May 17, 2004).

    207. See Pub. Citizen Health Research Group v. United States Dep't of Labor, 591 F.2d 808, 809 (D.C. Cir. 1978) (finding that "[s]ince this is a balancing test, any invasion of privacy can prevail, so long as the public interest balanced against it is sufficiently weaker," and noting that the threat to privacy does not have to be "obvious").

    208. Wash. Post Co. v. HHS, 690 F.2d 252, 261 (D.C. Cir. 1982).

    209. See, e.g., Rural Hous. Alliance v. USDA, 498 F.2d 73, 77 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

    210. See, e.g., McDonnell v. United States, 4 F.3d 1227, 1254 (3d Cir. 1993) ("living individual has a strong privacy interest in withholding his medical records"); Rural Hous. Alliance, 498 F.2d at 77; Sousa v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 95-375, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9010, at *22 (D.D.C. June 18, 1997) (withholding co-defendant's medical records); Robbins v. HHS, No. 1:95-cv-3258, slip op. at 8-9 (N.D. Ga. Aug. 12, 1996) (upholding nondisclosure of names, addresses, and claim denial letters of rejected social security disability claimants), aff'd per curiam, No. 96-9000 (11th Cir. July 8, 1997); Hunt v. United States Marine Corps, 935 F. Supp. 46, 54 (D.D.C. 1996) (observing that although public may have interest in a political candidate's fitness for office, disclosure of Oliver North's medical records would not shed light on conduct of Marine Corps).

    211. See, e.g., Judicial Watch, Inc. v. United States Dep't of Commerce, 83 F. Supp. 2d 105, 112 (D.D.C. 1999), appeal dismissed voluntarily, No. 99-5054 (D.C. Cir. Sept. 10, 1999); Centracchio v. FBI, No. 92-357, slip op. at 15 (D.D.C. Mar. 16, 1993).

    212. See, e.g., Church of Scientology v. United States Dep't of the Army, 611 F.2d 738, 747 (9th Cir. 1979).

    213. See United States Dep't of State v. Wash. Post Co., 456 U.S. 595, 602 (1982) (passport information); Hemenway v. Hughes, 601 F. Supp. 1002, 1006 (D.D.C. 1985) ("Nationals from some countries face persistent discrimination . . . [and] are potential targets for terrorist attacks."); cf. Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Reno, No. 00-0723, 2001 WL 1902811, at *8 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2001) (asylum application); Judicial Watch, 83 F. Supp. 2d at 112 (visa and passport data).

    214. Quinault Indian Nation v. Gover, No. C97-5625, transcript at 52-57 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 19, 1998), aff'd sub nom. Quinault Indian Nation v. Deer, 232 F.3d 896 (9th Cir. 2000) (unpublished table decision).

    215. See, e.g., Sherman v. United States Dep't of the Army, 244 F.3d 357, 365-66 (5th Cir. 2001); Norwood v. FAA, 993 F.2d 570, 575 (6th Cir. 1993); Dayton Newspapers, Inc. v. United States Dep't of the Navy, No. C-3-95-328, slip op. at 31-38 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 12, 1996); Kuffel v. United States Bureau of Prisons, 882 F. Supp. 1116, 1122 (D.D.C. 1995) (Exemption 7(C)); Fid. Nat'l Title Ins. Co. v. HHS, No. 91-5484, slip op. at 6-7 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 13, 1992).

    216. See, e.g., United States Dep't of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749, 780 (1989); Judicial Watch, Inc. v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 03-5093, 2004 WL 980826, at **16-17 (D.C. Cir. May 7, 2004) (protecting pardon applications, which include information about crimes committed).

    217. See Harbolt v. Dep't of State, 616 F.2d 772, 774 (5th Cir. 1980).

    218. See, e.g., Siminoski v. FBI, No. 83-6499, slip op. at 28 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 16, 1990).

    219. See, e.g., Beard v. Espy, No. 94-16748, 1995 WL 792071, at *1 (9th Cir. Dec. 11, 1995); Hill v. USDA, 77 F. Supp. 2d 6, 8-9 (D.D.C. 1999), summary affirmance granted, No. 99-5365, 2000 WL 520724, at *1 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 7, 2000); Green v. United States, 8 F. Supp. 2d 983, 998 (W.D. Mich. 1998), appeal dismissed, No. 98-1568 (6th Cir. Aug. 11, 1998); Stabasefski v. United States, 919 F. Supp. 1570, 1575 (M.D. Ga. 1996); Biase v. Office of Thrift Supervision, No. 93-2521, slip op. at 8-10 (D.N.J. Dec. 10, 1993); Okla. Publ'g Co. v. HUD, No. 87-1935-P, 1988 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18643, at **4-5 (W.D. Okla. June 17, 1988).

    220. Ripskis, 746 F.2d at 3; see HHS v. FLRA, No. 92-1012, 1992 WL 390891, at *1 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 10, 1992) (performance appraisals); FLRA v. United States Dep't of Commerce, 962 F.2d 1055, 1059-61 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (same); Peralta v. United States Attorney's Office, 69 F. Supp. 2d 21, 33 (D.D.C. 1999) (letters of commendation for work on investigation of plaintiff). But see also Hardy v. DOD, No. CV-99-523, 2001 WL 34354945, at *9 (D. Ariz. Aug. 27, 2001) (finding concern with jealousy on parts of co-workers diminished by fact that subject employee had since retired).

    221. FLRA v. United States Dep't of Commerce, 962 F.2d at 1059.

    222. See, e.g., Aronson v. HUD, 822 F.2d 182, 185-87 (1st Cir. 1987) (holding that public interest in "the disbursement of funds the government owes its citizens" outweighs the privacy interest of such citizens to be free from others' attempts "to secure a share of that sum" when the government's efforts at disbursal are inadequate); Van Bourg, Allen, Weinberg & Roger v. NLRB, 728 F.2d 1270, 1273 (9th Cir. 1984) (identifying strong public interest in determining whether election fairly conducted), vacated, 756 F.2d 692 (9th Cir.), reinstated, 762 F.2d 831 (9th Cir. 1985); Getman v. NLRB, 450 F.2d 670, 675-76 (D.C. Cir. 1971) (holding public interest in need for study of union elections sufficient to warrant release to professor); Nat'l Ass'n of Atomic Veterans, Inc. v. Dir., Def. Nuclear Agency, 583 F. Supp. 1483, 1487-88 (D.D.C. 1984) (ordering disclosure of names and addresses of veterans involved in atomic testing because of public interest in increasing their knowledge of benefits and possible future health testing).

    223. 489 U.S. at 771-72; see also Bibles v. Or. Natural Desert Ass'n, 519 U.S. 355, 355-56 (1997) (summarily rejecting argument that there is public interest in knowing to whom government is sending information so that those persons can receive information from other sources).

    224. 489 U.S. at 772; see also FOIA Update, Vol. X, No. 2, at 5-6 (advising that old "use" test has been overruled and should no longer be followed).

    225. Nat'l Ass'n of Retired Fed. Employees v. Horner, 879 F.2d 873, 875 (D.C. Cir. 1989) [hereinafter NARFE]; see also Prof'l Programs Group v. Dep't of Commerce, 29 F.3d 1349, 1353-55 (9th Cir. 1994) (withholding names and addresses of persons registered to take patent bar examination); Gannett Satellite Info. Network, Inc. v. United States Dep't of Educ., No. 90-1392, 1990 WL 251480, at **6-7 (D.D.C. Dec. 21, 1990) (denying access to names, social security numbers, and addresses of individuals who have defaulted on government-backed student loans); Schoettle v. Kemp, 733 F. Supp. 1395, 1397-98 (D. Haw. 1990) (relying upon both Reporters Committee's observation that "public interest" is not equivalent to "interesting or socially beneficial in some broad sense" and HUD's improved methods of tracing people, to withhold identities of mortgagors eligible for distributions of money); cf. Schiffer v. FBI, 78 F.3d 1405, 1411 (9th Cir. 1996) (ruling that FOIA does not authorize limited access to only one individual based upon that individual's personal knowledge of information contained in records). But see Aronson v. HUD, No. 88-1524, slip op. at 1 (1st Cir. Apr. 6, 1989) (affirming award of attorney fees to plaintiff on basis that disclosure of list of mortgagors to whom HUD owes money sheds light on agency's performance of its duty to reimburse those mortgagors).

    226. See Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1581 ("It must be remembered that once there is disclosure, the information belongs to the general public. There is no mechanism under FOIA for a protective order allowing only the requester to see . . . the information . . . or for proscribing its general dissemination."); see also FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (advising that "[i]n Favish, of course, this meant that the expected 'public exploitation' of the requested records through 'attempts to exploit pictures of the deceased family member's remains for public purposes' by the media . . . were properly taken into consideration").

    227. See NARFE, 879 F.2d at 875; see also Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1580 (explaining that "[a]s a general rule, if the information is subject to disclosure, it belongs to all").

    228. 519 U.S. at 355-56; see also FOIA Update, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, at 1.

    229. 879 F.2d at 879; see also Robbins, No. 1:95-cv-3258, slip op. at 8-9 (N.D. Ga. Aug. 12, 1996) (rejecting plaintiff's claim of intent to use the names and addresses of rejected social security disability claimants to represent them and "thereby 'promote the effective uniform administration of the disability program'" and ultimately reveal the agency's wrongful denials as "too attenuated" to outweigh a significant invasion of privacy (quoting plaintiff's papers)); Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Nat'l Highway Traffic Safety Admin., 809 F. Supp. 148, 150 (D.D.C. 1993) (finding that requester's function as "significant consumer rights advocate" does not imply a right to "take over the functions of NHTSA").

    230. NARFE, 879 F.2d at 879; see also Retired Officers Ass'n v. Dep't of the Navy, 744 F. Supp. 1, 2-3 (D.D.C. May 14, 1990) (holding names and home addresses of retired military officers exempt); cf. Reed v. NLRB, 927 F.2d 1249, 1251-52 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (categorically protecting "Excelsior" list (names and addresses of employees eligible to vote in union representation elections)).

    231. Bibles, 519 U.S. at 355-56 (mailing list of recipients of Bureau of Land Management publication); DOD v. FLRA, 510 U.S. 487, 494-502 (1994) (names and home addresses of federal employees in union bargaining units); United States Dep't of State v. Ray, 502 U.S. 164, 173-79 (1991) (withholding from interview summaries names and addresses of Haitian refugees interviewed by State Department about treatment upon return to Haiti).

    232. See Nat'l Ass'n of Home Builders v. Norton, 309 F.3d 26, 36 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (finding the privacy interest "relatively weak," and determining that the public interest in learning about an agency's use of owl data is served by release of the lot numbers of parcels of land where the owls have been spotted, even while acknowledging that the identities of landowners could be determined by use of this information), reconsideration denied, No. 01-5283 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 3, 2003) (per curiam); Avondale Indus. v. NLRB, 90 F.3d 955, 961 (5th Cir. 1996) (finding that names and addresses of voters in union election already were disclosed in voluminous public record); Baltimore Sun v. United States Marshals Serv., 131 F. Supp. 2d 725, 729 (D. Md. 2001) (declaring that purchasers of property previously seized by the government "voluntarily choose to participate in . . . a wholly legal commercial transaction" and "have little to fear in the way of 'harassment, annoyance, or embarrassment'") (Exemption 7(C)), appeal dismissed voluntarily, No. 01-1537 (4th Cir. June 25, 2001); Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Dep't of the Interior, 53 F. Supp. 2d 32, 36-37 (D.D.C. 1999) (concluding that commenters to proposed rulemaking could have little expectation of privacy when rulemaking notice stated that complete file would be publicly available); Wash. Post Co. v. USDA, 943 F. Supp. 31, 34-36 (D.D.C. Oct. 18, 1996) (finding minimal privacy interest in home addresses at which farmers receiving subsidies under cotton price support program operate their businesses), appeal dismissed voluntarily, No. 96-5373 (D.C. Cir. May 19, 1997); Ackerson & Bishop Chartered v. USDA, No. 92-1068, slip op. at 1 (D.D.C. July 15, 1992) (finding no privacy interest in names of commercial mushroom growers operating under own names).

    233. See Baltimore Sun, 131 F. Supp. 2d at 729-30 (names and addresses of purchasers of property seized by government found to allow public to assess agencies' exercise of their power to seize property and their duty to dispose of such property) (Exemption 7(C)); Or. Natural Desert Ass'n v. United States Dep't of the Interior, 24 F. Supp. 2d 1088, 1093 (D. Or. 1998) (names of cattle owners who violated federal grazing laws found to reveal "how government is enforcing and punishing violations of land management laws"); Maples v. USDA, No. 97-5663, slip op. at 14 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 1998) (names and addresses of permit holders for use of federal lands "would provide the public with an understanding of how the permit process works"); Urbigkit v. United States Dep't of the Interior, No. 93-CV-0232-J, slip op. at 13 (D. Wyo. May 31, 1994) (list of citizens who reported wolf sightings found to show agency activities "with respect to the duties imposed upon it by the Endangered Species Act"); Ray v. United States Dep't of Justice, 852 F. Supp. 1558, 1564-65 (S.D. Fla. 1994) (names and addresses of interdicted Haitians might reveal "information concerning our government's conduct during the interdiction process"); Thott v. United States Dep't of the Interior, No. 93-0177-B, slip op. at 5-6 (D. Me. Apr. 14, 1994) (list of individuals who sold land to Fish and Wildlife Service found to inform the public "about the methods used by FWS in acquiring property throughout the United States").

    234. Idaho v. United States Forest Serv., No. 97-0230-S, slip op. at 6 (D. Idaho Dec. 9, 1997); see Judicial Watch v. United States Dep't of Justice, 102 F. Supp. 2d 6, 17-18 (D.D.C. 2000) (allowing withholding of home addresses and telephone numbers of individuals who wrote to Attorney General about campaign finance or Independent Counsel issues, but concluding that in the event any individuals were elected officials their identities might possibly reveal information to the public "which could suggest that their Justice Department had been steered by political pressure rather than by relevant facts and law"), reconsideration denied temporarily pending in camera review, No. 97-CV-2869 (D.D.C. Aug. 17, 2000).

    235. Lepelletier v. FDIC, 164 F.3d 37, 48-49 (D.C. Cir. 1999).

    236. Id. at 48.

    237. Id.; see also Public Citizen, Inc. v. Dep't of Educ., No. 01-2351, slip op. at 5-12 (D.D.C. June 17, 2002) (relying on Lepelletier and finding both "substantial benefits" to borrowers by disclosure and a public interest benefit in showing the extent of compliance with statutory duties). But see Reporters Comm., 489 U.S. at 772 n.20 (noting that Congress made no statement that the FOIA was designed for broader uses to serve the "social good"); Schoettle, 733 F. Supp. at 1397-98 (relying on Reporters Committee's observation that "public interest" is not equivalent to "interesting or socially beneficial in some broad sense," in protecting identities of mortgagors eligible for distributions of money); cf. Doe v. FBI, 218 F.R.D. 256, 259 (D. Colo. 2003) (rejecting plaintiff's argument that even if his own privacy interest is not compelling the court should consider other parties' privacy interests, and concluding that "the Court will not allow Plaintiff to piggyback on their privacy interests" in order to achieve an unconventional nondisclosure result) (non-FOIA case).

    238. See 124 S. Ct. at 1582 (instructing that "counterweight" necessary to balance against privacy interest exists only when requester provides sufficient evidence); cf. FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (explaining that Favish discredits "or effectively overrules" several prior decisions that ordered disclosure based on allegations of wrongdoing).

    239. See, e.g., Prof'l Programs, 29 F.3d at 1353-55 (withholding names and addresses of persons registered to take patent bar examination from business offering patent bar exam preparation courses to lawyers); Robbins, No. 1:95-cv-3258, slip op. at 8-9 (N.D. Ga. Aug. 12, 1996) (withholding names and addresses of rejected social security disability claimants from attorney hoping to solicit business); Schoettle, 733 F. Supp. at 1397-98 (declining to order release of identities of mortgagors eligible for distributions of money).

    240. See Reed, 927 F.2d at 1252 (protecting names and addresses of employees eligible to vote in union representation elections); Navigator Publ'g v. United States Dep't of Transp., 146 F. Supp. 2d 68, 71 (D. Me. 2001) (concluding that "significant" privacy interest in mariners' addresses outweighs "hypothetical" public interest in matching addresses against criminal records to permit evaluation of Coast Guard performance of its licensing duties), appeal dismissed, No. 01-1939 (1st Cir. Sept. 19, 2001); Judicial Watch v. Reno, 2001 WL 1902811, at *8 (discerning no public interest in disclosure of names and telephone numbers of nongovernment attendees at meeting with federal immigration officials); Fort Hall Landowners Alliance, Inc. v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, No. 99-00052, slip op. at 13 (D. Idaho Mar. 17, 2000) (protecting list of landowner names, addresses, and ownership interests on basis that there is no qualifying public interest in facilitating attorney representation of landowners in right-of-way negotiations); Dayton Newspapers, Inc. v. Dep't of the Air Force, 35 F. Supp. 2d 1033, 1035 (S.D. Ohio 1998) (redacting "claimants' names, social security numbers, home addresses, home/work telephone numbers and places of employment" from militarywide medical tort-claims database); Horsehead Indus. v. EPA, No. 94-1299, slip op. at 6 (D.D.C. Mar. 13, 1997) (finding that the possible "glimpse into EPA's activities" that would accrue from disclosure of identities of homeowners who volunteered to participate in a Superfund study "pales in comparison to the potential harm to the privacy" of study participants); Stabasefski, 919 F. Supp. at 1575 (determining that disclosure of names of FAA employees who received Hurricane Andrew subsistence payments would shed no brighter light on agency activities than vouchers that were released showing amounts of payments); Upper Peninsula Envtl. Coalition v. Forest Serv., No. 2:94-cv-021, slip op. at 9-10 (W.D. Mich. Sept. 28, 1994) (concluding that information already provided about wilderness campers (i.e., dates, campsite, number in party, state of auto registration) sheds sufficient light on agency's performance of duties without disclosure of names and addresses of campers); Gannett Satellite, 1990 WL 251480, at **6-7 (concluding that names, social security numbers, and addresses of individuals who defaulted on government-backed student loans do not themselves directly reveal anything about student loan programs).

    241. See Ray, 502 U.S. at 176 (observing that disclosure of a list of Haitian refugees interviewed by the State Department about their treatment upon return to Haiti "would publicly identify the interviewees as people who cooperated with a State Department investigation"); Campaign for Family Farms v. Glickman, 200 F.3d 1180, 1187-88 (8th Cir. 2000) (protecting list of pork producers who signed petition that declared their position on referendum that was sought by petition) (reverse FOIA suit); NARFE, 879 F.2d at 876 (characterizing the list at issue as revealing that each individual on it "is retired or disabled (or the survivor of such a person) and receives a monthly annuity check from the federal Government"); Minnis v. USDA, 737 F.2d 784, 787 (9th Cir. 1984) ("Disclosure would reveal not only the applicants' names and addresses, but also their personal interests in water sports and the out-of-doors.").

    242. See, e.g., Schwarz v. Dep't of State, No. 97-1342, slip op. at 5 (D.D.C. Mar. 20, 1998) (stating, despite plaintiff's claim that she needed the address of a third party to assist her, that the "merits of an agency's FOIA determinations do not rest on the identity of the requester or the purpose for which the information is intended to be used"), aff'd per curiam, 172 F.3d 921 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (unpublished table decision); Bongiorno v. Reno, No. 95-72143, 1996 WL 426451, at *14 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 19, 1996) (noting that the requester sought personal information concerning his adopted daughter "for his own purposes, as understandable as they may be, and not to shine a public light into the recesses of the federal bureaucracy"); Andrews v. United States Dep't of Justice, 769 F. Supp. 314, 316-17 (E.D. Mo. 1991) (declining to release individual's address, telephone number, and place of employment to requester seeking it for purpose of satisfying monetary judgment).

    243. See 5 C.F.R. § 293.311 (2004); see also FOIA Update, Vol. VII, No. 3, at 3.

    244. See FOIA Update, Vol. III, No. 4, at 3; see also Core v. USPS, 730 F.2d 946, 948 (4th Cir. 1984) (qualifications of successful federal applicants); Samble v. United States Dep't of Commerce, No. 1:92-225, slip op. at 11 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 22, 1994) (far-reaching decision requiring disclosure of successful job applicant's "undergraduate grades; private sector performance awards; foreign language abilities; and his answers to questions concerning prior firings, etc., convictions, delinquencies on federal debt, and pending charges against him"); Associated Gen. Contractors, Inc. v. EPA, 488 F. Supp. 861, 863 (D. Nev. 1980) (education, former employment, academic achievements, and employee qualifications).

    245. Army Reg. 340-21, ¶ 3-3a(1), b(1), 5 July 1985; see also Army Reg. 25-55, ¶ 3-200, No. 6(b), 1 Nov. 1997 (providing for withholding of names and duty addresses of military personnel assigned to units that are "sensitive, routinely deployable or stationed in foreign territories").

    246. See Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Program Regulation, DOD 5400.7-R, 37-39 (Sept. 1998); Memorandum from Department of Defense Directorate for Freedom of Information and Security Review 1 (Oct. 26, 1999) (applying same analysis as DOD 5400.7-R to electronic mail addresses, and authorizing withholding only for "personnel assigned to units that are sensitive, routinely deployable or stationed in foreign territories").

    247. See 10 U.S.C. § 130b (2000); Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Program Regulations, 32 C.F.R. § 286.12(f)(2)(ii) (2003) ("Names and duty addresses (postal and/or e-mail) . . . for personnel assigned to units that are sensitive, routinely deployable, or stationed in foreign territories are withholdable under [Exemption 6].").

    248. See Jernigan v. Dep't of the Air Force, No. 97-35930, 1998 WL 658662, at *1 (9th Cir. Sept. 17, 1998) (agreeing with the Air Force that "'[i]dentifying [its] personnel overseas increases the threat of terrorism and the likelihood that they will be targeted for attack'"); Hudson v. Dep't of the Army, No. 86-1114, 1987 WL 46755, at **3-4 (D.D.C. Jan. 29, 1987) (finding threat of terrorism creates privacy interest in names, ranks, and addresses of Army personnel stationed in Europe, Middle East, and Africa), aff'd, 926 F.2d 1215 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (unpublished table decision); Falzone v. Dep't of the Navy, No. 85-3862, 1988 WL 128474, at **1-2 (D.D.C. Nov. 21, 1988) (finding same with respect to names and addresses of naval officers serving overseas or in classified, sensitive, or readily deployable positions).

    249. See Hopkins v. Dep't of the Navy, No. 84-1868, 1985 WL 17673, at *2 (D.D.C. Feb. 5, 1985) (ordering disclosure of "names, ranks and official duty stations of servicemen stationed at Quantico" to life insurance salesman); Jafari v. Dep't of the Navy, 3 Gov't Disclosure Serv. (P-H) ¶ 83,250, at 84,014 (E.D. Va. May 11, 1983) (finding no privacy interest in "duty status" or attendance records of reserve military personnel) (Privacy Act "wrongful disclosure" suit), aff'd on other grounds, 728 F.2d 247 (4th Cir. 1984).

    250. See Department of Defense Director for Administration and Management Memorandum 1-2 (Nov. 9, 2001), available at www.defenselink.mil/pubs/foi/withhold.pdf.

    251. See Judicial Watch, Inc. v. United States, 84 Fed. Appx. 335, 338-39 (4th Cir. 2004) (protecting names of lower-level clerical workers at IRS), petition for cert. filed, 72 U.S.L.W. 3644 (U.S. Apr. 5, 2004) (No. 03-1389); New England Apple Council v. Donovan, 725 F.2d 139, 142-44 (1st Cir. 1984) (protecting identities of nonsupervisory Inspector General investigators who participated in grand jury investigation of requester) (Exemption 7(C)); Lesar v. United States Dep't of Justice, 636 F.2d 472, 487-88 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (protecting identities of FBI agents) (Exemption 7(C)); Wood v. FBI, No. 3:02cv2058, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5525, at *47 (D. Conn. Mar. 31, 2004) (ruling that records already released showed the thoroughness of the investigation, and reasoning that "there is no further public interest to be served by releasing the names of the officials involved in the investigation") (Exemption 7(C)); Pons v. United States Customs Serv., No. 93-2094, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6084, at **13-14 (D.D.C. Apr. 27, 1998) (protecting identities of lower- and mid-level agency employees who worked on asset forfeiture documents); Lampkin v. IRS, No. 1:96-138, 1997 WL 373717, at *2 (W.D.N.C. Feb. 24, 1997) (protecting identities of IRS employees who, by nature of employment, are subject to harassment and annoyance) (Exemption 7(C)); Lawyers Comm. for Human Rights v. INS, 721 F. Supp. 552, 565, 569 (S.D.N.Y. 1989) (permitting withholding of the identities of FBI agents and support staff, who "have a particularly strong interest in maintaining their privacy in the present action due to the divided public opinion and heightened interest in [this] case") (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); see also FOIA Update, Vol. VII, No. 3, at 3-4.

    252. See, e.g., DOD v. FLRA, 510 U.S. 487, 500 (1994) (employees' home addresses); Am. Fed'n of Gov't Employees v. United States, 712 F.2d 931, 932-33 (4th Cir. 1983) (same); Barvick v. Cisneros, 941 F. Supp. 1015, 1020-21 (D. Kan. 1996) (personal information such as home addresses and telephone numbers, social security numbers, dates of birth, insurance and retirement information, reasons for leaving prior employment, and performance appraisals); Stabasefski, 919 F. Supp. at 1575 (M.D. Ga. 1996) (names of FAA employees who received Hurricane Andrew assistance payments); Plain Dealer Publ'g Co. v. United States Dep't of Labor, 471 F. Supp. 1023, 1028-30 (D.D.C. 1979) (medical, personnel, and related documents of employees filing claims under Federal Employees Compensation Act); Info. Acquisition Corp. v. Dep't of Justice, 444 F. Supp. 458, 463-64 (D.D.C. 1978) ("core" personal information such as marital status and college grades). But see Wash. Post v. HHS, 690 F.2d at 258-65 (holding personal financial information required for appointment as HHS scientific consultant not exempt when balanced against need for oversight of awarding of government grants); Husek v. IRS, No. 90-CV-923, 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20971, at *1 (N.D.N.Y. Aug. 16, 1991) (holding citizenship, date of birth, educational background, and veteran's preference of federal employees not exempt), aff'd, 956 F.2d 1161 (2d Cir. 1992) (unpublished table decision).

    253. See, e.g., Ripskis, 746 F.2d at 3-4 (names and identifying data contained on evaluation forms of HUD employees who received outstanding performance ratings); Warren v. Soc. Sec. Admin., No. 98-CV-0116E, 2000 WL 1209383, at *4 (W.D.N.Y. Aug. 22, 2000) (award nomination forms for specific employees), aff'd, 10 Fed. Appx. 20 (2d Cir. 2001); Rothman v. USDA, No. 94-8151, slip op. at 6 (C.D. Cal. June 17, 1996) (settlement agreement related to charge of employment discrimination that "could conceivably lead to embarrassment or friction with fellow employees or supervisors"); Resendez v. Runyon, No. 94-434F, slip op. at 6-7 (W.D. Tex. Aug. 11, 1995) (names of applicants for supervisory training who have not yet been accepted or rejected); McLeod v. United States Coast Guard, No. 94-1924, slip op. at 8-10 (D.D.C. July 25, 1995) (Coast Guard officer's evaluation report), summary affirmance granted, No. 96-5071, 1997 WL 150096 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 10, 1997); Putnam v. United States Dep't of Justice, 873 F. Supp. 705, 712-13 (D.D.C. 1995) (names of FBI employees mentioned in "circumstances outside of their official duties," such as attending training classes and as job applicants); Ferri v. United States Dep't of Justice, 573 F. Supp. 852, 862-63 (W.D. Pa. 1983) (FBI background investigation of Assistant United States Attorney); Dubin v. Dep't of the Treasury, 555 F. Supp. 408, 412 (N.D. Ga. 1981) (studies of supervisors' performance and recommendations for performance awards), aff'd, 697 F.2d 1093 (11th Cir. 1983) (unpublished table decision); see also FLRA v. United States Dep't of Commerce, 962 F.2d at 1060 (distinguishing personnel "ratings," which traditionally have not been disclosed, from "performance awards," which ordinarily are disclosed); cf. Prof'l Review Org., Inc. v. HHS, 607 F. Supp. 423, 427 (D.D.C. 1985) (résumé data of proposed staff of government contract bidder).

    254. See Core, 730 F.2d at 948-49 (protecting identities and qualifications of unsuccessful applicants for federal employment); Warren, 2000 WL 1209383, at *4 (protecting identities of unsuccessful job applicants); Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Exp.-Imp. Bank, 108 F. Supp. 2d 19, 38 (D.D.C. 2000) (withholding résumés of individuals whose applications for insurance were withdrawn or denied); Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Comm'n on United States-Pac. Trade & Inv. Policy, No. 97-0099, slip op. at 23-26 (D.D.C. Sept. 30, 1999) (protecting identities of individuals considered for but not appointed to Commission); Rothman, No. 94-8151, slip op. at 8-9 (C.D. Cal. June 17, 1996) ("Disclosure of information in the applications of persons who failed to get a job may 'embarrass or harm' them."); Barvick, 941 F. Supp. at 1021-22 (protecting all information about unsuccessful federal job applicants because any information about members of "select group" that applies for such jobs could identify them); Voinche v. FBI, 940 F. Supp. 323, 329-30 (D.D.C. 1996) (protecting identities of possible candidates for Supreme Court vacancies), aff'd per curiam, No. 96-5304, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 19089 (D.C. Cir. June 19, 1997); Putnam, 873 F. Supp. at 712-13 (protecting identities of FBI personnel who were job candidates); Holland v. CIA, No. 91-1233, 1992 WL 233820, at **13-15 (D.D.C. Aug. 31, 1992) (protecting identity of person not selected as CIA general counsel).

    255. See Matthews v. USPS, No. 92-1208-CV-W-8, slip op. at 5 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 15, 1994).

    256. See, e.g., Stern v. FBI, 737 F.2d 84, 94 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (protecting identities of mid-level employees censured for negligence, but requiring disclosure of identity of high-level employee found guilty of serious, intentional misconduct) (Exemption 7(C)); Chamberlain v. Kurtz, 589 F.2d 827, 841-42 (5th Cir. 1979) (names of disciplined IRS agents); Mueller v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, 63 F. Supp. 2d 738, 743-45 (E.D. Va. 1999) (unsubstantiated allegations of prosecutorial misconduct) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Chin v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, No. 97-2176, slip op. at 3-5 (W.D. La. June 24, 1999) (investigations of fraternization), aff'd per curiam, No. 99-31237 (5th Cir. June 15, 2000); Lurie v. Dep't of the Army, 970 F. Supp. 19, 40 (D.D.C. 1997) (identities of HIV researchers who played minor role in possible scientific misconduct), appeal dismissed voluntarily, No. 97-5248 (D.C. Cir. Oct. 22, 1997); McLeod v. Peña, No. 94-1924, slip op. at 4-6 (D.D.C. Feb. 9, 1996) (investigation of Coast Guard officer for alleged use of government resources for personal religious activities) (Exemption 7(C)), summary affirmance granted sub nom. McLeod v. United States Coast Guard, No. 96-5071, 1997 WL 150096 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 10, 1997); Cotton v. Adams, 798 F. Supp. 22, 25-28 (D.D.C. 1992) (report of Inspector General's investigation of low-level employees of Smithsonian Institution museum shops); Schonberger v. Nat'l Transp. Safety Bd., 508 F. Supp. 941, 944-45 (D.D.C.) (results of complaint by employee against supervisor), aff'd, 672 F.2d 896 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (unpublished table decision); Iglesias v. CIA, 525 F. Supp. 547, 561 (D.D.C. 1981) (agency attorney's response to Office of Professional Responsibility misconduct allegations); see also McCutchen v. HHS, 30 F.3d 183, 187-89 (D.C. Cir. 1994) identities of both federally and privately employed scientists investigated for possible scientific misconduct protected) (Exemption 7(C)); cf. Heller v. United States Marshals Serv., 655 F. Supp. 1088, 1091 (D.D.C. 1987) ("extremely strong interest" in protecting privacy of individual who cooperated with internal investigation of possible criminal activity by fellow employees). But see Gannett River States Publ'g Corp. v. Bureau of the Nat'l Guard, No. J91-455, 1992 WL 175235, at **5-6 (S.D. Miss. Mar. 2, 1992) (given previous disclosure of investigative report of helocasting accident, disclosure of actual discipline received would result in "insignificant burden" on soldiers' privacy interests).

    257. 906 F.2d 779, 782 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (upholding FBI's refusal to confirm or deny existence of letters of reprimand or suspension for alleged misconduct by undercover agent) (Exemption 7(C)); Favish, 124 S. Ct. at 1582 (noting realistically that "[a]llegations of government misconduct are 'easy to allege and hard to disprove'" (quoting Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S. 574, 585 (1998)).

    258. Id. at 781; see also Ford v. West, No. 97-1342, 1998 WL 317561, at **2-3 (10th Cir. June 12, 1998) (protecting information about discipline of coworker and finding that redacted information would not inform public about agency's response to racial harassment claim); Kimberlin v. Dep't of Justice, 139 F.3d 944, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (protecting information about investigation of staff-level attorney for allegations of unauthorized disclosure of information to media) (Exemption 7(C)); Beck v. Dep't of Justice, 997 F.2d 1489, 1494 (D.C. Cir. 1993) (upholding agency's refusal to either confirm or deny existence of records concerning alleged wrongdoing of named DEA agents) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Hunt v. FBI, 972 F.2d 286, 288-90 (9th Cir. 1992) (protecting contents of investigative file of nonsupervisory FBI agent accused of unsubstantiated misconduct) (Exemption 7(C)); Early v. Office of Prof'l Responsibility, No. 95-0254, slip op. at 2-3 (D.D.C. Apr. 30, 1996) (upholding Office of Professional Responsibility's refusal to confirm or deny existence of complaints or investigations concerning performance of professional duties of one United States district court judge and two Assistant United States Attorneys) (Exemption 7(C)), summary affirmance granted, No. 96-5136, 1997 WL 195523 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 31, 1997).

    259. See, e.g., Wash. Post Co. v. United States Dep't of Justice, 863 F.2d 96, 100-01 (D.C. Cir. 1988) (information relating to business judgments and decisions made during development of pharmaceutical) (Exemption 7(C)); Sims v. CIA, 642 F.2d 562, 574 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (names of persons who conducted scientific and behavioral research under contracts with or funded by CIA); Bd. of Trade v. Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n, 627 F.2d 392, 399-400 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (identities of trade sources who supplied information to Commission); Cohen v. EPA, 575 F. Supp. 425, 430 (D.D.C. 1983) (names of suspected EPA "Superfund" violators) (Exemption 7(C)); Stern v. SBA, 516 F. Supp. 145, 149 (D.D.C. 1980) (names of agency personnel accused of discriminatory practices); see also Judicial Watch, 108 F. Supp. 2d at 37-38 (résumés of executives of businesses approved for insurance by Export-Import Bank).

    260. Schell v. HHS, 843 F.2d 933, 939 (6th Cir. 1988); see also Kurzon v. HHS, No. 00-395, 2001 WL 821531, at **7-11 (D.N.H. July 17, 2001) (ordering disclosure of names and business addresses of unsuccessful National Institute of Mental Health grant applicants, relying in part upon privacy analysis in Kurzon v. HHS, 649 F.2d 65, 69 (1st Cir. 1981), which court found "instructive" despite fact that First Circuit's "similar files" holding is no longer good law post-Washington Post, 456 U.S. 595), appeal dismissed voluntarily, No. 01-2319 (1st Cir. Oct. 5, 2001); Physicians Comm. for Responsible Med. v. Glickman, 117 F. Supp. 2d 1, 5-6 (D.D.C. 2000) (finding that "asserted stigma of rejection is significantly diluted when shared among approximately 140" nonappointed applicants for membership in federal advisory committee); Lawyers Comm. for Human Rights, 721 F. Supp. at 569 (finding that "disclosure [of names of State Department's officers and staff members involved in highly publicized case] merely establishes State [Department] employees' professional relationships or associates these employees with agency business" because agency provided "no substantial evidence of . . . security or privacy interests"; however, protecting the names of FBI Special Agents and support staff from other documents because of "strong" privacy interests) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)).

    261. Beck, 997 F.2d at 1492 (finding that when no evidence of wrongdoing exists, there is "no public interest to be balanced against the two [DEA] agents' obvious interest in the continued confidentiality of their personnel records"); Dunkelberger, 906 F.2d at 781-82 (recognizing that FBI Special Agent has privacy interest in protecting his employment records against public disclosure); Carter v. United States Dep't of Commerce, 830 F.2d 388, 391-92 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (withholding identities of private-sector attorneys subject to Patent and Trademark Office disciplinary investigations); Stern, 737 F.2d at 91 (recognizing that federal employees have privacy interest in information about their employment); Ripskis, 746 F.2d at 3-4 (identifying "substantial privacy interests" in performance appraisals of federal employees); see also Hill, 77 F. Supp. 2d at 7-8 (shielding business information related to Farmers Home Administration loans to individuals); Prof'l Review Org., 607 F. Supp. at 427 (finding protectible privacy interests in résumés of professional staff of successful government contract applicant sought by unsuccessful bidder); Hemenway, 601 F. Supp. at 1006 (protecting citizenship information on journalists accredited to attend press briefings).

    262. McCutchen, 30 F.3d at 187-88 (quoting Wash. Post, 863 F.2d at 100). But see Campaign for Family Farms, 200 F.3d at 1187-89 (finding privacy interest in pork producers' signatures on petition that declared signers' intended voting positions on controversial pork-production issue).

    263. See, e.g., McCutchen, 30 F.3d at 187-88; Fund for Constitutional Gov't v. Nat'l Archives & Records Serv., 656 F.2d 856, 865-66 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (protecting identities of government officials investigated but not prosecuted in "Watergate" investigation) (Exemption 7(C)); cf. FOIA Post, "Supreme Court Rules for 'Survivor Privacy' in Favish" (posted 4/9/04) (discussing "public figure" status and its realistic effect on privacy considerations).

    264. See 489 U.S. at 774 (ruling that information concerning a defense contractor, if such exists, would reveal nothing directly about the behavior of the congressman with whom he allegedly dealt or about the conduct of the Department of Defense in awarding contracts to his company); accord Halloran v. VA, 874 F.2d 315, 324 (5th Cir. 1989) (finding that public interest in learning about VA's relationship with its contractor is served by release of documents with redactions of identities of company employees suspected of fraud). But cf. Or. Natural Desert Ass'n, 24 F. Supp. 2d at 1093 (holding that privacy interests of cattle owners who violated federal grazing laws are outweighed by public interest in knowing how government enforces land-management laws); Commodity News Serv. v. Farm Credit Admin., No. 88-3146, 1989 WL 910244, at *2 (declining to protect personal résumé of appointed receiver of failed bank under Exemption 6).

    265. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) (2000) (sentence immediately following exemptions); see, e.g., Kimberlin, 139 F.3d at 949-50 (declining to affirm withholding of the entire file pertaining to an Office of Professional Responsibility investigation of an Assistant United States Attorney without "more specification of the types of material in the file" and specific findings on segregability by the district court); Patterson v. IRS, 56 F.3d 832, 838-40 (7th Cir. 1995) (refusing to permit agency to withhold entire document under Exemption 6 if only "portions" are exempt); Hronek v. DEA, 16 F. Supp. 2d 1260, 1270, 1278 (D. Or. 1998) ("Blanket explanations . . . do not meet FOIA's [segregability] requirements and do not permit the court to make the necessary findings . . . . The government fails to indicate why the privacy interests at stake could not be protected simply by redacting particular identifying information."); see also Trans-Pac. Policing Agreement v. United States Customs Serv., 177 F.3d 1022, 1026-29 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (imposing upon district courts "an affirmative duty to consider the segregability issue sua sponte" even if not raised by the requester) (Exemption 4); Krikorian v. Dep't of State, 984 F.2d 461, 466-67 (D.C. Cir. 1993) ("'The "segregability" requirement applies to all documents and all exemptions in the FOIA.'" (quoting Ctr. for Auto Safety v. EPA, 731 F.2d 16, 21 (D.C. Cir. 1984))) (Exemptions 1, 3, and 5); Judicial Watch, 83 F. Supp. 2d at 109 ("[D]istrict courts are required to consider segregability issues even when the parties have not specifically raised such claims."); FOIA Update, Vol. XIV, No. 3, at 11-12 ("OIP Guidance: The 'Reasonable Segregation' Obligation").

    266. 425 U.S. at 380-81; see also FOIA Update, Vol. VII, No. 1, at 6; cf. Ripskis, 746 F.2d at 4 (agency voluntarily released outstanding performance rating forms with identifying information deleted); Aldridge v. United States Comm'r of Internal Revenue, No. 7:00-CV-131, 2001 WL 196965, at *3 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 23, 2001) (determining that privacy interests of employees recommended for discipline could be protected by redacting their names); Hecht v. United States Agency for Int'l Dev., No. 95-263, 1996 WL 33502232, at *12 (D. Del. Dec. 18, 1996) (finding that privacy interests of government contractor's employees could be protected by withholding their names and addresses from biographical data sheets); cf. Church of Scientology v. IRS, 816 F. Supp. 1138, 1160 (W.D. Tex. 1993) (ordering agency to protect employees' privacy interests in their handwriting by typing handwritten records at requester's expense).

    267. See L&C Marine Transp., Ltd. v. United States, 740 F.2d 919, 923 (11th Cir. 1984) (Exemption 7(C)); cf. Ray, 502 U.S. at 175-76 (concluding that de minimis privacy invasion from release of personal information about unidentified person becomes significant when information is linked to particular individual). But see also Cooper Cameron Corp. v. United States Dep't of Labor, 280 F.3d 539, 553-54 (5th Cir. 2002) (ordering disclosure of information that could link witnesses to their OSHA investigation statements, because agency presented no evidence of "possibility of employer retaliation") (Exemption 7(C)).

    268. See Arieff v. United States Dep't of the Navy, 712 F.2d 1462, 1468-69 (D.C. Cir. 1983); cf. Dayton Newspapers, 35 F. Supp. 2d at 1035 (ordering release of militarywide medical tort-claims database with "claimants' names, social security numbers, home addresses, home/work telephone numbers and places of employment" redacted), reh'g denied in pertinent part, No. C-97-78, slip op. at 13-14 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 26, 1999); Chi. Tribune Co. v. HHS, No. 95 C 3917, 1997 WL 1137641, at **18-19 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 26, 1997) (magistrate's recommendation) (ordering release of breast cancer patient data forms that identify patients only by nine-digit encoded "Study Numbers"), adopted (N.D. Ill. Mar. 28, 1997); Minntech Corp. v. HHS, No. 92-2720, slip op. at 5 (D.D.C. Nov. 17, 1993) (ordering release of FDA studies concerning mortality rates and use of kidney dialyzers with names, addresses, places of birth, and last four digits of social security numbers deleted); Frets v. Dep't of Transp., No. 88-404-W-9, 1989 WL 222608, at *5 (W.D. Mo. Dec. 14, 1989) (ordering disclosure of urinalysis reports of air traffic controllers with identities deleted); Citizens for Envtl. Quality v. USDA, 602 F. Supp. 534, 538-39 (D.D.C. 1984) (ordering disclosure of health test results because identity of single agency employee tested could not, after deletion of his name, be ascertained from any information known outside appropriate part of agency (citing Rose, 425 U.S. at 380 n.19 (dicta))).

    269. See Chamberlain, 589 F.2d at 841-42; cf. Senate of P.R. v. Dep't of Justice, No. 84-1829, 1993 WL 364696, at **10-11 (D.D.C. Aug. 24, 1993) (ordering release of information concerning cooperating inmate after redaction of identifying details).

    270. 425 U.S. at 381.

    271. 993 F.2d 570, 575 (6th Cir. 1993), modified, No. 92-5820 (6th Cir. July 9, 1993), reh'g denied (6th Cir. Aug. 12, 1993); see also Dayton Newspapers, Inc. v. VA, 257 F. Supp. 2d 988, 1006 (S.D. Ohio 2003) (ordering release of birthdates of individuals in claims database on basis that birthdates alone cannot be used to identify individuals).

    272. Norwood v. FAA, No. 92-5820, slip op. at 1 (6th Cir. July 9, 1993).

    273. Manos v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, No. C-92-3986, slip op. at 2-5 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 24, 1993), reconsideration denied (N.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 1993).

    274. Id. at 3; cf. Heat & Frost Insulators & Asbestos Workers, Local 16 v. United States Dep't of the Air Force, No. S92-2177, slip op. at 2-4 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 4, 1993) (ordering release of certified payroll records -- with names, addresses, social security numbers, race, and gender deleted -- even though number of characteristics revealed and small number of workers would make it likely that knowledgeable person could identify workers).

    275. Dayton Newspapers, Inc. v. Dep't of the Air Force, 107 F. Supp. 2d 912, 919 (S.D. Ohio 1999).

    276. Id.

    277. Dayton Newspapers, Inc., 257 F. Supp. 2d at 1001-05 & n.19 (rejecting government's argument that names could be used as search terms in online databases in order to learn identities of claimants).

    278. Reporters Comm., 489 U.S. at 765, 770-71 (recognizing threats to privacy from data stored in computerized databases).

    279. Carter, 830 F.2d at 391; see also, e.g., Marzen v. HHS, 825 F.2d 1148, 1152 (7th Cir. 1987) (concluding that redaction of "identifying characteristics" would not protect the privacy of a deceased infant's family because others could ascertain the identity and "would learn the intimate details connected with the family's ordeal"); Campaign for Family Farms v. Veneman, No. 99-1165, 2001 WL 1631459, at *3 (D. Minn. July 19, 2001) (finding that disclosure of zip codes and dates of signatures could identify signers of petition); Ligorner v. Reno, 2 F. Supp. 2d 400, 405 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) (finding that redaction of a complaint letter to the Office of Professional Responsibility would be inadequate to protect the identities of the individual accused of misconduct and of the accuser, because "public could deduce the identities of the individuals whose names appear in the document from its context").

    280. See, e.g., Alirez v. NLRB, 676 F.2d 423, 428 (10th Cir. 1982) (finding that mere deletion of names and other identifying data concerning small group of co-workers inadequate to protect them from embarrassment or reprisals because requester could still possibly identify individuals) (Exemption 7(C)); Rothman, No. 94-8151, slip op. at 8-9 (C.D. Cal. June 17, 1996) (protecting information in employment applications that pertains to knowledge, skills, and abilities of unsuccessful applicants, because the "field of candidates for this particular position (canine officer) is specialized and is limited to about forty persons who work in same agency and may know each other personally"); McLeod, No. 94-1924, slip op. at 6 (D.D.C. Feb. 9, 1996) (concluding that redaction of investigative memoranda and witness statements would not protect privacy when "community of possible witnesses and investigators is very small" -- eight officers and twenty enlisted personnel) (Exemption 7(C)); Barvick, 941 F. Supp. at 1021-22 (protecting all information about unsuccessful federal job applicants because any information about members of "select group" that applies for such job could identify them); Harry v. Dep't of the Army, No. 92-1654, slip op. at 9 (D.D.C. Sept. 13, 1993) (concluding that redaction of ROTC personnel records was impossible because "intimate character" of ROTC corps at requester's university would make records recognizable to him); Frets, 1989 WL 222608, at *4 (determining that disclosure of handwritten statements would identify those who came forward with information concerning drug use by air traffic controllers even if names were redacted).

    281. Rashid v. United States Dep't of Justice, No. 99-2461, slip op. at 15-16 (D.D.C. June 12, 2001); see Whitehouse v. United States Dep't of Labor, 997 F. Supp. 172, 175 (D. Mass. 1998) (discerning "no practical way" to sanitize "personal and unique" medical evaluation reports to prevent identification by knowledgeable reader); Ortiz v. HHS, 874 F. Supp. 570, 573-75 (S.D.N.Y.) (finding that factors such as type style, grammar, syntax, language usage, writing style, and mention of facts "that would reasonably be known only by a few persons" could lead to identification of the author if an anonymous letter were released) (Exemptions 7(C) and 7(D)), aff'd on Exemption 7(D) grounds, 70 F.3d 729 (2d Cir. 1995); cf. Schulte v. VA, No. 86-6251, slip op. at 11 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 2, 1996) (finding that disclosure of mortality data for cardiac surgery programs compiled by VA as part of medical quality assurance program would be identified with head cardiac surgeon at any VA facility with only one attending head surgeon) (Exemption 3 (38 U.S.C. § 5705 (2000))).

    282. Cappabianca v. Comm'r, United States Customs Serv., 847 F. Supp. 1558, 1565 (M.D. Fla. 1994).

    283. See, e.g., Hunt, 972 F.2d at 288 (holding that "public availability" of an accused FBI agent's name does not defeat privacy protection and "would make redactions of [the agent's name in] the file a pointless exercise"); Claudio v. Soc. Sec. Admin., No. H-98-1911, slip op. at 14 (S.D. Tex. May 24, 2000) (observing that redaction of documents concerning named subject "would prove meaningless"); Mueller, 63 F. Supp. 2d at 744 (noting that when requested documents relate to a specific individual, "deleting [her] name from the disclosed documents, when it is known that she was the subject of the investigation, would be pointless"); Chin, No. 97-2176, slip op. at 5 (W.D. La. June 24, 1999) (observing that deletion of identifying information "fails to protect the identity of [the individual] who is named in the FOIA request"); Cotton, 798 F. Supp. at 27 (determining that releasing any portion of the documents would "abrogate the privacy interests" when the request is for documents pertaining to two named individuals); Schonberger, 508 F. Supp. at 945 (stating that no segregation was possible when request was for one employee's file).

    284. See, e.g., Reporters Comm., 489 U.S. at 757, 780; Dunkelberger, 906 F.2d at 782; Antonelli v. FBI, 721 F.2d 615, 617-19 (7th Cir. 1983); see also FOIA Update, Vol. VII, No. 1, at 3.

    285. See FOIA Update, Vol. VII, No. 2, at 2 (discussing "Glomarization" in context of non-law enforcement records).

    286. See, e.g., United States Dep't of State v. Wash. Post Co., 456 U.S. 595, 596 (1982) (describing agency's denial of request for any documentation of any United States citizenship status of two Iranian nationals, which amounted to "Glomarization").

    287. See, e.g., Beck, 997 F.2d at 1493 (refusing to confirm or deny existence of disciplinary records pertaining to named DEA agents) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)); Dunkelberger, 906 F.2d at 782 (refusing to confirm or deny existence of letter of reprimand or suspension of FBI agent) (Exemption 7(C)); Jefferson v. United States Dep't of Justice, Office of Inspector General, No. 01-1418, slip op. at 11-13 (D.D.C. Nov. 14, 2003) (deciding that although OIG had released documents about officially confirmed investigation into employee, agency correctly refused to confirm or deny existence of any other OIG record about employee) (Exemption 7(C)); Claudio, No. H-98-1911, slip op. at 14 (S.D. Tex. May 23, 2000) (affirming agency's refusal to confirm or deny existence of any record reflecting any investigation of administrative law judge); Early, No. 95-0254, slip op. at 2-3 (D.D.C. Apr. 30, 1996) (upholding Office of Professional Responsibility's refusal to confirm or deny existence of complaints or investigations concerning performance of professional duties of one United States district court judge and two Assistant United States Attorneys) (Exemption 7(C)); Cotton, 798 F. Supp. at 26 n.8 (suggesting that "the better course would have been for the Government to refuse to confirm or deny the existence of responsive materials"); Ray v. United States Dep't of Justice, 778 F. Supp. 1212, 1213-15 (S.D. Fla. 1991) (upholding agency's refusal to confirm or deny existence of investigative records concerning federal immigration officer) (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)). But see Jefferson v. Dep't of Justice, 284 F.3d 172, 174 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (declining to uphold OPR's use of the "Glomar response as to all of its files in the absence of an evidentiary showing" that it maintained no "non-law enforcement files regarding" the subject of the request); Kimberlin, 139 F.3d at 946-47 (regarding "Glomar" response as certainly inapplicable once subject publicly acknowledges investigation).

    288. See FOIA Update, Vol. VII, No. 2, at 2; see also Ray v. United States Dep't of Justice, 558 F. Supp. 226, 228 (D.D.C. 1982) (dicta) (upholding agency's refusal to confirm or deny existence of records pertaining to plaintiff's former attorney), aff'd, 720 F.2d 216 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (unpublished table decision).

    289. See FOIA Update, Vol. VII, No. 1, at 3 (explaining that "only through the consistent application of this masked response to third-party requests . . . can the privacy of those who are in fact mentioned in [particularly sensitive agency] files be protected").

    290. See id.

Go to: Table of Contents
Updated July 23, 2014