The Justice Department released guidance Thursday on how agencies ought to implement a provision of the 2007 Freedom of Information Act amendments.
The amendments require them to specifically cite the exemption justifying each redaction to a document requested under FOIA. Agencies also have to mark documents in such a way that shows how much information is being redacted.
“First, the amount of information that is being withheld, and now also the exemption under which the withholding is being made, should be indicated on the released portion of the record itself,” the guidance from the Office of Information Privacy stated.
“The FOIA has long contained an exception to this requirement for those instances where revealing the amount and location of the information being redacted would harm an interest protected by the exemption being asserted," the guidance continued. "This exception now also includes the situation where revealing the exemption itself on the face of the released-in-part document would harm an interest protected by the exemption."
The guidance also offered several illustrations of the appropriate way to redact the documents.