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FIA-13-0069 - In the Matter of National Security Archive

On November 15, 2013, the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) issued a decision remanding an appeal (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the Office of Information Resources.  The Appellant appealed OIR’s decision to withhold information from the released documents pursuant to Exemption 5.  OHA reviewed OIR’s determination letter and concluded that was inadequate.  The determination letter was too vague and conclusory as it did not explain how the decision making process would be compromised by release of the redacted information nor did it sufficiently indicate what information was withheld.  Moreover, the subject matter expert who reviewed the released documents and decided which information should be withheld from them explained that the redactions were made because the documents were in draft form.  However as drafts are not per se exempt, OHA remanded the Appeal to OIR to issue a new determination letter.