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Each entry provides background and context about an exemption to the public records laws in all fifty states, as well as federal FOIA. Read more about United States of America's public records law or explore all our expert FOIA guides. Have a public records appeal or information on an exemption we should include? Consider sharing your knowledge with everyone by donating your FOIA appeal language.


Also known as Internal agency personnel rules and practices.

Thank you to JPat Brown for contributing to this entry. This guide is for informational purposes only, is general in nature, and is not legal opinion nor legal advice regarding any specific issue or factual circumstance.

5 U.S.C. ยง 552(b)(2), Related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.

What it means: Internal agency personnel rules and practices.

What it really means: Anything from trivial HR matters to broad details about how an agency operates day-to-day.

What you can do about it: b(2) is rarely invoked by itself, operating more as an “Oh, and another thing …” exemption. If you’re getting denied something, chances are that b(2) isn’t doing the heavy lifting. That said, the language is worryingly vague and does have the potential to be abused by a particularly creative FOIA officer. If that happens, the Reporter’s Committee for the Freedom of the Press has some great resources.

Proper Use

According to DOJ guidance: (a) internal matters of a relatively trivial nature - often referred to as “low 2” information; (b) more substantial internal matters, the disclosure of which would risk circumvention of a legal requirement - often referred to as “high 2” information.2

Improper Use

Material that could be withheld under exemptions, such as personally identifiable material or security-related matters

Key Citations

DOJ b(2) Guidance