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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.

b5

Also known as 5 U.S.C. ยง 552(b)(5) B5.

Thank you to Michael Morisy 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)(5) exempts “inter-agency or intra-agency memorandum or letters” which would be privileged in civil litigation.

Proper Use

Often invoked in cases of deliberative process involving agency lawyers, B5 can often broadly apply to material of public interest. Courts have determined that it correctly only applies to “pre-decisional” information, to protect free and frank debate about policy options.

Key Citations

Ryan v. Dept. of Justice, 617 F. 2d 781, 790-91 (D.C. Cir. 1980).