Why does the USGS invoke Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Exemption 5 (deliberative process privilege)?

FOIA Exemption 5 (deliberative process privilege) applies to inter-agency or intra-agency records where, for instance, there is a work product that is in draft format or documents that contain deliberations between parties leading up to a decision (including what to publish or not to publish in one of our products).

The purpose of the privilege is to:

  • Encourage open, frank discussions on matters of policy between subordinates and superiors;

  • Protect against premature disclosure of proposed policies before they are adopted or draft publications/products before they are published;

  • Protect against public confusion that might result from disclosure of reason and rationales that were not, in fact, ultimately the grounds for a bureau’s action.  

For more information, see the Department of Justice FOIA Guide, page 13.

Related Content

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When should I use a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request information?

All USGS products and publications are in the public domain. Most are readily available for free download on our website. Before launching a potentially time-consuming Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, make sure that the information you need cannot be easily obtained by immediate means. Visit the USGS website , explore our FOIA Reading...

How do I request information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

There are several ways to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request: Submit a request through the National FOIA Portal . Use the Department of the Interior’s FOIA Request Form . Email your request to foia@usgs.gov . Put “Freedom of Information Act Request” in the subject line. Write a letter to the USGS FOIA Office using one of the...

What information should I include in my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?

While you are not required to give a reason for your request, you should be as specific as possible when describing the records that you seek. That will produce faster and better results. Phrases like “any and all” can significantly delay the processing time and potentially increase your processing fee. Prior to submitting your request, we suggest...

Can I ask that any Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processing fees be waived?

Yes, you can request a waiver of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processing fees. Under the FOIA, fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities...

Is there a cost for obtaining federal records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

By law, the USGS is authorized to charge Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processing fees to requesters in order to recover the direct costs of search, review, and duplication of requested records. The fees depend on the requester category into which you fall. If the total costs of supplying the requested information is less than $50, the USGS...

Does the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cover contract-related requests?

Yes, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) covers contract-related requests. Prior to submitting your request, check USAspending.gov to determine what information about the contract is already publicly available. If you decide to submit a FOIA request, please provide the award ID number or the name of the awardee so that we can quickly search for...

How do I check the status of my U.S. Geological Survey Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?

Check the status of your FOIA request using the Department of the Interior’s Track Your FOIA Request webpage. Additionally, you can check the status of your FOIA request (This is only for information from the U.S. Geological Survey) by contacting the USGS FOIA office using any of the following methods: Email: foia@usgs.gov Mail: P.O. Box 411, Bel...

What information/data is NOT covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

Information/data that is NOT covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) includes: Non-agency records and personal records. Public requests for access to physical artifacts or scientific samples (e.g. core samples, sediment, rocks, fossils, specimen samples, blood samples). Access to some samples can be arranged through our laboratories...

What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine...
Filter Total Items: 8
Graphic - Archives
April 3, 2018

Graphic - Archives

Graphic - Archive

Image: Central Region Library Field Records Collection
August 1, 2008

Central Region Library Field Records Collection

The USGS Denver Library, Field Records Collection is an archive of unpublished field notes, maps, correspondence, manuscripts, analysis reports, and other data created or collected by USGS Geologic Discipline scientists during field studies and other project work. Materials in the collection represent almost 130 years of scientific investigations by the USGS, from the

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Graphic - Archives
April 3, 2018

Graphic - Archives

Graphic - Archive

Image: Records Preservation
April 9, 2009

Records Preservation

Older materials and recently arrived items in the Field Records Collection are in various states of preservation and documentation. In the current reorganization project, items are inventoried for content, transferred to archival storage containers, and archived as shelf items (notebooks and file folders), flat files (maps and diagrams), or in rolls (large-format maps and

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USGS Core Research Center warehouse
October 14, 2014

USGS Core Research Center warehouse

USGS Core Research Center warehouse.