The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C 552, is a federal statute that provides a process by which every person may request access to federal agency records. Federal agencies are required to disclose records upon receiving a written request for them unless those records are protected from disclosure by any of the nine exemptions and three exclusions* of the FOIA. The FOIA applies only to federal agencies and the records in its custody. The FOIA does not create an access to records held by Congress, the courts or by state and local governments. The FOIA allows agencies to charge fees for costs related to providing the requested documents. All requesters are placed into one of the fee categories.

The FOIA does not require agencies to answer questions, or to create records to respond to a request.


The FOIA establishes nine broad categories of information that may require protection. If DLA denies any part of your request, we will explain the reasons for the denial, which FOIA exemptions apply, and your right to appeal our decisions. Briefly, the exemptions protect:

  • Classified material
  • Internal personnel rules and practices
  • Information prohibited from release by other Federal statute
  • Trade secret, commercial, and financial data submitted in confidence
  • Government privileged information
  • Information affecting personal privacy
  • Information compiled for law enforcement purposes
  • Bank regulation documents
  • Information pertaining to wells

* The three exclusions are rarely used and pertain to particularly sensitive law enforcement and national security matters.