FOIA contains a number of exemptions that permit agencies to withhold responsive records or portions thereof in response to a request. Agencies may invoke more than one exemption at a time. In Poitras v. Dep’t of Homeland Sec., the FBI argued that portions of the filmmakers’ requested information was exempt under Exemptions 5, 7(A), 7(D), and 7(E).  The court analyzed each exemption separately and granted summary judgment for the government. 
List of Exemptions
Visit the following pages to read about FOIA's exemptions in more detail:
- Exemption 1
- Exemption 2
- Exemption 3
- Exemption 4
- Exemption 5
- Exemption 6
- Exemption 7
- Exemption 8
- Exemption 9
Non-responsiveness not a basis for withholding part of a responsive record
The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has held that the redaction of non-responsive material within records that are otherwise responsive is improper. "[O]nce an agency itself identifies a particular document or collection of material—such as a chain of emails—as a responsive 'record,' the only information the agency may redact from that record is that falling within one of the statutory exemptions."
- 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)
- Poitras v. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 303 F. Supp. 3d 136, 151-59 (D.D.C. 2018).
- Id. at 164.
- American Immigration Lawyers Association v. Executive Office for Immigration Review, 830 F.3d 667 (D.C. Cir. 2016), available at http://foiaproject.org/dc_view/?id=3004220-DC-15-5201-appeal-opinion
- American Immigration Lawyers Association v. Executive Office for Immigration Review, 830 F.3d at 678-79