« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
FOIA by various provisions of the Act, see 5 U. S. C. $$ 552 (b)(5), (7)(A), (C), (D) (1976 ed.). He placed particular reliance on Exemption 7 (A), which provides that disclosure is not required of “matters that are . investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such records would ... interfere with enforcement proceedings.” 5 U. S. C. $ 552 (b)(7)(A) (1976 ed.).
Respondent appealed to the Board's General Counsel. Before expiration of the 20-day period within which FOIA requires such appeals to be decided, 5 U. S. C. $ 552 (a)(6) (A)(ii) (1976 ed.), respondent filed this action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, pursuant to 5 U. S. C. 8 552 (a)(4)(B) (1976 ed.). The complaint sought not only disclosure of the statements, but also a preliminary injunction against proceeding with the unfair labor practice hearing pending final adjudication of the FOIA claim and a permanent injunction against holding the hearing until the documents had been disclosed. At argument in the District Court, the Board contended, inter alia, that these statements were exempt from disclosure under Exemption 7 (A), because their production would “interfere” with a pending enforcement proceeding. The District Court held that, since the Board did not claim that release of the documents at issue would pose any unique or unusual danger of interference with this particular enforcement proceeding, Exemption 7 (A) did not apply. App. 62, 91. It therefore directed the Board to provide the statements for copying on or before April 22, 1976, or at least five days before any hearing where the person making the statement would be called as a witness.
On the Board's appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit commenced its discussion by observing that while "[t]his is a (FOIA] case, ... it takes on the troubling coloration of a dispute about the discovery rights .
in (NLRB] proceedings.” 563 F. 2d 724, 726 (1977). It concluded first that the legislative history of certain amendments to FOIA in 1974 demonstrated that Exemption 7 (A) was to be available only where there was a specific evidentiary showing of the possibility of actual interference in an individual case. Id., at 728. It therefore framed the Exemption 7 (A) issue as "whether pre-hearing disclosure of the contents of statements made by those prepared to testify in support of the Board's case would actually 'interfere with the Board's case." Id., at 727. .
In addressing this question, the Court of Appeals rejected the Board's argument that the premature revelation of its case that would flow from production of the statements prior to the hearing was the kind of “interference” that would justify nondisclosure under the 1974 amendments. Reasoning that the only statements sought were those of witnesses whose prior statements would, under the Board's own rules, be disclosed to respondent following the witnesses' hearing testimony, the court also rejected as inapplicable the argument that potential witnesses would refrain from giving statements at all if prehearing disclosure were available. Id., at 729–731. Finally, while the Court of Appeals agreed with the Board that there was "some risk of interference ... in the form of witness intimidation" during the five-day period between disclosure and the hearing under the District Court's order, it held that the Board had failed to sustain its burden of demonstrating the availability of Exemption 7 (A), because it had "introduced [no] evidence tending to show that this kind of intimidation"
2 As a preliminary matter, the Court of Appeals rejected the Board's argument that the District Court had, in effect, granted an injunction against the Board proceeding, thereby erroneously refusing to require respondent to exhaust its administrative remedies. The court concluded that the District Court had not enjoined the Board proceeding, but had simply conditioned its right to proceed on the Board's complying with respondent's discovery request. 563 F. 2d, at 727.
was in fact likely to occur in this particular case. Id., at 732. Rejecting the Board's other claimed bases of exemption, the Court of Appeals affirmed.
The Board filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, seeking review, inter alia,of the Exemption 7 (A) ruling below, on the ground that the decision was in conflict with the weight of Circuit authority that had followed the lead of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Title Guarantee Co. v. NLRB, 534 F. 2d 484, cert. denied, 429 U. S. 834 (1976). There, on similar facts, the court held that
8 The Board argued that the statements were within the “attorney-workproduct" privilege embodied in Exemption 5, which applies to “interagency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency." 5 U. 8. C. $ 552 (b)(5) (1976 ed.). The Court of Appeals concluded, however, that the witnesses' statements were neither "memorandums" nor "letters" within the meaning of Exemption 5. The Board also suggested that the statements were covered by Exemption 7 (C) or (D), which apply to "'investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes," to the extent that their production would "constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy [or] disclose the identity of a confidential source . The Court of Appeals rejected these claims, noting first that there is "nothing unusual in the nature of personal or family details in these affidavits” that would bring them within the scope of Exemption 7 (C). 563 F. 2d, at 733. With respect to Exemption 7 (D), the court concluded that the Board had failed to prove that the statements sought had been given only by one receiving an assurance of confidentiality. and that it could not so prove since the only statements sought were of witnesses scheduled to testify at the trial. Id., at 733–734.
• The second question in the Board's petition for certiorari seeks review of the holding below that Exemption 5 did not protect these witnesses' statements from disclosure. See n. 3, supra. In light of our disposition of the case in the Board's favor on the basis of our interpretation of Exemption 7, we have no occasion to address the Exemption 5 question.
5 Those decisions that have followed Title Guarantee include New England Medical Center Hospital v. NLRB, 548 F. 2d 377 (CA1 1976); Roger J. Au & Son v. NLRB, 538 F. 2d 80 (CA3 1976); NLRB v. Hardeman Garment Corp., 557 F. 2d 559 (CA6 1977); Abrahamson Chrysler-Plymouth, Inc. v. NLRB, 561 F. 2d 63 (CA7 1977); Harvey's
statements of employees and union representatives obtained in an NLRB investigation leading to an unfair labor practice charge were exempt from disclosure under Exemption 7 (A) until the completion of all reasonably foreseeable administrative and judicial proceedings on the charge. Rejecting the employer's contention that the Board must make a particularized showing of likely interference in each individual case, the Second Circuit found that such interference would "necessarily" result from the production of the statements. 534 F. 2d, at 491.
We granted certiorari to resolve the conflict among the Circuits on this important question of federal statutory law. 434 U. S. 1061 (1978). We now reverse the judgment of the Fifth Circuit.
II We have had several occasions recently to consider the history and purposes of the original FOIA of 1966. See EPA v. Mink, 410 U. S. 73, 79–80 (1973); Renegotiation Board v. Bannercraft Clothing Co., 415 U. S. 1 (1974); NLRB v. Sears, Roebuck' & Co., 421 U. S. 132 (1975); Department of Air Force v. Rose, 425 U. S. 352 (1976). As we have repeatedly emphasized, "the Act is broadly conceived,” EPA v. Mink, supra, at 80, and its "basic policy” is in favor of disclosure, Department of Air Force v. Rose, supra, at 361. In 5 U. S. C. $ 552 (b) (1976 ed.), Congress carefully structured nine exemptions from the otherwise mandatory disclosure requirements in order to protect specified confidentiality and privacy
Wagon Wheel, Inc. v. NLRB, 550 F. 2d 1139 (CA9 1976); Climax Molybdenum Co. v. NLRB, 539 F. 2d 63 (CA10 1976). In a case involving witnesses' statements obtained during a pending Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation, the Fourth Circuit has recently followed the basic approach of the Fifth Circuit in this case and rejected the Title Guarantee rationale. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority v. Perry, 571 F.2d 195 (1978).
interests. But unless the requested material falls within one of these nine statutory exemptions, FOIA requires that records and material in the possession of federal agencies be made available on demand to any member of the general public.
Exemption 7 as originally enacted permitted nondisclosure of "investigatory files compiled for law enforcement purposes except to the extent available by law to a private party.” 80
6 Section 552 (b) in its entirety provides:
"(1)(A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (B) are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive
“(2) related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;
"(3) specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than section 552b of this title), provided that such statute (A) requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or (B) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld;
“(4) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;
“(5) inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with
"(6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
"(7) investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such records would (A) interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) disclose the identity of a confidential source and, in the case of a record compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, confidential information furnished only by the confidential source, (E) disclose investigative techniques and procedures, or (F) endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel;
"(8) contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition