The Navy has denied requester Theo Karantsalis's appeal of withholdings made on a 40 year old navy jet crash investigation pursuant to the deliberative process and the little used witness statement privilege of Exemption 5. The entire letter can be seen on Springyleaks.com.
The letter states that the Navy considered a discretionary disclosure but that somehow the release of these documents would compromise the current aircraft safety process. However, as the Navy's statement is conclusory and doesn't say exactly how the current aircraft safety process would be compromised it seems that this statement is merely boileplate and something the Navy has been told to include in its letters. If there really is a harm in releasing the information, the Navy (and other agencies) should state exactly what that harm is. I would suggest that Attorney General Holder revise his FOIA Guidlines to insist that agency articulate the harm to requesters.