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January 24, 2010


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Not so obvious. Don't forget about Executive Order 12,600 and the Trade Secrets Act.


Neither the Trade Secrets Act or Executive Order 12,600 have anything to do with the arguments these agencies were trying to make about National Security. These agencies appear to be trying to shut the barn door well after all of the livestock has ran far away.


Having re-read the article, I don't see that the agencies are actually relying on "national security" as a basis to withhold any information. It's true that the agencies indicated that they would physically handle the documents in the same way as classified records (e.g., put in a locked vault) -- but that's a far cry from actually relying upon Exemption 1. It seems to me that the "confidential treatment" request from AIG more clearly fits within the agencies' reliance upon Exemption 4, because the commercial information at issue would likely trigger the EO predisclosure notification requirements. Of course, that benign view doesn't make for as good a story.

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