Critical Infrastructure Information Disclosure and Homeland Security [Updated August 31, 2002] [open pdf - 193KB]
"Critical infrastructures have been defined as those systems and assets so vital to the United States that the incapacity of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on the United States. One of the findings of the Presidents Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, established by President Clinton in 1996, was the need for the federal government and owners and operators of the nations critical infrastructures to share information on vulnerabilities and threats. However, the Commission noted that owners and operators are reluctant to share confidential business information, and the government is reluctant to share information that might compromise intelligence sources or investigations. Among the strategies to help owners and operators share information with the federal government was a proposal to exempt the information they share from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed to ensure by statute citizen access to government information. Nine categories of information may be exempted from disclosure. Three of the nine exemptions provide possible protection against the release of critical infrastructure information: exemption 1 (national security information); exemption 3 (information exempted by statute); and exemption 4 (confidential business information). Congress has considered several proposals to exempt critical infrastructure information from the FOIA. Generally, the legislation has either created an exemption 3 statute, or codified the standard adopted by the D.C. Circuit in exemption 4 cases."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31547
University of Maryland School of Law: http://www.law.umaryland.edu/