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President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Freedom of Information Act on July 4, 1966, after a 10-year concerted effort by Congress. The law was commonly referred to as FOIA, and it required that government-held information be available to the public unless it is considered to be designated among nine categories of exclusions. These exemptions include information that is restricted for national security, law enforcement investigation records, government employee personnel records, medical records, banking records, trade secrets required by government registration, internal government agency memoranda, geological and geophysical data on oil and gas wells, and any material explicitly exempt by an act of Congress.

The two-page bill not only included the nine exemptions to available information, but also said that agencies must provide notice ...

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