The US Attorney General issued a memorandum on March 19, 2009 revising Department of Justice (DOJ) policy regarding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The memorandum states that agencies “should not withhold information simply because it may do so legally.” The Attorney General instead strongly encourages agencies to make “discretionary” disclosures of information: “An agency should not withhold records merely because it can demonstrate, as a technical matter, that the records fall within the scope of a FOIA exemption.” The memorandum rescinds an October 2001 Attorney General memorandum which stated that the DOJ would defend decisions to withhold records requested under FOIA unless the decisions “lack a sound legal basis or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records.” The DOJ will now defend the denial of a FOIA request only if (1) the agency reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the statutory exemptions or (2) disclosure is prohibited by law. The Attorney General’s Memorandum may be found at The Government’s looser standard for releasing information under FOIA may force more contractors to turn to the courts to protect confidential information from being released to their competitors and other third parties. In that regard, a US district court recently held that a multiple award contractor’s e-mails to the Government regarding the eligibility of another contractor to receive work were exempt from disclosure under FOIA because they contained confidential commercial information. Tybrin Corp. v. US Dept. of Air Force, No. 3:08-cv-002 (S.D. Ohio Feb. 19, 2009). (For a detailed discussion of emerging FOIA policies, see “FEATURE COMMENT: The Obama Administration’s Emerging Policies on Freedom of Information, Transparency and Open Government – New Benefits and Costs for Government Contractors?”)