476 U.S. 693 (1986) BOWEN, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL. v. ROY ET AL. No. 84-780. Supreme Court of United States. Argued January 14, 1986 Decided June 11, 1986 APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA *694 Deputy Solicitor General Geller argued the cause for appellants. With him on the briefs were Solicitor General Fried, Acting Assistant Attorney General Willard, Kathryn A. Oberly, and Peter R. Maier. Gary S. Gildin argued the cause for appellees. With him on the brief were Franklin A. Miles, Jr., Stefan Presser, and Charles S. Sims.[*] […]

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The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U. S. C. § 552 (1976 ed. and Supp. IV), does not require the disclosure of "investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes" when the release of such records would interfere with effective law enforcement, impede the administration of justice, constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy, or produce certain other specified consequences. § 552(b)(7).[1]*618 The sole question presented in this case is whether information contained in records compiled for law enforcement purposes loses that exempt status when it is incorporated into records compiled for purposes other than law enforcement.

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The Federal Open Market Committee has a practice, authorized by regulation, 12 CFR § 271.5 (1978),[1] of withholding *343 certain monetary policy directives from the public during the month they are in effect. At the end of the month, the directives are published in full in the Federal Register. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that this practice violates the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U. S. C. § 552. 184 U. S. App. D. C. 203, 565 F. 2d 778 (1977). We granted certiorari on the strength of the Committee's representations that this ruling could seriously interfere with the implementation of national monetary policy. 436 U. S. 917 (1978).

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The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U. S. C. § 552, mandates that the Government make its records available to the public. Section 552(b)(5) exempts from disclosure "inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party . . . in litigation with the agency." It is well established that this exemption was intended to encompass the attorney work-product rule. The question presented in this case is the extent, if any, to which the work-product component of Exemption 5 applies when the litigation for which the requested documents were generated has been terminated.

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The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U. S. C. § 552, empowers federal courts to order an "agency" to produce "agency records improperly withheld" from an individual requesting access. § 552 (a) (4) (B). We hold here that written data generated, owned, and possessed by a privately controlled organization receiving federal study grants are not "agency records" within the meaning of the Act when copies of those data have not been obtained by a federal agency subject to the FOIA. Federal participation in the generation of the data by means of a grant from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) does not make the private organization a federal "agency" within the terms of the Act. Nor does this federal funding in combination with a federal right of access render the data "agency records" of HEW, which is a federal "agency" under the terms of the Act.

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In September 1979, respondent Washington Post Co. filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U. S. C. § 552, requesting certain documents from petitioner United States Department of State. The subject of the request was defined as "documents indicating whether Dr. Ali Behzadnia and Dr. Ibrahim Yazdi . . . hold valid U. S. passports." App. 8. The request indicated that respondent would "accept any record held by the Passport Office indicating whether either of these persons is an American citizen." Ibid. At the time of the request, both Behzadnia and Yazdi were Iranian nationals living in Iran.

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