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High court questions broad use of FOIA exemption

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court is questioning the government’s broad use of an exemption in the federal Freedom of Information Act to withhold documents from the public.

The justices heard argument Wednesday in an appeal from Glen Milner, a Washington state resident who sued under FOIA for maps showing the extent of damage expected from an explosion at the Navy’s main West Coast ammunition dump on an island near Port Townsend in western Washington.

The Obama administration is defending the decision to deny Milner the maps under a provision of FOIA that exempts from disclosure documents “related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.