The complainant submitted a request to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for documents concerning the attempted bombing of an El Al flight that was to fly out from Heathrow Airport in April 1986. The FCO provided the complainant with some of the information but withheld the remainder on the basis of section 23(1) (security bodies), sections 27(1)(a) and (2) (international relations) and section 40(2) (personal data) of FOIA. The complainant challenged the FCO’s reliance on sections 27(1)(a) and (2). The Commissioner has concluded that the FCO has correctly relied on section 27(1)(a) and this exemption also provides a basis to withhold the information to which section 27(2) was applied. However, she has also concluded that the FCO breached section 17(3) by failing to complete its public interest test considerations within a reasonable timeframe.
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