of Thomas S. Blanton, National Security Archive
Before the Subcommittee on Information Policy,
Census, and National Archives of the House Committee on Oversight
and Government Reform, Hearing on: "The Presidential Records
Act of 1978: A Review of Executive Branch Implementation and Compliance,"
March 1, 2007
take on Bush over access to presidential papers"
By Patricia Cohen
International Herald Tribune
March 8, 2007
Tug of War On Presidential Papers' Release"
By Elizabeth Williamson
The Washington Post
March 2, 2007
may loosen Bush grip on papers"
By Sudeep Reddy
The Dallas Morning News
March 2, 2007
Up, Mr. President!"
By Elizabeth Redden
Inside Higher Ed
March 2, 2007
Documents from the Hearing
Summary: Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007
Rep. Henry Waxman, Chairman, Committee on Oversight
and Government Reform
of Rep. Henry A. Waxman
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
by Allen Weinstein
Archivist of the United States
by Harold C. Relyea
of Scott L. Nelson
Public Citizen Litigation Group
of Anna K. Nelson
Distinguished Historian in Residence, American University
DC, March 1, 2007 - Since 2001, the
government has added five years of delay into the process of
releasing presidential records, according to testimony
delievered today by Archive executive director Thomas Blanton
before the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census
and National Archives. These are statistics from the Reagan
Presidential Library - their official estimates of response
times that they send to you when you request documents. The
delay has risen from 18 months in 2001 to 78 months today.
According to Blanton's
late President Ronald Reagan left office 18 years ago, in
January 1989, and the Reagan Library began making his White
House records public in 1994, as the law envisions, with most
restrictions expiring by the 12-year mark, or January 2001.
The Freedom of Information Act says federal agencies have
to respond to requests for records within 20 working days
(roughly four weeks), yet if you write the Reagan Library
today asking for a specific record, the Library staff will
write you back with an estimate of 78 months (six and a half
years!) you will have to wait before they complete processing.
At the 12-year mark, that is, in early 2001, the Reagan Library's
estimated response time was only 18 months. For organizations
like mine that are veteran users of the Freedom of Information
Act, 18 months is not an unusual delay when the subject matter
involves classified documents or complicated processing."
early 2001 is the moment that the new White House counsel
(now the Attorney General) decided to hold up the scheduled
release of the infamous 68,000 pages of Reagan Library records
that were ready to go, cleared by the professional archivists
and the career reviewers, under the process that actually
worked in the 1990s. During 2001, as those 68,000 pages sat
on a White House lawyer's desk, the delay estimated by the
Reagan Library went from 18 months to 24 months, by the time
President Bush issued his Executive Order 13233 in November
2001. Since then, the delay reached 48 months in 2003, and
60 months in 2005, before its current 78 months."
other words, we are only six years down the road from the
initial White House decision in early 2001 to intervene in
the Presidential Records Act process, and five years of that
turns out to be pure delay."
here to read the full statement