Clinton Accused of Blocking Release of White House Papers

A reporter for The New York Sun charges that, despite promises to the contrary, many of Hillary Clinton’s papers are being withheld from the public on the request of the Clintons:

The National Archives is withholding from the public about 2,600 pages of records at President Clinton’s direction, despite a public assurance by one of his top aides last month that Mr. Clinton “has not blocked the release of a single document.”

The 2,600 pages, stored at Mr. Clinton’s library in Arkansas, were deemed to contain “confidential advice” and, therefore, “closed” under the Presidential Records Act, an Archives spokeswoman, Susan Cooper, told The New York Sun yesterday.

An official who oversees the presidential libraries operated by the federal government, Sharon Fawcett, said in a recent interview that the records were withheld in accordance with a letter Mr. Clinton wrote in 1994 exercising his right to hold back certain types of files and another letter in 2002 about narrowing the scope of his earlier instructions. Asked by National Journal whether Mr. Clinton had “total control” over the closure of records under the confidential-advice provisions of the law, Ms. Fawcett said he did.

At a Democratic presidential debate in October, Senator Clinton was questioned about language in the 2002 letter that discussed the possibility of withholding some records about the former first lady. Mr. Clinton later called the questions “breathtakingly misleading” and complained bitterly that his wife had been sandbagged.

“Bill Clinton has not blocked the release of a single document,” the former president’s official representative on records issues, Bruce Lindsey, said in a written statement last month aimed at defusing criticism in the press and by one of Mrs. Clinton’s rivals for the Democratic nomination, Senator Obama of Illinois. Spokesmen for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign and Mr. Clinton’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

There are two areas of concern here (beyond the question of whether Clinton lied about this matter). As Hillary Clinton is running largely based upon her unique experience in the White  House, we should have the opportunity to evaluate her role with regards to formulation of policy. The other concern is that we are now experiencing an administration which has been overly secretive and we must question whether we will tolerate the same from a Democratic administration.

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