Answering questions about unanswered questions

Good Morning! After yesterday’s chilly 39° to 45° (F) weather, today is a relatively balmy 54° in Boston. A good blogging day; unfortunately I need to study.

I got a couple of good questions about some of the things I’ve written that I wanted to respond to. Michael Terry asks, “What new categories of information or action is the administration keeping secret?” I should have done a bit more link research before posting the pointer in question, covering John Dean’s editorial. Dean was concerned in general about Bush’s “mania for secrecy,” including building an Office of Homeland Security with the authority to classify anything it deems appropriate as top secret.

But in particular he was concerned about Executive Order 13233, Bush’s gutting of the 1978 Presidential Records act (44 U.S.C. 2201-2207) and of Reagan’s 1989 Executive Order 12669 that implemented it. The original act was intended to ensure that presidential records were made public. The new act ostensibly defines a procedure to make the records public. But the devil is in the details. The President or former President may indefinitely review the documents to be made public; during this period the public has no access to the documents. It explicitly gives a sitting President the right to block release of the records of a former President. It extends the protection to the records of the Vice President. It’s interesting that this order was issued now, when there are a lot of people in power who were in office during the Reagan administration.

There was a second question that I will address later. Got to run now.