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Fire In the Memory Hole!

August 11, 2005

Orwellian? Kafkaesque? Whatever.

Is it gettin’ weird in here, or is it just me? A little too weird. Eerily and disturbingly like all those faraway (I’d thought) novels:

[Emphasis added.] It set off a furor at the time among historians, archivists and librarians. They said it all but repealed the Presidential Records Act, a 1978 law that decreed a president’s records were public property, not the private property of the former president. Under this law, a former president’s papers were to be opened to the public 12 years after he left office. Exceptions could be made for national security reasons.

Bush’s executive order added a new check. It said the “incumbent president may assert any constitutionally based privilege” after the 12 years had lapsed to block the release of files. Included among these many privileges were “records that reflect . . . legal advice or legal work.”

This week, several Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned whether White House lawyers were using this authority to delay the release of memos written by Roberts in the mid-1980s, when he was a White House lawyer.

Los Angeles Times: Bush Order Lets Him Control Roberts’ Memos

I worry.

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