A Singular Lack of Honesty
Bush's Veil Over History - New York Times: "… But perhaps the most egregious example occurred on Nov. 1, 2001, when President Bush signed Executive Order 13233, under which a former president's private papers can be released only with the approval of both that former president (or his heirs) and the current one.
Before that executive order, the National Archives had controlled the release of documents under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which stipulated that all papers, except those pertaining to national security, had to be made available 12 years after a president left office.
Unless one of these efforts succeeds, George W. Bush and his father can see to it that their administrations pass into history without examination. Their rationales for waging wars in the Middle East will go unchallenged. There will be no chance to weigh the arguments that led the administration to condone torture by our armed forces. The problems of federal agencies entrusted with public welfare during times of national disaster - 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina - will be unaddressed. Details on no-bid contracts awarded to politically connected corporations like Halliburton will escape scrutiny, as will the president's role in Environmental Protection Agency's policies on water and air polluters.
This is about much more than the desires of historians and biographers - the best interests of the nation are at stake. As the American Political Science Association, one plaintiff in the federal lawsuit, put it: 'The only way we can improve the operation of government, enhance the accountability of decision-makers and ultimately help maintain public trust in government is for people to understand how it worked in the past.'"