The Unstoppables


Bullets bounce off, facts won’t deter them. The Clinton Library has become the never ending story for the right and careless reporters, each supposidly new revelation stoking rage and generating acres of blog ink with insightful headlines on the order of “HMMMMM.”

And if possible, a Sandy Berger reference. berger-documents-graphic.jpg

Further proof is the silence which has greeted a lengthy interview with the actual person in charge of all the Presidential Library’s archives. Assistant archivist for presidential libraries Sharon Fawcett spoke to The National Journal, and illuminated many of the myths that lay over the Clinton archives.

Result? Zippo in Technorati, until The New York Sun‘s Josh Gertstein wrote a piece claiming facts contradicted her professions of openness.

It’s a classic shape shifting story.

Headline: “2,600 Pages of Clinton Records Withheld”

– What? They are records of Clinton’s Administration, now held by the National Archives and being processed for release or not at the Clinton Library. You could say “Clinton Records” is headline shorthand, but they are not his possession. And it further’s the line that no matter the outrage, the answer is Clinton.

Who done it? Gerstein doesn’t know but chooses to lay it on Clinton’s designated paper flack catcher Bruce Lindsey. Lindsey is the person assigned to review documents for Clinton, as provided for in current law. And archives operates in part under a letter in which Clinton laid out areas he was concerned to review. Read down in the piece to where the Archives spokesperson says “Not all of those pages were closed by Mr. Lindsey, in fact, the National Archives does the first set of processing. … At least some of those materials were closed by our archivists.”

How big is the document universe and how slow is release at the Clinton Library? Fawcett’s numbers show that the Clinton is not out of line from the pattern for Ex Presidents.

In 2009 Archives’ ten people in Little Rock hope to go through a new 200,000 out of 118 million document pages in the Clinton Library. Archives has done 8 of the 43 million pages at the Reagan, 5.5 million of 34 million at the Bush Library.

And Clinton couldn’t put his papers out now if he wanted to.

“The Archives still has to conduct a review for other restrictive categories: for national security, for third-party privacy information. These records will be highly sought after when they come out, so we need to go through and redact phone numbers and Social Security numbers, and other information that could be damaging to a person’s personal privacy, so those are the kinds of things that slow down the process… that’s the kind of information that we go through page by page and look at.”

There is endless detail more in the interview, it isn’t the last word and I’m perfectly prepared to enjoy the Clinton Conspiracy when it’s proven, but until then the Unstoppables could take a rest.

But won’t. clinton-rnc-library-card.gif

Comments are closed.