Gawker historian in residence John Cook has fun poking the National Archives for their deference to former greats.
The George W. Bush administration’s papers are squirrelled away, and no, you can’t see them till Bush is done with them. Bush left office having made a hash of his electronic records, resisting disclosure to the end despite estimates millions of emails had gone missing. In retirement only Bush and Ghost Who Walks Cheney have access to the goods until 2014, so Cook has been mischievously asking what our betters have been asking the National Archives for, FOIA-ing the records of their document requests.
The Archives will have none of that nonsense. They’ve denied his request for what are clearly public records, showing a tender concern for Bush’s privacy not demonstrated by the man himself.
Archives have had a pattern of hiding their dealings with past greats, refusing historian Anthony Clark‘s requests for records on the foundations all the Presidential Libraries run to keep their guy’s image ever shinier.
Deference to greatness reached it’s apogee under the last Archivist of the United States. Bush appointee Alan Weinstein remained mute over the Bush email destruction by deed or sloth, and reacted to Bush’s grabbing censorship rights for ex Presidents and their decendants by inventing the happy club of “presidential families” who he hoped and prayed would do right by history and release the stranglehold on facts Bush granted them.
And then retired. Good to see the current team is upholding the tradition of cringing deference.