This is great, no fantastic.
The Bush Administration has been HIDING much dirt behind this executive order. There is much grumbling on the left about investigations to much of what the Bush Administration has done over the course of the last eight years. Also, this Bush order covered and protected Dick Cheney the mastermind of much chaos in the Middle East.
Bush issued Executive Order 13233 on Nov. 1, 2001, giving ex-presidents and, for the first time, their heirs, broad authority to block release of White House records for any reason and in perpetuity.
Bush administration officials say the change was not significant, but some historians characterize it as a monumental shift in the way presidential papers are treated. The incoming Obama Administration has signaled it will rescind the order.
The Office of the President of the United States is an elected office, not an inherited office, this is the difference. There is much debate going on right now on whether Barack Obama should or should not keep his blackberry. As Obama struggles to keep sanity, with his blackberry and to know what is REALLY going on outside of that presidential bubble, the other reality is that any communication from President Obama is under the Presidential Records Act.
Georgetown University Professor and Presidential tech analyst Diana Owen says that the possible hacking of the Obama BlackBerry is a threat that is best dealt with by not using it at all. And though maintaining the security of personal communications is the main reason why he will be forced off of it, the Presidential Records Act is another thorn in his side. The act says that any correspondence by the President or VP is owned by the public and subject to historical review.
The Bush executive order stated basically that ex-presidents and vice-presidents don't have to hand over or give access to the public any records, only what THEY SEE FIT.
Until the order, the 1978 Presidential Records Act made the records government property and established procedures for release. Under that law, presidents could restrict access to some types of White House records for 12 years after they left office. Exemptions for national security and privacy could be claimed beyond the 12-year period.
In addition to giving ex-presidents and their heirs broad authority, Bush's order applies the same procedures to vice presidential records.
Bush signing to deny presidential records continues the cloud around this non-transparent administration.
But some historians say they view Bush's order as a step backward, and from the day it was issued, the order has been targeted by open-records advocates.
"It became clear very early on that this president was uneasy about disclosure of public records and wanted to assert maximum executive authority over public access to those records," said Steven Aftergood, head of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy.
"The most shocking thing about the order is it suggests that executive privilege can be inherited by family members and others," he said. "Many fateful decisions were made in the Bush years, and in many cases the only prospect for accountability lies in publication of the records."
The Obama Administration is looking to rescind order.
The Democratic ticket of Obama and Joe Biden promised on its campaign Web site to "nullify the Bush attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult." The language now appears on its change.gov site.
As for Obama and his blackberry dilemma, my take, the Presidential Records Act needs a face lift. This is the world and age of instant information. Obama is not the only soon-to-be president who lives with his blackberry, laptop, etc. These are the tools and information of the times. Emails today are wireless, instant paper trails ask the exchange or domino servers which stores this information, same with blackberry servers. You mean to tell me that the White House can't have a certified network admin hired specifically to monitor these servers for historical archive? Companies perform data, network archives weekly, monthly all the time. Can this not be done for the President of the United States?
All this sounds so 20th Century, to me, I mean we did elect Barack Obama because he was very forward thinking and we admired him because he is first president that understands the technology of today and USES IT. Why hold him back? We need to find a way to help him.