Journalism in the Public Interest


Obama Reverses Bush Executive Privilege Claim Over Documents

President Barack Obama (Alex Wong/Getty Images)But wait, there’s more. Our new chief executive has made open-records advocates very happy today.

As we noted earlier today, President Obama issued an order rolling back the former administration’s restrictive FOIA policies. And now, we learn President Obama has signed another order (PDF) reversing President George W. Bush’s controversial order that gave ex-presidents and their heirs broad authority to stop release of White House records.

“The order suggests to me that the Obama administration might be much more circumspect in invoking exec privilege, both with respect to public disclosure and sharing information with Congress,” top secrecy watchdog Steve Aftergood told us. “Lots of OLC opinions that have not been classified have been withheld from Congress and the public because of claims of privilege and if claims of privilege will be asserted in a more limited fashion, that would imply more increased release of OLC opinions.” 


FOIA - Freedom of Information Act
OLC opinion - ???

Perhaps when the Bush, Cheney et al E-mails and documents are examined there will be enough to see whether they broke the law and can be held to account at last.