Why Is It So Hard to Get Documents from the National Archives About the National Archives?
By Anthony Clark
Mr. Clark is an independent researcher writing a book on the politics and history of presidential libraries.
While researching my book on the history of presidential libraries, I discovered a shocking but perhaps not surprising situation: the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is improperly withholding its own records. Theoretically a non-partisan as well as non-political agency, NARA is at the center of some of the most controversial issues of our time, including government secrecy, executive privilege, and timely access to presidential records. Rather than abide by legislative requirements and professional standards, NARA has chosen to avoid accessioning and processing many (if not most) of its own records dating back more than forty years. Worse, officials have blocked access to records, perhaps due to concerns over their possible criticism of the agency.
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