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Seems almost lost in the hub bub of all that is happening these past few days, but yesterday President Obama issued an order that eliminates one of George Bush and Alberto Gonzalez's first vile collaborations.

A nasty little executive order Bush issued to make secrecy the rule of his administration.

Executive Order 13233 limited access to the records of former United States Presidents. It was drafted by then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and issued by President George W. Bush on November 1, 2001.

At the time it was issued in November of 2001, the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association felt that the order

"violates both the spirit and letter of existing U.S. law on access to presidential papers..." and "potentially threatens to undermine one of the very foundations of our nation."

I recall at the time being frustrated because it signaled to me what became a hallmark of the Bush Whitehouse, that transparency and sunlight were dead and that secrecy, lies and disinformation would be the foundation of his administration. I knew that all presidential records from the Reagan, Bush I and Clinton years were suddenly under seal and to borrow an old quote by noted philosopher George Santayana, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Well yesterday when President Obama issued his Executive order to

...establish policies and procedures governing the assertion of executive privilege by incumbent and former Presidents in connection with the release of Presidential records by the National Archives...

Reading though that order I was struck by his assertion that outside of certain

"Presidential records (that) might impair national security (including the conduct of foreign relations), law enforcement, or the deliberative processes of the executive branch.

there is now established a specific way for these records to be released. There is also a bill H.R.35to codify "procedures for the consideration of claims of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure of Presidential records." But until this happens this is a good start and makes me feel all the more confident in our new President and his intention to act as a real agent of change.

I was just so heartened to get to the end of reading the Executive Order and reading the words...

Sec. 6.  Revocation.  Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked.

Update: OMG! My first time on the Recommended Diaries list! I am thrilled. Thanks for all the Recs. I am so glad to see that there are others who are as interested in this as I am. You folks are Great!

Originally posted to Seattlite on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 10:34 AM PST.

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