Secrecy News

The Next President Could Reverse Bush-Era Secrecy

The next President of the United States could single-handedly do what years of advocacy, investigation, legislation and litigation have yet to fully accomplish, namely to uncover the concealed record of the Bush Administration’s two terms in office on everything from warrantless wiretapping to extraordinary rendition.

In an essay published in the Nieman Watchdog today, I argue that the next Administration might find it advantageous and would clearly have the authority to overcome the Bush-era secrecy that has impeded government accountability and confounded public debate on a whole host of issues.

“By now no one expects the Bush Administration to make itself accountable for its controversial and possibly illegal practices in domestic surveillance, prisoner detention and interrogation, or for its numerous other departures from the norms of American government. But the next President will have a unique opportunity to reveal what has been kept hidden for the last seven years, and to let Americans know exactly what has been done in their name.”

“Although internal White House records that document the activities of the outgoing President and his personal advisers will be exempt from disclosure for a dozen years or so, every Bush Administration decision that was actually translated into policy will have left a documentary trail in one or more of the agencies, and all such records could be disclosed at the discretion of the next President.”

If so, it would make sense to question the presidential candidates now about their willingness to engage in such housecleaning by asking them, for example:

“Will you disclose the full scope of Bush Administration domestic surveillance activities affecting American citizens, including all surveillance actions that were undertaken outside of the framework of law, as well as the legal opinions that were generated to justify them?”

See “The next president should open up the Bush Administration’s record” by Steven Aftergood, Nieman Watchdog, February 7.

The Nieman Watchdog, a project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, aims to invigorate press coverage by framing probing questions on matters of public policy importance.

0 thoughts on “The Next President Could Reverse Bush-Era Secrecy

  1. Steve, about a yrs ago, maybe more I started asking people to question the candidates along the same lines. I send emails and snail mails to every candidate asking one simple question, and asked people that were going to have the chance to question them, to ask them same question. That question went something like this ” Are you willing to direct your new Atty. General to appoint Special Prosecutors to look into the crimes and laws broken by the Bush Admin, allow them to come to trial no matter what and promise not to issue pardons to those responsible for Torture, Warrantless Wiretapping, The invasion of Iraq, and other crimes ?” Not one candidate has been willing to go on record as having answered this question.
    Many people expect Pres. Bush to issue a huge amount of Pardons before he leaves office to try and sidetrack any type of investigation. There is even people that believe Bush will have Cheney pardon Bush during some period of time when Bush is incapacitated, say having surgery making Cheney the acting pres. for a day or 2, giving him the power to pardon. I don’t know that I would go that far but putting anything past this pres. has been a mistake in the past.

    I hope you will report back to us if you do get a answer from Hillary or Barack, since we already know McCain will cover for Bush no matter what. Thanks for keeping this issue alive, I hope you have more success than I did. The essay I wrote can found at DailyKos, I believe it was titled ” The Question”

  2. I dont expect that the Clinton admin, if elected, would undo what Bush has done because the rendition began before Bush took office. The democrats are seemingly unwilling to investigate. Missing emails, the failure to hold Rove in contempt and the abrogation of the Hatch act.

    Our so called civil servants seen to view themselves as Greek Gods who must lie to the ignorant masses because they are too stupid to understand empire. They operate from a dual script.

  3. No matter who wins the election,the American people must hold Geo. Bush responsible for lying,for the misuse of tax dollars,& for the lives of our dead servicemen,& women,who we know now were fighting for a war based on lies.
    We have to make sure that crimes against not only the American people,but the people of the World,do not get pushed back into History,& forgotten.And we must hold all future Presidents to a much higher degree of honesty,& ethics than Bush,& Clinton were..America must learn to stop being the Worlds policemen,& allow other
    countries to chart they`re own way,to suceed or fail,on their own….

  4. The only Candidate that I can say might do this, is Ron Paul. I feel pretty sure he would but I can’t speak for him. The sad part is that everyone thinks they are voting for change when it is really only Ron Paul who offers any significant change. Of course everyone also thinks that there is a big difference in the parties but their goals are the same… they just move towards them differently.

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