Monday, March 19, 2007

Presidential Papers, and Other Legal and Federal News

The State Library's Federal Programs Coordinator, Geri Hutchins, sent an email full of interesting news, including the following:

"House Votes to Overturn Bush Order on Release of Presidential Papers
"After five years of bitter complaints from archivists, librarians, historians, and public advocates, the House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 333-93, to repeal Bush's controversial executive order 13233, which gave ex-presidents and their heirs authority to effectively block release of their papers indefinitely. Bush's 2001 order overturned a post-Watergate law that requires the release of presidential documents within 12 years barring those where legitimate "executive privilege" can be claimed. In testimony submitted this month to a House committee, Society of American Archivists' Steve Hensen argued that the order "seriously compromised the basic principles" of government accountability. "In the case of the records of the office of the President of the United States, it is a right that took a long time for the nation to claim fully, but just a quick stroke of the pen to destroy," he said, noting that the discussions about placement of the George W. Bush Presidential Library have brought the issue into focus....
Source: Library Journal, March 16, 2007"

Other topics included news of a library in Virginia that has decided to block access to MySpace; the curious story of an Alaska police department that confiscated a laptop from someone who was using a free wireless connection in a parking lot after hours, accusing the user of 'theft of services'; and a story about the Department of Justice's use of National Secury Letters for access to library records.

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