Clinton Papers: Unlikely Before 2008
Tuesday, August 14, 2007; 9:31 PM
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Millions of documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton's days in the White House, including phone logs, schedules and other files, may not be released before the 2008 presidential election.
Officials with the National Archives said Tuesday that they couldn't predict when any of the material from the former first lady will be released from the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark.
The Bill Clinton library is part of the presidential library system operated by the National Archives.
At issue are some 1.9 million pages of phone logs, schedules and other files from Hillary Clinton's office.
"My sense is that it's going to be a long time," National Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper said. "We're working very hard on this ... It's going to require a lot of work and there are other people with other requests who have been waiting longer."
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that federal archivists said they did not expect the former first lady's calendars, appointment logs and memos to be released until after the election.
The library has already released about 1 million pages of domestic policy memos and other documents on its own.
In Little Rock, 11 archivists are sorting through 80 million pages of documents and 20 million e-mails at the library from Bill Clinton's eight years in office, but few records have come out of the library in response to Freedom of Information requests since it began accepting them in January 2006. The library has been sorting through requests based on when they were received, Cooper said.
"We have more than 250 requests in that queue, and some of them are very broad requests, which could require looking at tens of thousands of pages at a time," Cooper said. "We're not making any predictions, but it depends on where you are in the queue when we release the material."
Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group, has filed a lawsuit in hopes of gaining access to Hillary Clinton's documents.
Pending FOI requests include queries about any meeting notes or e-mails regarding Hillary Clinton's bid for the Senate in 2000 and files regarding her appointment to the Health Care Task Force in 1993 during her husband's administration.
Included among the two dozen requests is one for any documents "related to UFOs, Roswell New Mexico, or flying saucers from the files of Hillary Clinton."
Complicating matters is a requirement that both the sitting and former presidents must sign off on any document's release. Under the order signed by President Bush in 2001, if a former president says certain papers are privileged, the papers remain secret even if the sitting president disagrees.
In the 2004 presidential race, Democratic candidate Howard Dean faced criticism when he declined to release some of his gubernatorial papers that he had put under seal when he left office in Vermont.