An opinion

Heritage groups challenge George W. Bush nominee for US Archivist: So What?[i]

by Richard E. (“Rick”) Barry and Michael J. (“Mike”) Steemson


Why is it that archivists and records managers rarely discuss important aspects of the highest-ranking recordkeeping job in any country? There are plenty of issues about what is or should be one of the most critical positions in any democratic society, whether at the national, state/provincial or local government level, worthy and in need of open discussion and debate within the professional community and more broadly in the public domain. Using the controversial, ongoing case of President Bush’s nomination of a new Archivist of the US, this essay focuses on some of these issues.

Largely out of sight or earshot of the American public, United States historians, archivists, librarians and information managers have united in community force to challenge President George W. Bush’s nomination of historian Professor Allen Weinstein as the next Archivist of the United States.

The dispute highlights changing thinking about what constitutes proper selection process and qualifications for national archivists that could stimulate professional debate worldwide.

The “Personnel Announcements” containing President Bush’s nomination for a new US Archivist was published with little fanfare in a routine White House website press release on April 8, 2004[1].  It came as the President was preparing his campaign for a second term in the White House and only months before the last batch of records from the first George Bush ‘senior’ presidency was due to be become publicly accessible in 2005[2].  The choice of this nominee, without professional consultation, the timing and manner in which the incumbent US Archivist, John W. Carlin, subsequently announced his plans to leave the job were seen by many as bold and pre-emptive steps politicising the archives.

The controversial historian

Professor Weinstein is an eminent US historian and the founder, President and Chief Executive of the right-wing, non-profit foundation, the US Center for Democracy, whose directors include former Presidential aide, Dr Henry Kissinger.  According to some Washington watchers, the Professor has close ties with Republicans in the US Congress.


Nowhere is it articulated that a historian de facto fails the professional qualifications test. But Professor Weinstein has a controversial record in the historian community involving charges of excessive secrecy and ethical violations.  The challenges centred on issues involving access to research materials he used to write two books about Soviet spying in the USA and about the accuracy of his writings that have been challenged by his co-author of one of them, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America – The Stalin Era. Other historians have not been permitted to see his interview notes and other documents, a sanction that violates the professional standards of the American Historical Association (AHA) and the Society of American Archivists (SAA) commitment to open records[3].  Both societies were leading protagonists in the nomination row. 


Unanswered questions have also been raised about what person or organization contributed US$2.9 million toward the funding of the Center for Democracy. Additional related concern surrounds President Bush ‘junior’s’ November 1, 2001 Executive Order 13233 (EO 13233) that, contrary to the 1978 Presidential Records Act (PRA), would give past presidents and their families the authority to withhold presidential papers, even those concerning national security affairs[4]. A lawsuit by the Public Citizen Litigation Group is pending to obtain access to 74 pages[5] of records of President Reagan and Vice-President Bush (senior) that have been withheld under 13233.  


Some question whether EO 13233 was executed to prevent the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the US national archives, from releasing Ronald Reagan administration records that might contain damaging information on his and Vice-President Bush’s role in matters such as the Iran-Contra arms affair.  Critics suggest that the George W, Bush White House may now be attempting to nominate a ‘friendly' Archivist more amenable to further PRA suppression demands from the Chief Executive.

John Carlin resignation

Another high-profile drama further enriched the controversy’s heady mix  … the reaction to the nomination by John Carlin.  After April’s announcement, Carlin pointedly told the White House he would resign … if and when the US Congress had confirmed Professor Weinstein’s nomination.  In a message to NARA staff, he said: “I will continue to serve as Archivist while the Senate undertakes the confirmation process.  I will submit my resignation to the President effective upon the confirmation and swearing in of the Ninth Archivist of the United States.”[6]

This was an extraordinary way … perhaps a first … for the Archivist of the US to resign. It was obviously conditional on prior appointment of a replacement. The question quickly became raised in the heritage community: Was Carlin fired? If so: why?

The statement was silent on whether Carlin was acting unilaterally or responding to a request. However, he had earlier advised that he planned to remain in the post until at least end-May 2005, which would mark his 10th anniversary on the job.

History professor Jon Wiener summarised the whole row in the New York magazine The Nation, thus:  “Many speculate that George W. Bush, as well as his father, thinks the younger Bush may lose the election, and they want their man in control of their archives before that happens.”[7] Unfortunately, the White House has been silent publicly on this and other concerns expressed by the professional community and others.

The confirmation hearings

Many of these issues came together on July 22, 2004, when the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee held confirmation hearings on the Weinstein nomination.

The process for confirming the Archivist’s nomination, briefly stated, is that the President, after supposedly consulting with the professional community, nominates the Archivist. The nomination is reviewed by a Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs that, if necessary, hold hearings and makes recommendations to the Senate which confirms the nomination.  However, in the Weinstein case, following the archival and historical protests, that confirmation seemed far from certain.  None of the professional US archives and records management organizations directly opposed or supported Weinstein’s nomination, but several questioned the nomination on both substantive and procedural grounds.


The SAA[8], for example, decided to limit its reaction to the nomination processes. It took the view that, not having had the opportunity to interview the candidate, it could neither support nor reject the nomination on qualification grounds but thought the nomination process violated both the letter and the spirit of the law.  The National Association of Government Archivists and Records Administrators (NAGARA), on the other hand, declared Dr Weinstein to be well-respected and credentialed with an appreciation of the challenges that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) faced.  But it nonetheless considered that a fuller vetting of the candidate would have allowed for a more complete recommendation.


Only after the nomination objections, representatives of a few of the protesting groups were invited to meet Senate Committee staff and communicate their concerns.  But even then they were not allowed to testify at the Committee hearing.  Some of their concerns were put to the nominee by Committee members. The protestors urged the Senate Committee “to schedule open hearings on this nomination in order to explore more fully:

Despite all of this, insider expectations were that after receiving reassurances from Weinstein the Senate Committee would approve him without making ‘above the fold’ news.  It didn’t turn out quite like that.

The Weinstein statement

According to a National Coalition for History (NCH) Special Report on the hearings, Professor Weinstein’s statement to the Senate Committee was fulsome and robust.  He proclaimed bipartisan independence and expressed support for NARA priorities on several fronts. He wished to move ahead with NARA’s electronic records initiatives and attempted to deflect earlier criticisms regarding information sources for his publications, indicating they would be opened “by early next year”.[10]  Under questioning, he said he did not know the reasons for Carlin’s December 19, 2003, letter indicating his intent to resign.


Describing his own nomination, Weinstein said he had been contacted about the possibility by an Assistant to the President in late September 2003.  He had completed various personal information forms in November and was informed that he would be the nominee in early January 2004.  He said there had never been any discussion about presidential records.


In prior written responses to Committee questions, Weinstein had said "it would be my responsibility – so long as E.O. 13233 is in place – to oversee NARA's legal team in defending the Executive Order against court challenge".[11]  Asked during the hearings why, as Archivist, he would defend EO 13233 rather than the PRA, Weinstein replied that, as a private citizen he viewed the EO as "tilt[ing] the balance in confidentiality direction rather than timely disclosure".[12]  He would, he said, seek a "dialogue and negotiation"[13] before proceeding on that track.

The Carlin bombshell

At this point in the hearings, according to the NCH Report, Senator Carl Levin (Democrat, Michigan) dropped a bombshell …  a July 21, 2004, letter from John Carlin responding to one from Senator Levin asking how the resignation was initiated. Carlin had stated: “[T]he Administration initially approached me.  On Friday, December 5, 2003, the Counsel to the President [Alberto Gonzales[14]] called me and told me the Administration would like to appoint a new Archivist.  I asked why and there was no reason given."[15]


Levin suggested to Committee Chair Senator Susan Collins (Republican-Maine) that, because of "the independence of the Archivist's office,”[16] the committee ask the President for an explanation of why Carlin was being asked to resign, as required by law. If the committee declined to do so, Levin said he would do so independently. Significantly, the hearing closed without a vote on Weinstein’s nomination.


While the next action of the Committee will depend on the White House response to its request for an explanation over Carlin’s resignation, the reality is that Congress adjourned on October 8 until after the Presidential elections. According to NCH, “While the White House has responded to the request of the committee to explain the administrations motivation behind asking Carlin to step down in favor of Weinstein, certain questions regarding the nomination remain unresolved.  At least one Democratic senator has again written the White House asking for a clarification of why Carlin’s resignation was requested.”[17] After the presidential elections? That, of course, could change everything…either way.

Job Structure and Term

The US Archivist post is open ended. Unlike most politically-appointed officers, the directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Archivist are not expected automatically to resign with a change in White House administration. Such posts are excluded specifically to help shield them from inappropriate political pressure and influence. 


A candidate with important political connections would not in itself be precedent setting or disqualifying.  It could even be an asset if used to promote the national archives agenda as part of the broader heritage (archives, libraries, museums) agenda. However, it would be another matter if the nominee’s political connections were closely tied to a president or political party with expressed views on tightening access to public records in general and control of presidential records in particular.


The Archivist of the US is the country’s national archivist and serves as the chief executive of the NARA, head of the federal records centre programme, as governed by the Federal Records Act (FRA, US Code Title 44, Chapter 31—Records Management by Federal Agencies) and Chairman of the National Historical Publications and Research Commission (NHPRC), the outreach arm of the National Archives and makes grants to U.S. organizations to promote the preservation and use of America's documentary heritage, increasingly including electronic records research. Because US law requires that papers of the head of state be treated as public records, the Archivist is also, very importantly, head of the Presidential Library system that includes all Presidential and Vice Presidential records in accordance with the PRA. Unlike the British Commonwealth system, the US Archivist is nominated by and reports directly to the head of state, although it is doubtful if the incumbent actually gets much ‘face time’ with the President.  More likely, a senior White House official is the contact point, but it doesn’t get much more political than that.


This always leaves open a potential for real or perceived political interference in the management of the nation’s archives and especially ready public access to its presidential records.  In 1995, District Court Judge Charles R. Richey eloquently stated the Archivist’s reporting relationship and tenure in American Historical Association v. Trudy Peterson (Feb 22, 1995). The case concerned the legality of an agreement made between the first President Bush and the then US Archivist, Don Wilson. The agreement, made just hours before he left office, gave Bush authority over National Security Council (NSC) e-mail records, authority that he argued should continue even under succeeding President Clinton and Acting Archivist Trudy Huskamp Peterson.


Bush’s lawyers argued on the grounds that NSC e-mail records should be treated as presidential records not agency records, making them subject to the Presidential Records Act rather than the Federal Records Act.  Judge Richey said: “Who is the Archivist's boss? Clinton is her boss and Bush doesn't have a thing to do with it anymore."  Raising his voice, Richey said to Richard Lepley, the Government’s attorney:  “He is out of office, the King is dead, the Bush-Wilson agreement is dead."[18]

Not the first dispute

April’s nomination was not the first time that the heritage community has been upset with a Presidential appointment to the post of Archivist of the United States.  John Carlin’s appointment itself raised heritage hackles when he was nominated for the post by Democrat President Bill Clinton in 1995.


At that time, concerns centred mainly on professional qualifications. With Weinstein, the nomination was announced without prior warning. Before Carlin nomination, several possible nominees were floated before the professional community. While the process was flawed to the extent that there was no formal consultation by the White House, at least SAA was tipped off and able to interview several candidates, including Carlin, a former Democrat Governor of the State of Kansas with no archives or records management background. 


At Carlin’s Senate hearings, professional associations were not allowed to ask questions but some were allowed to testify. The SAA opposed the Carlin nomination, while NAGARA supported it.  SAA was concerned that Carlin would add little to the leadership of NARA or the vision of its future … and little to the leadership of the profession. The central question posed by one of the SAA interviewers, Tim Ericson, was: “Why is it that we assume the Attorney General needs a background in law and the Surgeon General needs a background in medicine, but the Archivist of the United States doesn’t need any background in archives or records administration?”[19]  As an interesting historical footnote, Ericson, an outspoken critic of overzealous restrictions to the access of public records at the national, state and local government levels, was president of the SAA when the Weinstein nomination was made and was its signatory to the nomination challenge.


Despite these early concerns and some criticism of Carlin in his role as NARA CEO — e.g., some have felt that Carlin placed too much priority on electronic records — most professionals now believe that Carlin used his background to the significant overall advantage of NARA and its mission. Even the 1993 SAA “Joint Statement on Selection Criteria for Archivist of the United States” has been revised by SAA in the light of a convincing performance. They see how his political skills have contributed to more sympathetic treatment of NARA by the US Congress and an improved profile for NARA, and how much has been accomplished on his watch. 


There has been an impressive array of achievements under Carlin’s leadership; all with strong linkages to NARA’s guiding principle, “ready access to essential evidence”.[20] Initially he concentrated on high-level strategic planning and related funding; but in due course his own fingerprints were on several initiatives. Until this year, when the Bush Administration proposed substantial reductions to the NARA budget, Carlin gained very positive treatment in Congress with strong budgetary allocations for NARA and NHPRC that made a great many NARA initiatives possible, including: an emphasis on enhanced strategic planning for all aspects of NARA work; the joint San Diego Supercomputer/NARA projects on very long-term (hundreds of years); management of electronic records; follow-up on the earlier NHPRC-funded University of Pittsburgh Functional Requirements for Evidence in Recordkeeping and Indiana University Electronic Records projects, and generally increasing funding of electronic records research, probably more than any other country; the recently awarded $20 million first-year start-up contracts for the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) program, with potential investments of several hundred million dollars; developing the vision for and partnering with the private-sector Foundation for the National Archives to fund a National Archives Experience (NAE)[21] program consisting of six major projects including important conservation and public displays work for the US Charters of Freedom    the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights … and the opening of the ‘Public Vaults’, a permanent exhibit containing over 1000 historical papers (handwritten notes of presidents, immigration papers of Alfred Hitchcock), voice recordings (President Teddy Roosevelt), video records (Kent State University disaster) and other objects (Zapruder camera that took the only complete record of President Kennedy’s assassination).  


Tim Ericson, recently put it this way: “I think the best evidence of how we have changed our perspective is in the statement of qualifications that the SAA and NAGARA drafted pre-Carlin [March 1, 1993] and the statement we just drafted this past year.  A lot has changed. For example, we no longer insisted that the [Archivist of the US] be an archivist or have archival experience. These changes, I think, come from our experience with Carlin who showed us the value of some administrative experience at a high level and some political experience. The changes are quite striking.”[22]

Societies want consultation

The SAA and others in the heritage community have always wanted to be consulted on and interview the nominee before Congress approves the appointment.  This is not just because they consider it appropriate for the government to recognize their status as the key professional groups in the area covered by NARA’s mission, but because they want to get the nominee to go on record with his or her views in advance of confirmation. 


Moreover, in 1984, Congress (House) Report 98-707 noted, “The committee expects that [determining professional qualifications] will be achieved through consultation with recognized organizations of archivists and historians.” The law also states that when the Archivist is replaced, the President ’shall communicate the reasons for such removal to each House of Congress‘.”[23] [Post-publication postscript: The original paper should have clarified that HR Report 98-707, does not enjoy the status of law. It is not uncommon for Congress to issue a “Report” such as this that is associated with a law to express the intent of Congress in passing the law. Thus, while it would not be correct to state that failure to consult professional associations in the nomination process constituted a breach of law, it would be correct to state that doing so would violate the expressed intent of the law.]


It can seem sad that these exchanges can only take place in the confrontational setting of Congressional hearings.  Any newly-appointed Archivist would want to come to the job with at least a cordial working relationship with the profession of which he or she was titular national leader and traditionally a key speaker at professional association annual conferences.  Likewise, any national professional association would want the Archivist position to be valued as a national leader, seen as the epitome of professional achievement, and would want good access to the Archivist.  Clearly the two would have to work together in future if the Senate approved the appointment.  Being placed in such a situation obviously makes it harder for a new Archivist and the professionals to get off to a good start with one another. 


Ideally, there should be consultation of heritage community representatives before announcing a nominee. But, there is also great merit in a ‘consultation’ process taking place in a Senate hearing room. The two processes are not mutually exclusive. In the US, like many other countries where the critical role of the national archivist is faintly, if at all, on the public radar screen, public hearings in the nation’s highest legislative forum may be one of the few opportunities to raise media and public awareness to the importance of this position.


Finally, of course, the process is of great importance to the large and highly professional staff of NARA, an important consideration. How career NARA staff read the value system of the new Archivist can have substantial impact on their morale and job commitment and ability of NARA in attracting and keeping the best people possible to staff matters of such significant national consequence.  Of course, NARA does not get to interview its new bosses. The only way staff can get their concerns registered is through their personal membership of professional associations, in which many are members and leaders. Even though NARA employees typically recuse themselves when it comes to formal discussions of nominees to the Archivist post, their concerns obviously become well known to others who do undertake these discussions. Similarly, the reputation of sitting Archivists and their senior staff also become well known to the broader professional community.

Openness of Public Records

The concern of the professional community with Presidential appointees has typically centred on professional credentials and the approach to executing laws governing public records, but in 2004, the broader issue of the nominee’s views on the openness of government records has also become central. The National Archives and Records Administration Act of 1984 (US Public Law 98-497), signed by President Ronald Reagan, clearly states that, "The Archivist shall be appointed without regard to political affiliations and solely on the basis of the professional qualifications required to perform the duties and responsibilities of the office of Archivist."[24]  It does not specify what constitute “professional qualifications” in terms of educational degree or professional experience as archivist or historian.

This raises an interesting series of questions:


In light of several successions in national archivists in other countries in recent years, these issues are obviously not limited to the US.


With a few notable exceptions, including some state archivists and second-tier NARA managers, the archives profession is not one with a reputation for producing strong public exponents and communicators promoting the interests and importance of public records.  It may not be accidental that in recent history several people from other professions have been placed into the position of national archivist—for example, John Carlin (political careerist and public administrator), former National Archivist of Canada, Jean-Pierre Wallot (historian), UK National Archivist Sarah Tyacke (librarian) and former Director of the National Archives of Australia, George Nichols (public administrator).Recent history also has taught the heritage community that strong professional credentials are no guarantee of a happy outcome for a nominee’s appointment.

The Wilson incumbency

Don Wilson was the Seventh Archivist under the first President Bush. He came to the job with considerable professional credentials in history and archives, including management of a state archives institution. Nonetheless, in the view of many heritage professionals and others, he left under a cloud over the same major concern now plaguing his colleague Weinstein[25]: public access to public Presidential records in accordance with the PRA sections 2201-2207, legislated in the wake of the Watergate affair. The PRA governs the official records of Presidents and Vice Presidents created or received after January 20, 1981. With certain exceptions, it clearly establishes the papers of the President as public archival records.  The PRA changed the legal ownership of the official records of the Presidents and Vice Presidents from private to public.


Up to its final days in office, the first Bush administration wrestled with the courts to protect itself from having to treat certain records as Presidential Records, especially its e-mail records.   Further, under an agreement between the outgoing President and then-Archivist Don Wilson, it sought to give the President authority to determine the disposition of certain National Security Council records.


Many professionals believe that Wilson had allowed political pressure to interfere with public access to essential records. He was subsequently appointed as Executive Director of the Bush Presidential Library Center. The courts decided that White House e-mails were records and subject to the PRA and that the agreement between the Archivist and President Bush was invalid upon assumption of the Clinton Administration.


Thus, the second issue: What would be the nominee’s attitude toward executing the PRA, and especially its Section 2203 – “Management and custody of Presidential records”? Most particularly, how would he interpret its Sub-Section (e) the Archivist may choose to exercise:

“The Archivist shall request the advice of the Committee on Rules and Administration and the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on House Oversight and the Committee on Government Operations of the House of Representatives with respect to any proposed disposal of Presidential records whenever he considers that -

1.       These particular records may be of special interest to the Congress; or

2.       Consultation with the Congress regarding the disposal of these particular records is in the public interest.” [26]

The professional community wants to know in advance how Allen Weinstein interprets this Act and Section, and wants the public to know. Will his presumption be in the direction of preserving such records or not? Many in the professional community believe that this is a major reason why the SAA and others in the heritage community were not invited to raise these questions in advance of the nomination. 

The broader context

There is another issue—another line of questioning—that is becoming increasingly important to the heritage community internationally and should be of no less concern in the US: how does the nominee see public records in the broader context of national heritage assets?


This issue embraces a nation’s management of its treasured heritage objects in the form of public records, books, other publications, art work and other physical treasures normally managed independently by its national archives, national library and national museum organizations.  With increasing digitisation of such objects, opportunities for improved international World Wide Web access to them and growing pressure on national budgets, more attention is being given to improving integration of and access to these national riches.


In recent years, this issue has become the subject of considerable debate in Canada, New Zealand and the UK. Most discussion agrees that there is need for greater integration at least to ease public access to all heritage resources. The nature and degree of integration depends on country-specific situations and bureaucracies and, where organizational integration has been undertaken, it has not been without controversy:


What is the nominee’s record in working with his own and other components of the heritage community and what is his vision of how national archives fit into the nation’s larger heritage fabric? 


Election Postscript


With the re-election of President Bush, confirmation seems probable, since Republicans will continue to control the new Congress, including the Senate. The 108th Congress adjourned sine die December 8, without acting on the Weinstein nomination, meaning that the matter will be carried over to the 109th Congress that convenes January 4, 2005.


The principal scenarios are:

·        The President makes a recess appointment in the weeks between the 108th and 109th Congress, with or without communicating the legally required explanation for firing the incumbent, thus making it possible for the nominee to take office before the new Congress convenes, but subject to Senate approval thereafter;

·        The Senate makes public the President’s reasons for asking John Carlin to step down and seeks to confirm Weinstein in the new Congress in January 2005, despite the controversy surrounding his nomination;

·        The President, with his second term assured and with his eye on his own legacy could see this as an opportunity to reach out to his critics and withdraw the current nomination, leave the incumbent in office until his stated preferred retirement date, and restart the nomination process with a fresh slate.


The President’s previous actions toward generally limiting access to public records either will be reinforced to include more strongly controlling access to Presidential Records, or will be tempered toward a more open-government position. The American public, heritage community professions and the international community of NARA users deserve a better understanding of the President’s and next Archivist’s stand on this and other important issues raised here.


International Implications


On the international scene, what has been playing out in the US creates an opportunity for other countries and their professional communities to consider these issues as they might apply in their own countries. Does the national archivist have sufficient legal mandate to fully carry out the national archives mandate? At what level of government and with what status should the post of national archivist be established? How can it be maintained at a level sufficient to ensure effective operation of government recordkeeping? How can this be achieved while protecting the national archivist and related organization from improper political interference and maximizing the inviolability of public records? What constitutes the best qualifications for candidates to such posts? What lessons can be applied at the international, regional, state/provincial and local levels of government?


Democratic societies operate under the rule of law. They shelter public records to protect human rights, ensure accountability of government, and preserve truth and reconciliation in facing their national pasts. The best interests of those societies demand that appropriate laws, organizational arrangements, qualifications and nomination processes for national archivists are part of a highly visible public debate. These, in turn, require a much elevated public awareness concerning: the importance of the role of the national archivist[27] in ensuring open, easy and continuing access to public records; the extent to which such posts are politically or independently appointed; and how (if) they are shielded from improper political interference.


For additional references see:

o        Archivists Comment on Nomination of Allen Weinstein to Lead National Archives and Records Administration, Press Release, July 22, 2004.


[i] This paper was written prior to the February 2005 full-Senate confirmation of Dr. Allen Weinstein’s appointment as the Ninth Archivist of the US. It was originally published in the Records Management Journal, V15 no 1, February 2005, published  Emerald Group Publishing Limited, in association with the UK-based Aslib,  Association for Information Management, and is republished here with the kind permission of RMJ and Emerald. Rick Barry is Principal of Barry Associates and Cofounder of the Open Reader Consortium. Michael Steemson is Principal, The Caldeson Consultancy, Wellington, New Zealand and former journalist and Chairman of the UK Records Management Society.  

[1] White House’s 8 April, 2004, Personnel Announcement.

[2] Under the Presidential Records Act (PRA), Presidential presidential records became the property of the American people, the declassified documents being available to citizens 12 years after completion of the administration. Many of President George H. W. Bush have been made public under that law. However, Executive Order 13233, signed by President George W. Bush in November 2001, permits presidents, vice presidents and their families or other representatives to review any papers before releasing them and at their discretion to designate them as privileged, thus placing the Archivist and staff of the National Archives and Records Administration in the untenable position of having to decide between the PRA and EO 13233. There is speculation that this kind of tension may have contributed to the President's request to John Carlin to step down. [N.B. This is a correction and update of this footnote since the original publication of this paper in the RMJ. RB.] 

[ 3] Among the job qualifications listed in the Society of American Archivists, “Joint Statement on Selection Criteria for the Archivist of the United States,” April 26, 2004, was: “Unquestioned commitment to open and equal access to governmental records by all citizens, in accordance with all governmental regulations and in compliance with privacy protections for individuals.”

[4] Executive Order 13233, Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act, November 1, 2000, signed by President George W. Bush.

[5] The disputed records include a six-page 8 December 1986 memo to the President and Director 
of Public Affairs entitled, "Talking Points on Iran/Contra Affairs"; a series of memos dated 22 
November and 1 December 1988 for the President entitled, "Pardon for Oliver North, John Poindexter, 
and Joseph Fernandez"; and a two-page memo for the President from the Attorney General "Appeal 
of the Decision Denying the Enforcement of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987." Others relate to the 
extension of claims of Executive Privilege over the release of Justice Rehnquist's papers and materials 
relating to "Use of Military Aircraft by Mrs. Reagan."
[6] National Coalition for History , NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 10, #15; 8 April 2004).

[7] Wiener, Jon, The Archives and Allen Weinstein,” The Nation, April 29, 2004.

[8] SAA was joined by 29 other heritage associations including the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA). They called for open Senate hearings to explore the reasons for the US Archivist’s resignation and the qualifications of the nominee. 

[9]Society of American Archivists, “Joint Statement on Selection Criteria for the Archivist of the United States,” April 26, 2004, op cit

[10] National Coalition for History, SPECIAL REPORT -- THE CONFIRMATION HEARING OF ALLEN WEINSTEIN,” NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 10, #32; 23 July 2004), by Bruce Craig (editor), and Brian Heyward (contributor). 

[11] Ibid. 

[12] Ibid. 

[13] Ibid. 

[14] At time of this writing, Judge Gonzales had been nominated by President Bush but not yet confirmed by the Senate for the post of Attorney General and continues to be rumored to be a possible Bush nominee to the Supreme Court as its first Hispanic member at such time as a vacancy may come open. Gonzales has been associated with the crafting of EO 13233.  

[15] National Coalition for History, “SPECIAL REPORT -- THE CONFIRMATION HEARING OF ALLEN WEINSTEIN,” NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 10, #32; 23 July 2004), op cit

[16] Ibid.

[17] NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 10, #40; 8 October 2004), by Bruce Craig (editor); and Tim Nolan, (contributor). [18] “PROFS Case: Arguments Over Bush Wilson Deal,” Washington Update - Vol. 1, #9, Feb 22, 1995, by Page Putnam Miller, Director, National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History (NCCPH), Washington Update - Vol. 1, #9, Feb 23, 1995, by Page Putnam Miller, Director of the National Coordinating Committee, for the Promotion of History. 

[19] In a 10/25/2004 5:15:54 PM Eastern Standard Time email to Rick Barry. 

[20] National Archives and Records Administration, Our Vision, Mission, and Values,”  

[21] Foundation for the National Archives to fund a National Archives Experience (NAE).  

[22] In a 10/26/2004 12:07:02 AM Eastern Standard Time email to Rick Barry. 

[23] Society of American Archivists, Statement on the Nomination of Allen Weinstein to Become Archivist of the United States, April 14, 2004

[24] Ibid.

[25] In her article The Real Issue at the Heart of the Weinstein Controversy,” historian and former NARA Nixon tapes archivist, Maarja Krusten, states: “Many people in archival circles believe Wilson is one of the people behind Bush's nomination of Dr. Weinstein. I have no independent corroboration of this. However… Wilson is connected to Allen Weinstein through the Mary Baker Eddy Library, where they both serve as trustees. If Wilson is a mentor of Weinstein's, will there be a return to the public access policies followed by Wilson and by his appointee, John Fawcett?” Fawcett served as Assistant Archivist of the United States and the Director of the Presidential Libraries system under Archivist Don Wilson and President Bush senior. Krusten quotes from Scott Armstrong’s writing in Athan Theoharis's book, A Culture of Secrecy: "in historical circles, Mr. Fawcett had become notorious for consistently taking the side of former presidents…Many of his colleagues at the archives were also worried that Fawcett's deference to past presidents might lead him to abandon the archives' obligation to ensure the preservation and accessibility of government records."]  

[26] 44 US Code CHAPTER 22 - PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS, Presidential Records Act, Section 2203 – “Management and custody of Presidential records.”  

[27] Not all countries use the elevated title, ‘National Archivist’ (or in the case of the US, “Archivist of the US”) to designate these positions. In many countries the title is a much lower ranking one such as “Director of Archives” and often the reporting relationship is low on the organizational chart, opening up further opportunities for political mischief.