By: Todd Shields
Journalists and historians can expect to have a harder time obtaining papers that shed light on decision-making by U.S. presidents, according to critics of a new presidential directive.
President Bush signed the executive order late last Thursday. It gives former presidents as much power as the incumbent to block papers’ release, and adds a requirement for those seeking documents to demonstrate their need.
The White House said the order sets up a system to release presidential papers. Historians disagree. “It’s a giant step backward in terms of openness in government,” said Bruce Craig, director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History, which represents historians and archivists.