secrecy {fragments}

~ musings on secrecy ~

For Their Eyes Only: How Presidential Appointees Treat Public Documents as Personal Property

Lost but now found buried in one of my file cabinets – and still available via the Web – is Steve Weinberg’s For Their Eyes Only: How Presidential Appointees Treat Public Documents as Personal Property (Center for Public Integrity, 1992), an amazing information policy paper that documents private ownership claims over public government information by former presidential appointees (such as former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Schultz), disparities with the prepublication review process, censorship, overclassification, glacial efforts to declassify information, and  “granting some outside historians preferential access, while others are frozen out” (p.22).

For Their Eyes (p.3) proposes the not so radical idea that “no records should be considered ‘personal’ if created to conduct government business on government business on government time, or with the help of taxpayer supported personnel.”  Historically valuable research info is available in various appendices:

Appendix I.  ~ Truman through Reagan Administration records practices

Appendix II. ~ Bibliographic essay based on the GAO’s investigation into classified information held by former presidential appointees,   Information Security:Disposition and Use of Classified Documents by Presidential Appointees (NSIAD-90- 195, September 1990)

Appendix III. ~ Is  a really a bibliography of memoirs using potential classified material from the Truman through Reagan Administrations.


Written by S.

August 18, 2009 at 12:12 am