33K Pages of Clinton Files Are Still Hidden —Why?

Withholding period ended in January 2013
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 26, 2014 10:49 AM CST
Former President Bill Clinton speaks to group of supporters during a fundraiser for Democratic Senate challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, in Louisville, Ky.   (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

(Newser) – It's been more than a year since the legal justification for secrecy expired on a collection of roughly 33,000 pages of documents from the Clinton presidency. But the files in question—which are held at the Clinton Presidential Library and are reportedly related in part to scandals such as Whitewater—remain off-limits to the public, Politico reports. Per the Presidential Records Act, such papers can be held for 12 years after a president leaves office, meaning they could have been available in January 2013. Now, following Politico inquiries, officials say the White House has OKed the release of 25,000 pages. But "it will take … additional time to complete the logistics of making available such a large release," says a rep for the National Archives, which, along with the library and lawyers for presidents Clinton and Obama, plays a role in the release process.

Politico's Mike Allen tells MSNBC that "another 8,000 of some of the president’s most sensitive communications … are still being blocked," the Washington Free Beacon reports. The White House has delayed the deadline on those remaining pages until March 26, the rep says. Bill Clinton could use executive privilege to keep them secret, but that would probably prompt a court battle, Politico notes. Also among the documents is confidential advice Clinton requested or received, along with files from Hillary Clinton's office, and a Gettysburg College professor offers her take on the apparent secrecy: "The obvious answer is they are trying to protect Hillary," perhaps ahead of a 2016 presidential bid of her own. (Read more Bill Clinton stories.)

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