More Clinton Library Secrets Set for Release Soon

Image: More Clinton Library Secrets Set for Release Soon Archivist Rhonda Young, left, and Supervisory Archivist Dana Simmons make available to researchers 4 boxes containing around 3,400 documents inside a research room at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Ark. (Stephen B. Thornton/Getty Images)

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 09:00 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Thousands of pages of the most sensitive documents from the National Archives at the Clinton Presidential Library that were approved for release six months ago have not yet been made public, Politico reported.

The documents are stored in a secure underground wing of former President Bill Clinton’s shiny silver library along the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas, which houses 78 million pages of White House records and some 20 million emails.

Clinton had blocked the release of any files until 12 years after his presidency had ended.

In February, Politico asked the Obama administration why no records had been released more than a year after Clinton’s deadline had expired.

White House lawyer David Sandler then ordered the National Archives to release 33,000 records – less than 5 percent of the files locked away in the library. But they are being released in dribs and drabs as it has taken months for the Archives staff to organize the information and post it online, Politico said.

The fact that the release of delicate, once classified information first has to be cleared by the White House has compounded the snail’s pace of the process.

Politico sent a correspondent to the library — which prominently displays the saxophone Clinton once played on TV — to visit the Archives’ vaults to review descriptions of the documents due to be released in coming months.

The political news website found that an "intriguing" treasure trove of information is on its way, including 34 pages of handwritten notes taken at a 1993 meeting of Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy involving gays in the military.

Clinton, Gore, and their advisers are said to have talked openly about their "their personal viewpoints of homosexuality," Politico said.

The records will also disclose the information surrounding the long list of controversial clemency applications before Clinton left office.

The president was vilified for pardoning billionaire financier Marc Rich while Rosalynn Carter asked for a commutation for kidnap victim turned bank robber Patty Hearst, and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Donald Fowler wanted a reprieve for ABSCAM "victim" and former South Carolina Rep. John Jenrette.

Although many of the requests have long been made public, the Archives will reveal the recommendations that Clinton received from the Justice Department and his own staff members on the applications.

The soon-to-be-released documents also include key records on the suicide of Vince Foster, a White House attorney and former law partner of Hillary Clinton. Foster killed himself in 1993 while he was handling a slew of problems surrounding the first year of Clinton’s presidency, which fueled ongoing conspiracy theories, Politico reported.

Records due for release will also show that after the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma, Clinton seriously considered cracking down on "paramilitary" organizations with a "strict licensing system" and increasing government surveillance, issues that still cause outrage among tea party conservatives and National Rifle Association members.

In the end, Clinton was advised against seeking more militia controls, but he gave the go-ahead to expanded access into phone records, which paved the way for the National Security Agency storage of phone and Internet metadata exposed by fugitive leaker Edward Snowden.

Politico also found that records set for release are related to the Clintons’ Whitewater land deal investigation, Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the White House Travel Office scandal, and the constitutional controversy during Clinton’s administration over healthcare reform.

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