Evasion ‘to suit current politics rather than serve scholars’
The Obama administration, motivated by politics, engaged in the “wholesale destruction” and “loss” of tens of thousands of government records that should have been preserved by law, according to an investigative reporter.
Thomas Lipscomb, founding publisher of Times Books, explained at Real Clear Politics that National Archivist David Ferriero discovered in the process of transferring Obama administration records in the National Archives that many key records are missing.
He explained that Ferriero, a “first-rate librarian,” has been leading a much-needed digital overhaul and expansion of the National Archives over the nine years of his appointment that will greatly improve access to the files.
“To support this effort, in 2014 President Obama signed the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments. For the first time electronic government records were placed under the 1950 Federal Records Act. The new law also included updates clarifying ‘the responsibilities of federal government officials when using non-government email systems’ and empowering ‘the National Archives to safeguard original and classified records from unauthorized removal.’ Additionally, it gives the archivist of the United States the final authority in determining just what is a government record,” he said.
However, the “accumulation of recent congressional testimony has made it clear that the Obama administration itself engaged in the wholesale destruction and ‘loss’ of tens of thousands of government records covered under the act as well as the intentional evasion of the government records recording system by engaging in private email exchanges.”
So far, Lipscomb said, Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Lynch and several EPA officials have been named as offenders.
The IRS suffered record “losses” as well, he wrote.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy called it “an unauthorized private communications system for official business for the patent purpose of defeating federal record-keeping and disclosure laws.”
Lipscomb wondered, “What good is the National Archives administering a presidential library, like the planned Obama library in Chicago, if it is missing critical records of interest to scholars?”
He asked, “What’s to prevent evasion of the entire federal records system by subsequent administrations to suit current politics rather than serve scholars for centuries to come?”
One of the biggest archive issues during the Obama administration was Clinton’s use of a personal, unsecure email server, which prevented the government from having a full record of her communication while also compromising national security.
Her husband’s former national security adviser Sandy Berger infamously removed documents from the National Archives, stuffing them in his clothing.
The Clintons had other records issues as well.
In 1994, the Rose Law Firm records that had been subpoenaed in one of the their many scandal investigations disappeared from the private White House quarters then suddenly reappeared in 1996.