Stating, “My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government,” on his first day in office President Barack Obama announced a sweeping series of transparency reforms. In addition to revoking President Bush’s executive order on presidential records (see related story), the President issued a Presidential Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, and a Presidential Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act.
On January 19, Federal District Court Judge Colleen Kollar Kotelly accepted Vice President Cheney’s claim that he was complying with the Presidential Records Act (“PRA”) thus denying efforts by historians and archivists to ensure the full body of Cheney’s records would be preserved. The PRA requires presidential and vice presidential records to be turned over to the National Archives at the end of an administration.
On January 19, Acting Archivist of the United States Adrienne C. Thomas announced the selection of Alan C. Lowe as the new Director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. The appointment is effective April 12, 2009.
On January 21, in one of his first official acts, President Barack Obama revoked the Bush administration’s Executive Order 13233 that severely limited access by the public to presidential records. Click here to see a copy of President Obama’s new Executive Order 13489.
On January 15, 2009, Federal Magistrate Judge John Facciola formally ordered the White House to search the entire Executive Office of the President (EOP) and the Office of Administration (OA) to collect and preserve all emails sent or received between March 2003 and October 2005. This includes all Executive Office of the President components’ workstations and portable media.
On January 14, 2009, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) opened more than 150 cubic feet of records of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, an independent, bipartisan commission created by Congress. The records that were released represent 35% of the Commission’s archived textual records.
National Park Service (NPS) Director Mary A. Bomar has announced she will retire on January 20, capping a 25-year federal career. Bomar became the 17th Director of the National Park Service on Oct. 17, 2006.
On January 13, 2009, the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) released its Report to the President for Fiscal Year 2008 providing data about the Government-wide security classification program. The Report is accessible on the ISOO website (click here).
On January 13, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and National Park Service (NPS) Director Mary A. Bomar, announced $27 million in centennial projects, $10.5 million from the federal government combined with $16.5 million in philanthropic giving. For the second year of its Centennial Challenge, the National Park Service will match federal funds with contributions from park partners to prepare for the NPS centennial in 2016.
The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) has created a new publication, to be called the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents. The Daily Compilation will appear on the Government Printing Office’s (GPO) new Federal Digital System (FDsys) website January 20, 2009, to coincide with the incoming President’s term of office. The online Daily Compilation will replace the printed Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents.