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For an Associated Press (AP) story about the release by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of a redacted Memorandum of Understanding on re-review of classified historical records, please see http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Archive-Secrecy.html?_r=1&oref=slogin AP notes that "It is in the interest of both(unnamed agency) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to avoid the attention and researcher complaints that may arise from removing material that has already been available publicly from the open shelves for extended periods of time,' the agreement said." AP notes further that "Meredith Fuchs, general counsel for the National Security Archive, a private governmental research group in Washington, said it was unusual that archivists would be involved in hiding valuable history." In my numerous postings here and in other forums about my experiences as a Nixon tapes archivist. I've tried to explain that NARA does not operate in a mythical fourth branch of government. And that it has no firewall around it to protect it from external pressure. One can expect that NARA's officials will face pressure; how they react depends on a number of factors. Seymour Hersh has an interesting account of several such situations in his 1992 New Yorker article ("Nixon's Last Coverup"). For example, Hersh describes an order that NARA received in the 1980s from the Department of Justice (DOJ). The order represented an attempt by DOJ to strengthen former President Nixon's ability to block release of his White House records under the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act. The matter was settled (properly in my view) -- at least de jure -- when a judge threw out the DOJ order in Public Citizen v. Burke, 843 F.2d 1473 (D.C. Cir. 1988). Of course, President George W. Bush later signed in 2001 an Executive Order which strengthened the ability of former Presidents and their families to block disclosures by NARA under another law (the Presidential Records Act). As a former insider, I often feel that some stakeholders (especially historians) do not fully appreciate the difficult environment in which NARA operates. Since my late sister once worked in NARA's records declassification division as a senior archivist, I've been following the reports about the reclassification controversy closely. (Some of you may remember my colloquies here on H-Diplo in April 2001 with Warren Kimball, Hayden Peake, and Jeffrey Kimball about the State Department Lot files at NARA. At that time, my sister still was alive and a NARA employee.) I await with interest any response from NARA to the AP piece, as well as any follow up news stories. For the press release NARA issued yesterday, see http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2006/nr06-85.html . Click on link to PDF file within the press release to read redacted copy of the MOU signed in 2002.) Maarja Krusten Former NARA Nixon tapes archivist