I have worked in presidential records for more than a decade and edit a documentary edition which contain vast numbers of presidential records. Furthermore, I have relied on FOIAs for the past decade in my research on the policy work First Ladies conducted while in the White House.I appreciate the insight and, like I said before, I want open access, too. I also don't find fault with the NCH's explanation as far as it goes. I just don't think they are explaining enough. In their press releases they don't seem to put much stock in the possibility that President Clinton may actually have something to do with holding up the release of his own records.
Consequently, I know this procedure inside out and backwards.
The NCH is explaining procedures correctly--and accurately. It took me 10 years to get material on Nancy Reagan. Barbara Bush's records are frozen. And a significant amount of Rosalynn Carter's papers are unaccessible because Carter Library staff is so short it cannot accession already processed (and open) material.
Just because 1) NCH took the time to explain the law and the current NARA staffing crisis,2) the Archives doesn't have the staff to meet the high demand of FOIAs, and 3) Clinton muffed the answer, doesn't mean there is bias.
And while he says he wants open access, President Clinton sure does exclude a lot of documents in his memo to NARA asking for a quick release, including "communications directly between the President and First Lady, and their families, unless routine in nature." That sure covers a lot, doesn't it?
Hey maybe it isn't bias. Maybe the NCH is just being sloppy in their reporting.