September 20, 2008

Court to Cheney: Preserve Records

A U.S. judge in Washington Saturday ordered Vice President Dick Cheney to preserve records the administration has tried to keep from making public.

The Bush administration has been trying to narrow the scope of the Presidential Records Act, which keeps documents preserved for the public and historians.

A Washington public advocacy group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, or CREW, and "a number of individual historians, archivists, and organizations of archivists and historians" are alleging Cheney and the national archivist have improperly excluded records from the act, the order said.

They asked the judge for an injunction ordering Cheney and other officials to preserve all records, including those the officials say are excluded form the act, until the issue is resolved.

Saturday's order says Cheney and his staff and the national archivist are "to preserve throughout the (duration) of this litigation all documentary material, or any ... portion ... created or received by the vice president" and his staff, records "whose function is to advise and assist the vice president" in carrying out his duties.

The judge said the order was inclusive "without regard to any limiting definitions that (Cheney and his staff) may believe are appropriate."