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Clinton Library releases confidential documents

Feb. 28, 2014 at 5:29 PM   |   Comments

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The first batch of previously private communications between Bill Clinton and his advisers when he was president was posted on his library's website Friday.

The Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., said in a statement the documents can also be viewed in the library's research room.

The National Archives said the first batch of 4,000 to 5,000 pages -- out of a total of up to 33,000 pages of Clinton White House documents -- also includes records about people seeking appointments to federal offices.

Other documents are to be made available in batches over the next two weeks, the archives said in a statement.

The papers were withheld for 12 years after Clinton left office because they were exempt under the Presidential Records Act from earlier disclosure, said the archives, which oversees the presidential library system.

The act, which applies to official presidential records since the start of the Reagan administration, lets a president restrict access to certain memos for up to 12 years.

Politico reported Tuesday the Clinton records were still sealed even though the 12-year period for keeping them secret expired in January 2013.

Clinton left office Jan. 20, 2001.

The archives said Wednesday representatives for Clinton and President Obama -- who could have requested the documents remain secret -- approved the release of about 25,000 of the 33,000 documents.

The remaining 8,000 or so records were still being reviewed, the archives said.

The review period ends March 26, after which time some of all of them could be released, a spokeswoman told the Washington Post.

It was not immediately clear why the archives did not release the records 13 months ago.

Earlier information posted online by the archives and by people seeking access to the documents indicates the larger body of records includes papers related to the six-year Whitewater investigation into an Arkansas real estate venture that vexed Bill and Hillary Clinton during his two-term presidency, Bill Clinton's initiative to improve race relations, a major theme of his presidency, and his administration's healthcare-reform efforts in 1993 and 1994.

Hillary Clinton, then the first lady and now widely seen as a 2016 potential Democratic presidential hopeful, was in charge of the administration's ultimately unsuccessful effort to revamp the nation's healthcare system.

Republicans often bring this up, given the controversy over the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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