Podcasts

Presidential Secrets

March 16, 2010 | CUNY Lecture Series, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

As chair of the Fund for Open Information and Accountability, Blanche Wiesen Cook helped draft the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which permitted public access to presidential records through the Freedom of Information Act, but also allowed Presidents to invoke restrictions. “When Ronald Reagan became President, he reclassified most of the controversial documents,” said Prof. Cook, a distinguished professor of history and women’s studies at John Jay College and the Graduate Center. “Some of that secret insanity remains today, a legacy of the George W. Bush era, under which no presidential papers will ever be released.” The author of the New York Times best-seller “Eleanor Roosevelt: A Biography,” and “The Declassified Eisenhower,” Prof. Cook spoke about the importance of transparency in government, as part of the “Justice and Injustice in 1950s America” lecture series at John Jay College.
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