Arlington National Archives

Thursday, December 01, 2005
The Arlington National Archive is that section of the United States National Archive where certain material that should be on display is instead laid to an unquiet rest. A potter's field where remains are interred in unmarked graves pending the passing of a suitable period of silence. It is easy to imagine legitimate reasons for such a period prior to archival display of all documents pertaining to a given matter. Proper cataloguing, numbering and the preparation of document inventories take time. A question remains as to identification of certain matters which are undergoing the archival process and an additional question arises as to what should be done with wholly completed documents that may be of interest to researchers if presented in their final form even without all ancillary documentation.

It is passing strange, for example, that if one uses the term "Office of Independent Counsel" in the marvelous National Archive search engine, the most comprehensive list returned is this. It seems somehow... incomplete?

We know about Watergate, of course. And who could ever be allowed to forget Iran/Contra and Walsh's effort. Understandably, the current Congressional efforts to allow a quiet, if undignified, burial to Section V of the Barrett investigation make publication of his report problematic, even without the diligent efforts of archival interment experts. It is remarkable that Congress is acting as if Executive misuse of the IRS is a matter of little public import. Are we prepared to live in a country where some Office of Independent Counsel Reports are more equal than others and some indiscretions are deemed unworthy of mention?

Wasn't there a fellow named Donald Smaltz? If memory has not failed entirely, another fellow named Kenneth Starr may have written a report that was published as a requirement in completing his service as Independent Counsel. How is it that the Smaltz Report has found its way into the archives of the University of North Texas and the Starr Report is available, (annotated, no less), via the offices of a diligent attorney but the National Archives does not deem them fit for publication?

The motto of the National Archives is "Democracy Starts Here".

That would bring a smile to Winston Smith's face.


David Thomson said...

“The motto of the National Archives is "Democracy Starts Here".”

It appears that the new motto may now be:

“The support and the advancement of the Democratic Party starts here.”

Rick Ballard said...


I thought there might be an innocent explanation regarding the non-publication and non-mention so I typed "Clinton" in the search engine. Lots of hits - some of his presidential papers have even been archived already. Then I typed in "impeachment".

The affinity group at the National Archives seems to feel that Andrew Johnson deserves to retain his solitary status.

It's a great search engine - maybe someone can come up with a search string that turns up something negative about Bubba - give it a whirl and report back.

Knucklehead said...


I'm no search engine guru and don't have time to thoroughly read every document returned, but I searched on "Espy", "Cisneros", and "Clinton impeachment" and none of those return anything I can detect which would lead anyone to believe that Espy or Cisneros were the subjects of Independent Counsel investigations or that there were impeachment proceedings against Clinton. One can easily find documents discussing the case for possible impeachement of Nixon.


David Thomson said...

“I thought there might be an innocent explanation”

There is no “innocent explanation” possible. Such an oversight is utterly unjustified. Did they consciously decide not to include the Clinton documents? No, it’s was done subconsciously. These people are superb at lying to themselves. This is what occurs when everyone around you is on the same page. Nothing explicitly has to be said. Everybody involved merely senses what is expected.

Newvictorian said...

Ha, it seems to me that trying to pretend the whole thing never happened (any of the "whole things" noted here) is equivalent to trying to ignore that rhinoseros that keeps knocking at the door.

It might have worked pre-www but with people like Rick and a whole lot of others with their eye on the ball these things just aren't going down the memory hole like they used to.

terrye said...

Well the Clintons are not done yet are they?

Knucklehead said...

Jeepers, Terrye! Did you have to say that? The hairs are standing up on my neck following that crawly skin thingie up my spine.