WASHINGTON – After more than a year of review, the White House has cleared the release of 59,850 of Ronald Reagan's presidential records, which will be available to the public Friday at the Ronald Reagan Library in California.
The records will be added to 8,000 pages released earlier, though 150 pages of Reagan papers and tens of thousands of papers left behind by Reagan's vice president, George Bush Sr., will still remained classified, according to the National Archives.
Those documents are still being reviewed by the White House or have not been scheduled for release, but in a letter last week to the archives, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales said the 150 pages relate to "deliberations about potential appointees to public office." He said administration officials were still examining the "sensitive constitutional, legal and privacy ramifications" of publicly disclosing the papers at this time.
Scott Nelson, an attorney for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group that has launched a legal challenge against a Nov. 1, 2001, executive order allowing past presidents to restrict public access to certain papers after they leave office, said he was mildly pleased with the decision to release the Reagan papers this week.
Still, Nelson is curious about the 150 pages that remain closed.
"One sort of wonders if it's the file of one individual, or if it's the top 150 hot documents picked from all 68,000 pages of records," Nelson said.
He said Friday's release would not affect Public Citizen's legal challenge of President Bush's order, which also gives the sitting president the authority to overrule his predecessor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.