PDB declassification has precedent

Geraldine Sealey
April 9, 2004 1:13AM (UTC)

The 9/11 commission has asked the White House to declassify the President's Daily Brief from August 6, 2001. But we shouldn't hold our collective breath. "I think you know the sensitivity of presidential decision memoranda ... I don't know if they've ever been made available in quite this way," Condoleezza Rice told the commission today, ducking a request to declassify the document.

But it turns out that 10 PDBs have been previously declassified, and you can see them here. The National Security Archive at George Washington University is calling for this one to be declassified as well. The August 6, 2001 PDB could be released simply by blacking out any still-sensitive sources-and-methods information, the Archive says.


"The White House reversed itself on letting Dr. Rice testify, after weeks of bad publicity, because administration credibility was at stake," said Archive director Thomas Blanton. "Let's hope they've learned a lesson so the turnabout happens more quickly on releasing the Brief."

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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