The New York Times
today raises the notion
that after leaving office, George W. Bush may claim that executive privilege still applies, allowing him and members of his administration to continue to frustrate Congressional efforts to gain access to information on issues ranging from harsh interrogation tactics to the U.S. Attorney firings scandal.
Congressional Democrats, as well as outside watchdog groups, say they are determined to go on pursuing investigations into Bush administration malfeasance on these and other matters.
explains that if Barack Obama, after taking office, decides to release information from his predecessor's tenure, Bush could file a lawsuit claiming executive privilege. The dispute would likely go to the Supreme Court, and there appears to be little precedent that would guide a ruling.
Harry Truman made such a post-hoc claim of executive privilege in 1953, when subponaed to testify before a congressional committee about why he had appointed a suspected communist to the IMF. The committee backed down, meaning the claim became a historical precedent -- and was subsequnetly invoked by Richard Nixon, while still president in 1973, when he refused to cooperate with the committee investigating Watergate.
But a lawyer who helped hastily put together the argument on Truman's behalf today tells the Times
: "I think, legally, we wrong."