Obama's First Executive Order, Did President Really Seal His Own Personal Records?

Presidential Executive Orders - Powerful Dictates or Whimsical Wishing?

By —— Bio and Archives December 14, 2010

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Rumors were flying in Washington, DC in January 2009 that the first Executive Order that Obama issued would be the one that sealed all of his personal records of birth information, educational documents, passport information, and foreign travel documentation among others.  Even I was of that same opinion at that time but later rumors cropped up that debunked that notion and just recently I came across the website, ‘About.com’ which is strictly about US Government Information.

In a story by Tom Murse, About.com Contributing Writer, titled “Obama’s First Executive Order” dated September 20, 2010 the question was asked, “Did President Really Seal His Own Personal Records?”  It might surprise you, as it did me, that the answer is “No”.

One day after being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, on Jan. 21, 2009, Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13489, states Mr. Murse and he continues, “That the first order of business Obama took care of on day one of his Presidency was to sign off on an Executive Order that states that only the records he chooses to be made public will be released.  This is the subject that was at the absolute top of his agenda. If this isn’t proof that Obama is hiding something, I don’t know what is.”

So OK; if he didn’t sign an Executive Order sealing all of his private and personal records of birth, schooling, elected service in the Illinois state Senate as well as all travel abroad, where are all of those records?  We can only presume he is still cleverly hiding them, not in an Executive Order, but in the protection of one that says only the records he chooses to be made public will be released. 

The actual wording of Obama’s first Executive Order merely rescinded an earlier executive order issued by President Bush severely limiting public access to presidential records after they left office. 

By doing this he was gaining points by making a Bush’s EO public and not kept secret while at the same time protecting his own personal records and keeping his critical personal information uber top secret and not subject to later disclosure by a succeeding presidential EO. 

Sounds slick enough to be a Rahm Emanuel maneuver.

Tom Murse added, “That now-rescinded executive order 13233, was signed by then-President George W. Bush on Nov. 1, 2001. It allowed former presidents and even family members to declare executive privilege and block public access to White House records for virtually any reason”

Then quoting Obama, “For a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city. This administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information but with those who seek it to be known,” Obama said after signing the order rescinding the Bush-era measure.

“The mere fact that you have the legal power to keep something secret does not mean you should always use it. Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

I am sure that this was not the first lie Obama told after becoming the president nor was it his last; but it surely was one hell of a WHOPPER.

But do you see how frail and flimsy these EO’s really are?  In spite of the wording of Bush’s EO all it took was an EO by Obama to open them up to public scrutiny.

Pretty clever, eh?  But the “Emanuel-esque” exclamation point put on Obama’s own EO, that being the omission of including his personal information plus the edict that only he can choose whether or not to release it, was the absolute and very early proof that Obama was NOT going to be the “transparent” president that he crowed to the people that he would in fact be. 

It also solidified the rumor that he was and is hiding information that the public has a legal right under the United States Constitution to know. 

Why is it that if I, a non-legalistically trained layman with no courtroom experience can see the injustice there, that there are no judges or justices with enough loyalty to the United States and the Constitution they swore to defend and uphold that can see any wrongdoing?

Maybe 2012 will provide the American people the balance of change necessary to rid these deceitful and duplicitous socialists from our government ranks allowing our judges the propriety to regain their fealty to our country as opposed to fearing its elected leaders as it now appears.

In the meantime, some high level official should insist on a complete look and possible revamping of the credence of Executive Orders and what they can legally contain complete with sunset provisions.

Jerry McConnell -- Bio and Archives | Click to view Comments

Jerry McConnell is a longtime resident of planet earth with one half century on the seacoast of NH.  He is a community activist but promises not to run for President and he feeds ACORN’s to the squirrels.  He can be emailed at

McConnell’s e-book about Guadalcanal, “Our Survival was Open to the Gravest Doubts


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