Post from IAJGS Records Access Committee

The Records Access Alert reports on records access. Therefore, the current national discourse about records being removed from the White House by former President Trump and NARA being the repository of all presidential records is a relevant posting issue.

The acting US Archivist, Debra Wall, says:

“The National Archives has been the focus of intense scrutiny for months, this week especially, with many people ascribing political motivation to our actions. NARA has received messages from the public accusing us of corruption and conspiring against the former President, or congratulating NARA for ‘bringing him down.’ Neither is accurate or welcome,.” This was said in an Aug. 24 message to staff members that was made public on Aug. 30.

“For the past 30-plus years as a NARA career civil servant, I have been proud to work for a uniquely and fiercely non-political government agency, known for its integrity and its position as an ‘honest broker.’ This notion is in our establishing laws and in our very culture. I hold it dear, and I know you do, too,” she added.

“Our fundamental interest is always in ensuring that government records are properly managed, preserved, and protected to ensure access to them for the life of the Republic. That is our mission, and what motivates us as we seek to uphold the public trust. I thank all of you for your dedication to that mission and your professionalism and integrity in carrying it out in a non-political and diligent manner.”

Fifteen boxes were transferred from the resort to NARA in January, when Wall’s predecessor David Ferriero was still in charge. NARA said that the boxes contained classified records. Some were torn up and taped back together; others that had been torn up weren’t reconstructed by the White House, according to Ferriero.

In separate letters to Reps. James Comer (R-Ky.) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio), Wall said that the Department of Justice has been “exclusively responsible” for the investigation into the classified materials since NARA referred the matter to the department in early 2022.

“NARA has not been involved in the DOJ investigation or any searches that it has conducted. Accordingly, NARA is unable to provide a briefing or any documents in response to your letter, and we refer you to the DOJ,” Wall told Comer, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, and Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. “Please note, however, that NARA is preserving all records related to this matter.”

To read more see:

To read previous postings about NARA and the Presidential Records Act and Removal of Records from the White House see the IAJGS Records Access Alert archives at:  You must be registered to access the archives. To register for the IAJGS Records Access Alert go to:  You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized. It is required to include your organization affiliation (genealogy organization, etc.)