• executive privilege;
  • President Bush;
  • congressional investigation;
  • separation of powers

President George W. Bush staked out an array of positions in protection of government secrecy, including his first use of executive privilege in a congressional investigation. He invoked privilege in a House committee inquiry in December 2001, with respect to Justice Department deliberative documents bearing on serious abuses by the Boston Federal Bureau of Investigation. The ensuing dispute came to a climax in a March 2002 bearing at which the committee invited this author to analyze previous parallel oversight situations. Soon thereafter, the Bush administration effectively surrendered its attempted executive privilege claim and provided the key documents that bad been withheld.