President George Washington was the first president to claim Executive Privilege. The issue arose in 1792 when a Congressional committee demanded information including documentation from the president concerning the heavy losses of General Arthur St. Clair against American Indians along the Ohio river. St. Clair ultimately lost an entire U.S. Army division. President Washington received the request and convened his cabinet to determine if he had the authority to rebuke Congress' request. It was decided the president had the authority to refuse records "which would injure the public" according to Thomas Jefferson. Although Washington would allow Congress access to the requested information, he set the stage for future uses of executive privilege by delaying the request and establishing the foundation for denial.
B. George Washington