Judge Orders White House to Publish Visitor Logs

Sunday, August 21, 2011
White House North Gate (photo: www.DC pages.com)
A federal judge this week rejected the Obama White House’s contention that turning over thousands of visitor records might endanger the nation’s security, and ordered the administration to reveal documentation that’s been withheld from the media.
The public interest group Judicial Watch had taken the White House to court after it refused to reveal the names of all persons on visitor logs kept from January 20, 2009, through September 2009. The period in question included the administration’s negotiations on the controversial health care reform bill and the economic stimulus package.
Secret Service officials insisted they could not disclose the logs without risk of exposing the identities of certain individuals who, for national security reason, need to be kept confidential.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell rejected this argument, ruling that it was possible to cull out certain names while revealing the majority of the records requested by Judicial Watch.
The watchdog organization says only 1% of about half a million visitors’ names during the first eight months of the Obama administration were previously released under the Freedom of Information Act. Judicial Watch also claims that the White House has withheld information on who participated in certain meetings.
The White House is expected to appeal the judge’s decision.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Court Rules White House Visitor Logs Subject to FOIA (by Christine Beckett, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)
White House Visitor Logs Leave Large Blanks (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Obama to Keep White House Visitor List Secret…Just Like Bush (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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