Obama Blocks Visitor Log Disclosure


This is pretty disheartening. The Obama administration is continuing to use the same arguments the Bush administration used to block disclosure of visitor logs, even in limited cases. Both msnbc.com and, in a more limited request, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) were denied access to the logs by the Secret Service. The Service claimed that the logs are presidential and not agency records, thus not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This continues the policy implemented by the Bush White House as they tried to block disclosure of visits to the White House by leaders of the Religious Right and, later, corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Despite court rulings requiring the disclosure of the logs, the Bush administration continued to stonewall and appeal the decisions. The Obama adminsitration has continued those appeals, while also saying the policy is “under review.” This looks like another example of the Executive Branch refusing to reliquinsh unnecessary secrecy that it seized in the face of a court order. This is also far more harmful to Executive Branch transparency than the failure to post bills on WhiteHouse.gov for five days. Hopefully, when the administration says that the policy is “under review” they actually mean it and this isn’t like the Supreme Leader of Iran saying that he will investigate election fraud.