MSNBC: Obama administration visitor disclosure policy exempts its first eight months


Bill Dedman, and investigative reporter at, points out some limitations in the new policy announced by the White House today on providing open records:

…only visits after Sept. 15, 2009, will be revealed. The first wave of records is expected to be posted around Dec. 31.


… had sought records on all White House visitors. That request, for all visitors since Inauguration Day, still stands, and has filed an administrative appeal with the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service.

The new White House policy says it will consider requests for visitor information for the period from Jan. 20 to Sept. 15, but only if the requests are narrow and include specific names to be checked. In other words, if you don’t know who visited, or can’t guess who might have visited during this period, the White House won’t tell you.

Dedman also notes that, by labeling these releases “voluntary,” the White House still contends that the identities of individuals visiting the White House is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Ellen Miller offered her take on the program here.