Published: Sat, April 15, 2017
USA | By Angel Wallace

White House decides against releasing visitor records

White House decides against releasing visitor records

The logs reveal who is welcome on the White House grounds.

The decision represents a marked break between the Trump administration and its predecessor, as former President Barack Obama's White House voluntarily released almost 6 million visitor logs - though the Obama logs did routinely omit visitors the White House deemed vaguely as "personal". On Friday, an administration official announced the logs will no longer be made publicly available, citing "grave national security risks and privacy concerns".

Former President Barack Obama did not pledge to release these records until eight months into his presidency. It continued to release the records even though a federal appeals court ruled in 2013 that the logs can be withheld under presidential executive privilege. The Obama-era process allowed the White House Counsel's office to unilaterally redact records of those visiting the complex for any reason.

Paul S. Ryan, a vice president at Common Cause, said such meetings would be harder to track with Trump's new policy.

Dubke added that the logs would be disclosed "as outlined under the Freedom of Information Act". White House officials said they expect that court to reach the same conclusion as the D.C. circuit, but suggested it would seek to litigate to preserve its ability to keep the records secret if necessary.

A group of people touring the White House had an unexpected meeting with none other than the president himself. "Good thing we sued".

Plaintiffs say the administration's refusal to publicize visitor records signals a stark rejection of transparency in government.

However, the White House will release information of visitors to the Office of Management and Budget when Freedom of Information Act requests are filed.

"The Obama administration agreed to release the visitor logs in response to our lawsuits, and despite the Trump administration's worry over 'grave national security risks and concerns, ' only positives for the American people came out of them", Bookbinder said.

"It would be a significant setback to efforts to give the public insight into who influences the White House if this policy were to be discontinued or limited", the letter to Callahan stated.

Let us hope Trump is more successful in cracking down on the bureaucracy.

"President Trump has already taken four trips to his so-called "Winter White House" at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, during which he conducted official business in full view of Mar-a-Lago members and their guests".

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