Saturday, January 6, 2007

White House Visitor Records Closed

I guess the White House just doesn't get it - they are NOT going to be able to make enough new rules or signing statements or whatever to exempt them from the LAWS of the land. I just hope that the new Congress holds the administration's feet to the fire and lets them know in no uncertain terms that this kind of dodging the laws just isn't going to fly anymore. It makes me sick how Bush and Cheney think that the laws apply to everyone but them and their cronies. This illegal pattern of secrecy has NO place in a true democracy!
Cheers - your radical militant librarian,
Faye in Tulsa, OK

"This memo reflects the Bush administration's view of American government, which is that the people's business should be conducted behind closed doors."
Steven Aftergood, Director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists

White House Visitor Records Closed
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
Fri., Jan. 5, 2007

The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public.

The Bush administration didn't reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding until last fall. The White House is using it to deal with a legal problem on a separate front, a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

In a federal appeals court filing three weeks ago, the administration's lawyers used the memo in a legal argument aimed at overturning the judge's ruling. The Washington Post is suing for access to the Secret Service logs.

The five-page document dated May 17 declares that all entry and exit data on White House visitors belongs to the White House as presidential records rather than to the Secret Service as agency records. Therefore, the agreement states, the material is not subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. ...

The chief counsel to another Washington-based group suing to get Secret Service logs calls the creation of the memo "a political maneuver couched as a legal one."...

In the mid-1990s, a conservative group, Judicial Watch, obtained Secret Service entry logs through a lawsuit.

Secret Service records played a significant role in the Whitewater scandal in the 1990s, supplying congressional Republicans with leads to follow in their investigations of the Clintons....

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