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White House to Release Visitor Logs

By Michael A. Fletcher
Reversing a policy embraced by previous presidents of both parties, the Obama administration will make public a listing of visitors to the White House.

The White House characterized the move as another step in making the administration more open.

"For the first time in history, records of White House visitors will be made available on an ongoing basis," President Obama said in a statement. "We will achieve our goal of making this administration the most open and transparent administration in history not only by opening the doors of the White House to more Americans, but by shining a light on the business conducted inside."

Under the policy, the Obama administration will post online the names of White House visitors from the previous 90-120 days. The only names withheld under the policy would be people being considered for high-level appointments, such as Supreme Court candidates. Visitors whose known presence at the White House would pose a national security risk also are exempted under the policy, the White House said.

The decision to release the visitor logs comes after ongoing lawsuits prompted an internal review of the policy that started in the early days of the administration. The new policy promises to provide more information about the people who come to the White House in hopes of influencing decision-making.

The review of the policy was prompted by a series of lawsuits by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The suits were settled Thursday with the White House promise to make the visitor information public.

Previously, the Obama administration had refused to release the visitor records, a decision that was in line with Bush administration policy. But after the review, the White House decided to alter its stand.

"The Obama administration has proven its pledge to usher in a new era of government transparency was more than just a campaign promise. The Bush administration fought tooth and nail to keep secret the identities of those who visited the White House," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. In contrast, the Obama administration -- by putting visitor records on the White House web site -- will have the most open White House in history."

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 4, 2009; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , White House  
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Comments

White house calls me http://bit.ly/3KH6Es Wall Street crimes about to be exposed in decimals. Investigation under way on Goldman Sachs.

www.twitter.com/stockshockmovie

Richard, narrator

Posted by: StockShock | September 4, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm amazed how the deadenders are turning this into a negative. They're very talented.

Posted by: Fate1 | September 4, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is doing some amazing things. I never thought this would happen. Nor did I ever think Regan Airport would ever open again. I guess they have weighed the risk and decided it's ok. This is a big step. Even Lincoln didn't release his guest list to the White House. This is a big historical decision. Great job, new administration. Now finish getting us out of this recession.

Posted by: madstamina | September 4, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

This appears to be a discretionary release of the names of individuals entering the business (office) side of the White House. (Not a data dump of ordinary tourists' names, they are procssed differently through a designated gate for entry to tour the quasi-public rooms such as the Red Room, the Blue Room, and so forth.) The Bush administration's lawyers determined a few years ago that gate (or visitors') logs maintained by the Secret Service at the White House fall under the Presidential Records Act (PRA) rather than the Federal Records Act. As PRA-controlled materials, they cannot be requested by the public under the Freedom of Information Act until five years after an administration leaves office. The Obama administration apparently is waiving the right to keep them secret and choosing to post the information. As to logs from the Bush administration, the public can start requesting access to the disclosable portions from the National Archives-administered Bush Presidential Library in five years.

Posted by: Former_Archivist | September 4, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Where is the Post's coverage of the Van Jones debacle? Talk about sucking up to Obama! My God, what has happened to the so called press in this country?

Posted by: MikeJ9116 | September 4, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Retroactive transparency doesn't count.

Posted by: ccatmoon | September 4, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The Obama guest list:

Marx,
Stalin,
Breznef,
Malcom x,
Che guevara,
Mao tse Tung

Oh I'm sorry that is Obama's dream list, these guys are already dead.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | September 4, 2009 1:16 PM

-------------------------------------------

Brought to you by your run of the mill, fat, red in the face, fake christian.

Yahooo ignoranceisbliss... rack up some more talking points for your American Taliban cohorts!

Posted by: htruman | September 4, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

So we will get to se certain names and nothing for the last 8 months. Yeah, that almost lives up to his campaign promise of government transparency. More like governemnt opaqueness.

Posted by: maslager | September 4, 2009 2:50 PM


-------------------------------------------

you're sooooo right... this administration is far more authoritarian than the bush/dick policies of admit no mistakes, tell no straight answers.

sucks when you attribute all of your life's short comings to affirmative action.........

Posted by: htruman | September 4, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

CNN.com is reporting that the new policy will apply to visitor logs created AFTER September 15 —- not to previous visitor logs -- that's what the "EIGHT MONTHS OF DATA" is about. Per an administration statement outlining the policy that CREW posted on its Web site.

Posted by: JakeD | September 4, 2009 3:21 PM

------------------------------------------

errr, and soooo?? what's your point, that obama's going to meet all his cronies at gwb's and dickhaed cheney's ranches from this point out to avoid public scrutiny??

Posted by: htruman | September 4, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

This is news? Who cares? The media ignores the fact that most of Obama's czars and appointments did not pay taxes or are current (or past) members of some far left looney bin group.

If Van Jones has his looney group visit the White House, will anyone notice?

Posted by: jhpbriton | September 4, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

And now we must have the names of those who have access to Obama's BLACKBERRY.

Posted by: chatard |
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lets publicize all of YOUR personal information that is covered by HIPPA for the world to see!

Posted by: merf-1 | September 4, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, so much for an honest transparency. Only a partial list and then only 90+ days after the fact. Kind of falls right in line with all the other secret stuff by tise socialist regime.

Posted by: GordonShumway | September 4, 2009 3:04 PM
_______________________________
So Bush and Cheney are socialists? Wow, what a news flash.

Posted by: luridone | September 4, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

USDefender
We are crippled with a President who lies to the American citizen, makes grandiose claims about his offensive legislative assaults on our freedoms.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You ARE talking about Bush/Cheny of course an without a DOUBT!!!!! I am so sick and tired of the racist rhetoric polluting this country by the nazi-cons. It is SOOOOO predictable that my response is akin to their comment; Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Listening to the nazi-cons is like listening to the adult fog-horn voice that represents adults in every Charlie Brown cartoon.

Posted by: merf-1 | September 4, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The Obama Administration is demonstrating a thoughtful and diberate review of executive administrative policy and appears to be issuing revised administrative openness to the Federal government, but only after taking into consideration the various needs of American government. This administrative reversal and how it was accomplished reflects an intelligent approach to governance that bodes well for future policy initiatives from this Administration.

Posted by: TabLUnoLCSWfromUtah | September 4, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

BAD MOVE--

Even Obama should be able to meet with visitors at the White House in confidence.

Posted by: JaxMax | September 4, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

CNN.com is reporting that the new policy will apply to visitor logs created AFTER September 15 —- not to previous visitor logs -- that's what the "EIGHT MONTHS OF DATA" is about. Per an administration statement outlining the policy that CREW posted on its Web site.

Posted by: JakeD | September 4, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

And now we must have the names of those who have access to Obama's BLACKBERRY.

Posted by: chatard | September 4, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, so much for an honest transparency. Only a partial list and then only 90+ days after the fact. Kind of falls right in line with all the other secret stuff by tise socialist regime.

Posted by: GordonShumway | September 4, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Another White House press release, suitably spun... Look, this visitor log for this year WILL NOT be released. In fact, they won release names of those visiting for the rest of the year, only beginning next year, and, then, not all of them. So there wont be any mention of those hi the executives that exchange "campaign" money for more H1-B visas, just to take one example. Also, this is NOT a policy change from the corrupt Bush years, it is in answer to a freedom of information act lawsuit by various groups. Is the Post so in bed with these crooks, so lazy, that they wont bother to report the news accurately and truthfully? That is how we got into Iraq, how this depression began. Cut it out!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | September 4, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The OBAMA POTUS is is telling yet another Lie. How sick! We are crippled with a President who lies to the American citizen, makes grandiose claims about his offensive legislative assaults on our freedoms. I have NO faith in this radical man, and want him out of office so we can re-build and repair the damage he has done to the United States.
ALL visitors to the Whitehouse, which belongs to the citizens of the United States,MUST BE LOGGED and REVEALED to the public!
OPEN GOVERNMENT, NOT JUST LIES PLEASE!

Posted by: USDefender | September 4, 2009 12:44 PM
__________________________________
Open government - Like was done under Bush?
Assault on our freedoms - like the PATRIOT Act?
The damage done to the U.S. - like the BUSH recession (that's been turned around by the stimulus package)?

Posted by: luridone | September 4, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

So we will get to se certain names and nothing for the last 8 months. Yeah, that almost lives up to his campaign promise of government transparency. More like governemnt opaqueness.

Posted by: maslager | September 4, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

As usual, those Republican extremists that hate Obama and the Democratic majority do nothing but criticize.
President Obama and his staff took time to analyze the policy before making their decision. Good job.
Posted by: dotellen | September 4, 2009 1:27 PM
==========================================
It's a bone. His approval numbers are dropping. So he goes thru the list to see what bone he can throw the groupies and maybe they will forget about some of the other questionable things he's doing. It really works for some people, like yourself. I can tell you are really impressed! Don't lie! You think it's wonderful, now dontcha? Why, I believe you're drooling. Wow! You are impressed!

Posted by: tjmlrc | September 4, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Obama always wanted to do this. But someone in the transition team raised a bunch of red flags. Considering all the higher-priority things he's been working on, it took a few months to dispel those concerns.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 4, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse


People crying about the first eight months should remember that whatever they choose to keep away from the public will be kept away. It's like people who complain about the Bilderberg Group but who forget that the same people could just as easily meet in private far, far away from the public completely.

Obama can just trip on over to the Executive Office Building and hold meetings all day long even while his schedule says he's in the Oval Office.

Posted by: blasmaic | September 4, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

This is great. But will they release the logs of those who showed up in past administrations...trust me, such logs were kept.

Posted by: Fascist_Nation | September 4, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Also, I didn't see mention of the SECRET EIGHT MONTHS in the article above.

Here is a link to the full story:
http://tinyurl.com/msnbc-full-story

Posted by: mike7777777 | September 4, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama said he would do this and he eventually came through. This is good news.

Posted by: LittleRed1 | September 4, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

They are NOT going to release the first EIGHT MONTHS worth of data.

Not sure why Crew thinks Obama should get away with that. Hopefully, there will be another group that will pursue that data through FOIA, etc.

When Obama says:
"We will achieve our goal of making this administration the most open and transparent administration in history not only by opening the doors of the White House to more Americans, but by shining a light on the business conducted inside."

He really means: as long as we can be transparent after the first eight months.

How obvious can it be...

Posted by: mike7777777 | September 4, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I bet some real nutjobs have come through the WH doors in the last 6 months. Just look at Obama's own appointments - a rougue's gallery of tax-cheats and psycho-utopian-marxists. Jones, Holdren, Sunstein all have wacked-out ideas that can only exist in politics.

Posted by: pgr88 | September 4, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Well that should be a long list of communists and socialists.

Posted by: fenoy | September 4, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

As usual, those Republican extremists that hate Obama and the Democratic majority do nothing but criticize.

President Obama and his staff took time to analyze the policy before making their decision. Good job.

Posted by: dotellen | September 4, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The Obama administration has proven its pledge to usher in a new era of government transparency was more than just a campaign promise. The Bush administration fought tooth and nail to keep secret the identities of those who visited the White House," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. In contrast, the Obama administration -- by putting visitor records on the White House web site -- will have the most open White House in history."
===========================================
Now if he tells us all about the background of his little czars, that would be transparency.
But you're a cheaper date than I am.

Posted by: tjmlrc | September 4, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The Obama guest list:

Marx,
Stalin,
Breznef,
Malcom x,
Che guevara,
Mao tse Tung

Oh I'm sorry that is Obama's dream list, these guys are already dead.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | September 4, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I just read that during the President's vacation, there was a large number of "public" tours of the White House. Will those names be taken and posted too?

Posted by: carolineC1 | September 4, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

lovinliberty, No one thinks you have ever had anything meaningful to add to any discussion, and your mangling of the word milquetoast helps confirm our impression of you.

Posted by: DROSE1 | September 4, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The OBAMA POTUS is is telling yet another Lie. How sick! We are crippled with a President who lies to the American citizen, makes grandiose claims about his offensive legislative assaults on our freedoms. I have NO faith in this radical man, and want him out of office so we can re-build and repair the damage he has done to the United States.
ALL visitors to the Whitehouse, which belongs to the citizens of the United States,MUST BE LOGGED and REVEALED to the public!
OPEN GOVERNMENT, NOT JUST LIES PLEASE!

Posted by: USDefender | September 4, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

A good step by the White House. But that is just physical presence -- what about conf calls? MORE IMPORTANTLY now we need our Congressman to follow suit. The bills that get passed are an ugly quilt of earmarks and special interest set-asides -- and that all happens in congress as a result of a deluge of lobbyists.

Posted by: TertiumQuid | September 4, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't you just love the Republican stooges here who pretend to be disaffected "Obama voters"? I think they're adorable.

As for the restoration of honesty to our government, I welcome it. Thanks Mr. President. I appreciate it too that your audiences are not the handpicked GOP invitees we saw throughout the eight years of President Bubble.

Thank you for leading us through some hard times. I don't agree with every last thing you've done so far, but you're still a huge breath of fresh air.

Posted by: B2O2 | September 4, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

So much for Obozzo's open gubbment. Can this POS move his lips without lying?

Posted by: Bcamp55 | September 4, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, that didn't take long. The guy who ran for president on OPEN government, then reversed himself, has reversed himself again. Let's hope this doesn't turn into an unfortunate habit.

Flip. Flop. Flip..

Thanks much. Obama voter/supporter

Posted by: HLBeckPE | September 4, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't this mean that only the milk toast, completely unobjectionable will get an invite in order to avoid the inevitable back lash from some dissatisfied group??

So, imagine after WWII no visits from Einstein (crazy pacificist) or MLK (racial radical) ....

Posted by: lovinliberty | September 4, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

What a refreshing break this is from the Bush administration. Good to do it only 6 months into his first year...Bush would have done this in the final month and saddled future administrations with his troubles. Again.

Posted by: CenterLeft | September 4, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

AN AMERICAN POLITICIDE HIDES IN PLAIN SIGHT

• Microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons" deployed against unjustly targeted American citizens by a secretive executive branch "multi-agency coordinated action program," charges longtime mainstream journalist.

http://groups.poynter.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=190108&post=76137

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 4, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

After getting caught doing secret back door deals makes it a little late to be transparent.

Posted by: zendrell | September 4, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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