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White House: Visitor logs exempt from laws
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CNN/Associated Press

CNN/Associated Press, June 1, 2007
Posted: June 8th, 2007

A newly disclosed effort to keep Vice President Dick Cheney's visitor records secret is the latest White House push to make sure the public doesn't learn who has been meeting with top officials in the Bush administration. Over the past year, lawyers for President Bush and Cheney have directed the Secret Service to maintain the confidentiality of visitor entry and exit logs, declaring them to be presidential records, exempt from a law requiring their disclosure to whoever asks to see them. Cabinet officers often don't want to give up their meeting calendars to journalists. They have no choice under the Freedom of Information Act, which provides public access to some records kept by federal agencies. But the FOIA disclosure law, which doesn't apply to Congress, also doesn't apply to presidential records. The Bush administration has exploited that difference, triggering a battle in the courts. The administration is seeking dismissal of two lawsuits by ... Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, demanding Secret Service visitor logs. "The scary thing about this move by the vice president's office is the power grab part of it," said Tom Blanton, head of [George Washington University's] National Security Archive ... which uses the FOIA law to pierce government secrecy. "We're looking at a huge problem if the White House can reach into any agency and say certain records have something to do with the White House and they are presidential from now on," Blanton said. "This White House has been infinitely creative in finding new ways and new forms of government secrecy."

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