White House decides against releasing visitor records

The Trump administration will not release White House visitor logs, a move that stands in stark contrast to its predecessor's policy, officials announced Friday, April 14.

The White House cited "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns" of people who visit the White House, according to Time.

The Washington Post says the Obama White House released the names of "nearly 6 million lobbyists and other visitors". White House lawyers also deleted names for national security and other reasons before the logs were made public, meaning the records provided an incomplete picture of exactly who entered and left the gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The decision, after almost three months of speculation about the fate of the records, marks a dramatic shift from the Obama Administration's voluntary disclosure of more than 6 million records during his presidency.

In this photo taken February 2, 2017, the White House in Washington seen from the South Lawn. They requested anonymity to discuss the policy before a formal announcement. The new policy excludes visits to the president, vice president and their senior staff.

In 2009, Obama decided to make his visitor logs public after four similar lawsuits by CREW.

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He said the decision was based on the "grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually". "This week, we sued the Trump administration to make sure they would continue to release the logs". 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.

However, visitor logs for White House agencies, such as the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Trade Representative, may be released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Regarding the trumped up allegation that President Barack Obama "bugged" Trump Tower, the accusations fabricated against Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, and, au courant, blaming Obama for Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria, finally, I get it. One White House official said the Obama logs created "more of a façade of transparency rather than complete transparency".

"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.

In this photo taken February 2, 2017, the White House in Washington. But after being sued, it voluntarily began disclosing the logs in December 2009, posting records every three to four months. Usually, with some exemptions, such information is in the visitor logs.

In a statement, White House Communications Director Michael Dubke rejected claims that the administration is attempting to avoid public scrutiny.