White House defends decision to not release visitor logs


White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has defended the decision to not voluntarily disclose records of who is visiting the White House, a policy that breaks the previous administration’s practice and has sparked outrage among several watchdog groups.

Spicer addressed the topic during Monday’s press briefing, saying that Trump’s administration is indeed following the law as it relates to disclosing White House visitors.

“We’re following the law as both the Presidential Records Act and the Federal Records Act prescribe it. It’s the same policy that every administration had up until the Obama administration. The faux attempt that the Obama administration put out where they would scrub who they didn’t want [to be] put out didn’t serve anyone well.”

He continued, “We maintain the same policy that every other administration did coming up here. And the last one, frankly, was a faux level of doing that because when you go through and scrub everyone’s name out you don’t want everyone to know, that really is not an honest attempt at doing it. We’re going to follow the law the way that every administration has followed up until the last one.”

Under the Trump administration, the visitor log records will remain secret until five years after the president has left the White House.

As DennisMichaelLynch.com reported last week, White House communications director Mike Dubke cited the reasons for not disclosing the records to be “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.”

Former President Obama implemented the practice of disclosing visitor logs in response to a series of lawsuits that began under George W. Bush. Records were made available online every month for people who visited 90 to 120 days prior.

However, exceptions were granted for “purely personal guests of the first and second families” and “records related to a small group of particularly sensitive meetings,” which often incited criticism over what could be categorized as such and if the administration was being transparent enough about which visitors were being publically disclosed.

Regarding those exceptions made by the former administration, Spicer remarked, “You don’t know who got left off and who didn’t. They chose to not put people out for whatever reason and they gave an excuse and no one questioned it. We’re going to have the same policy that every president has had through time and comply with the law on both fronts.”

H/T: The Hill

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