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Thread: WH/Secret Service "Quietly" Signed Agreement Restricting Visitor Files From Public

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    WH/Secret Service "Quietly" Signed Agreement Restricting Visitor Files From Public

    White House visitor records closed

    (Gold9472: If they've got nothing to hide, then why do they hide everything?)

    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON - 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.

    In the past, Secret Service logs have revealed the comings and goings of various White House visitors, including Monica Lewinsky and Clinton campaign donor Denise Rich, the wife of fugitive financier Marc Rich, who received a pardon in the closing hours of the Clinton administration.

    The memo last spring was signed by the White House and Secret Service the day after a Washington-based group asked a federal judge to impose sanctions on the Secret Service in a dispute over White House visitor logs for Abramoff.

    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."

    "It appears the White House is actually manufacturing evidence to further its own agenda," Anne Weismann, a Justice Department lawyer for 19 years and now chief counsel to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Friday.

    The White House and the Secret Service declined to comment.

    Last year in the Abramoff scandal, the Bush administration, in response to three lawsuits, provided an incomplete picture of how many visits Abramoff and his lobbying team made to the White House.

    The task of digging out Abramoff-White House links fell to a House committee that collected the lobbyist's billing records and e-mails. The House report found 485 lobbying contacts with presidential aides over three years, including 10 with top Bush administration aide Karl Rove.

    As part of its security function of protecting the White House complex, the Secret Service uses the log information to conduct background checks on people prior to daily appointments and visits.

    The memorandum of understanding is an unusual step because it deals with an unsettled area of law.

    Federal courts will ultimately decide whether records identifying White House visitors and who they are going to see are under the legal control of the Secret Service or are presidential records publicly releasable solely at the discretion of the White House.

    The Bush administration's agreement with the Secret Service "at a minimum will serve to postpone a final resolution of who these records belong to," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists. "This memo reflects the Bush administration's view of American government, which is that the people's business should be conducted behind closed doors."

    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.

    A decade ago, Senate investigators used Secret Service logs to document who visited the White House during the fundraising scandal surrounding President Clinton's re-election campaign.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    beltman713 Guest
    Yeah, really. Why hide visitor records?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad?
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    "It appears the White House is actually manufacturing evidence to further its own agenda."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #6
    AuGmENTor Guest
    Aren't those a matter of public record? Don't your taxes go to pay the light bill there and everyother damn thing? How could a visitor log for the whitehouse b a matter of national security?

  7. #7
    1voice2006 Guest
    I was going to ask...

    "Does not the Public i.e taxpayers "own" the white House. How can anything in the building, with the exception of their personal items, such as clothes, furniture they brought in...etc, how can any President say that it's personal property now?

    Does anyone have any idea of what other items are achived inside the White House...I don't know much, but I did find a couple of websites with a few clues as to what is there.

    If stuff starts becoming "personal property" then all of our History is about to be in jeopardy. The Achived historical Records could suddemly become "misplaced", or worse yet...considered "personal property" You could say they are merely "renting" it for a few years.

    Just before the election, Adams had written these words about his new residence, the White House:
    "I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof."
    (Well...I guess we missed that one by a mile.)


    Historians and students of White House history seeking primary source materials on the late-18th-century origin, design, and construction of the building as well as its 19th-century reconstruction and renovations, changing interior spaces, and purchases of art and furnishings, must turn to the rich resources of the National Archives, which holds White House- related letter-books, financial accounts, and architectural and landscape drawings and plans. To assist in its daily work, the White House Office of the Curator has photocopies of many of these original records from 1800 to 1902. They are supplemented by letters and diary and journal accounts (originals and copies from other repositories) describing the White House, its grounds, the lives of its occupants, and the myriad events that have taken place within its historic spaces.

    More specialized records of major 20th-century projects such as the massive Truman renovation of 1948-52 are held by the National Archives, too, in the official records of the Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion, and in those of the National Park Service established in 1933 and charged with certain management responsibilities relating to the White House. The personal papers of the architect and the interior designer who played key roles in the Truman renovation are in the White House Office of the Curator and supplement the official records.

    The Office of the Curator, created in 1961, holds materials that have been acquired to support the documentation of the White House collections of art and furnishings, and the history of the building, the management and operations of the Executive Residence, and the staff and consultants who have been involved with the house.

    Along with historic paintings, prints, and drawings, there are manuscripts, photographs, architectural and landscape drawings and plans, records of White House advisory committees since the 1920s, periodicals, government reports, and extensive newspaper clippings.

    The office has a 2,000-volume noncirculating library to support historical and curatorial research. Although available to scholars, these resources are not open to the public.

  8. #8
    AuGmENTor Guest

    then all of our History is about to be in jeopardy
    Well, DUH

  9. #9
    1voice2006 Guest
    Oh come on...

    I wanted dialogue.
    Has everyone decided that it no sense in discussing things...ya never know!!! We might come up with some thought-provoking, moment of Zen thing, or whatever. But its kind of hard to hold a discussion if nobody is gonna talk to me....
    Yeah yeah yeah...I know...sounds like a typical woman...always wanting to talk things out...hahaha!

    Of course, I could try a new technique to get the shyer ones to speak up....

  10. #10
    AuGmENTor Guest
    well that'd almost assuredly work! See now THIS is what we need, more free thinkers!

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