Court – White House visitor logs can remain secret

posted at 11:31 am on August 31, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

Today we bring you the latest update on The Most Transparent Administration Evah.

A federal appeals court has ruled that the White House can keep secret some records of visitors who enter the building.

In a unanimous decision on Friday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that visitor logs for the Office of the President, at the center of the White House, are not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Anti-secrecy organizations criticized the ruling as a barrier to public oversight.

“Decisions like this turn FOIA from a transparency law into a secrecy law,” Tom Fitton, president of the right-leaning Judicial Watch, told The Hill. He added that the decision was “unprecedented.”

There are times and places for secrecy and playing your hand close to the vest, as I’ve mentioned several times. This is particularly true when the government is planning a military action or dealing with global intelligence resources. We can find out about those things after the fact, and I’m fine with that. But with most matters of domestic policy issues the voters deserve a seat at the table. And the list of visitors to the Executive branch certainly doesn’t sound like something which is going to endanger national security.

While we’re on that subject, it’s worth noting one comment from the linked article – and many others – which leads us on a short trip down memory lane. Judicial Watch is being conveniently labeled as, “the right-leaning Judicial Watch.” That’s a very useful description if your sub-text is, “those conservative wing-nuts who just want to make trouble for the President because he’s a black Democrat.” But for our advanced students who have been paying attention in class for some time now, let’s hop in the Way Back Machine and take a trip to 2005.

At that time, questions were being raised – including by yours truly – about then Vice President Dick Cheney’s meetings with energy industry executives while determining national energy policy. That’s one of those domestic areas I mentioned where I believe we are entitled to be in on the discussion at the ground floor, so I too opposed keeping the guest list and content of those meetings secret. So who was fighting to make the information public back then and how were they described in left leaning publications like the Boston Globe? (Emphasis mine)

A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that Vice President Dick Cheney will not have to release details about the role of energy executives in private meetings Cheney held to craft national energy strategies, a decision that probably brings an end to a long-running and politically charged lawsuit…

The decision, which the anticorruption group Judicial Watch called a ”defeat for open government,” means that the judicial branch will avoid the political nightmare of ordering the executive branch to produce records against its will. If that order had come, Cheney had vowed to invoke executive privilege, creating a constitutional separation-of-powers battle.

I see. So when they go after the Obama administration they are, “the right leaning group.” But if they’re going after the Bush administration, they’re the “anticorruption group.” Hmmm…

The Executive branch has been getting away with things like this for ages, fully aided and abetted by the Judicial branch. Apparently not much is going to change. But let’s stop pretending there’s some big difference between the two parties and that the Democrats somehow are more eager to let the voters in on what’s happening inside the walls of the castle. That’s just nonsense.


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The ruling class protecting its own.

Akzed on August 31, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Hope and…something else…I can’t remember exactly but I know it was a pretty cool concept.

Bishop on August 31, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Farrakhan chuckles.

Cleombrotus on August 31, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Send it up to the Supremes, Roberts anxiously waiting to deem logs a tax…

hillsoftx on August 31, 2013 at 11:47 AM

The ruling class protecting its own.

Akzed on August 31, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Zackly. Us versus them. And the sooner the “us” figures that out and takes aggessive action, the better.

Jaibones on August 31, 2013 at 11:51 AM

So much for checks and balances let alone transparency, openness, and accountability to the American people.

I wonder if the Founding Father’s ever envisioned a time when the constitutional checks and balances between the 3 primary branches would fail because all branches ignore their responsibility and accountability to the people or the Constitution?

This is no longer a government for the people. The people now apparently exist to service and fund a government suffering from massive hubris.

Athos on August 31, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Hope and…something else…I can’t remember exactly but I know it was a pretty cool concept.

Bishop on August 31, 2013 at 11:45 AM

C’mon, Obama brought “change.”

He changed the federal government into a far more corrupt, incompetent and invasive behemoth than it had ever been before.

AZCoyote on August 31, 2013 at 11:53 AM

I wonder if the Founding Father’s ever envisioned a time when the constitutional checks and balances between the 3 primary branches would fail because all branches ignore their responsibility and accountability to the people or the Constitution?

Athos on August 31, 2013 at 11:53 AM

They did actually, its called the 2nd Amendment. Why on earth do you think the liberals are so desperate to eliminate that one? Its one of the last obstacles for them to have full forceful compliance.

Alinsky on August 31, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Heh..

Transparency and Open Government

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
SUBJECT: Transparency and Open Government

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public. Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public.

BARACK OBAMA

bazil9 on August 31, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The question that should be asked by all media is….why?

Why would they keep this hidden? Why now? What is their explanation? Is anyone asking them? What exactly do they plant to hide? We know we cant trust them, this is a fact that should be obvious to anybody that does not fear reality…so if we cant trust them and now they are working hard to hide who they talk to…who are they talking to?

Is this something other Presidents have done? If so, why did they do it?

Alinsky on August 31, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Wonder how many visits by the muslim brotherhood are on those logs.
Wouldn’t want the American people to see that, now would ya?

Fazman on August 31, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Can you imagine if this had happened under Bush?

Come on, Leftists, defend it.

What a typical squish Hot Air write-up of a clear and indefensible outrage.

rrpjr on August 31, 2013 at 12:06 PM

An absolute affront to America!

Obozo has taken the entire concept of “We The People” and turned our country into a banana republic. The democrats are consolidating power at a furious rate, closing off OUR government from us at every turn, and creating the most invasive and comprehensive surveillance system in the history of man.

At what point are people going to collectively say “no more!”???

KMC1 on August 31, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Now is that all records? In the case of the IRS scandal, I think the public has a right to know when public officials visited other public officials, especially when it seems that the number times and the lengths of the visit seem more than a little out of balance to Obama’s established norm. As for Judicial Watch, just keep pointing it out, like Biden threatening to impeach W. It won’t change anything but at least we know we aren’t the ones that are crazy.

Cindy Munford on August 31, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I have no rage left to out.

steebo77 on August 31, 2013 at 12:12 PM

It’s for the greater good government.

Kenosha Kid on August 31, 2013 at 12:22 PM

OT- Tim Tebow cut by the Pats.

CW on August 31, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Tim Tebow cut by the Pats.

CW on August 31, 2013 at 12:31 PM

I was hoping he would be traded to the Lions for the headline factor – Christian given to the Lions!

faraway on August 31, 2013 at 12:51 PM

obama is in fact the most transparent president in history.

Sure, he doesn’t release documents, vititors’ logs and etc.

However, the erroneous assumption is made that he functions in the best interest of the USA. He doesn’t.

He is very transparent in the aims of his Utopian pipe-dreams.

1. Bringing the USA to size, with China, Russia, Brazil, India…

2. Domestic and global redistribution of wealth.

3. Domestic and global reparations, for racism, slavery and colonization.

4. Socialist and communist idealistic pipe-dreams.

5. ‘Equality’ for thee but not for the actual socialists like him. They live, on your backs, like emperors.

He is very successful in his ideals, and very transparent for those who have brains/eyes.

Schadenfreude on August 31, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Just because John Kerry is a horse-head.

Schadenfreude on August 31, 2013 at 12:57 PM

The UN azzhat just spoke “there might have been chemicals but we don’t know who did it…tomorrow”.

Idiot, I could have told you this, gratis, without all that effort.

Schadenfreude on August 31, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Appeal coming, the nation hopes. This is not right, and to keep it sealed for 12 years is ridiculous.

Amazingoly on August 31, 2013 at 12:58 PM

What a typical squish Hot Air write-up of a clear and indefensible outrage.

rrpjr on August 31, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Why do you read and comment here, if it’s a “squish” site? Life’s too short…go somewhere more conservative and be happy.

As for the substance of your point, you’re way off base. I’ve done the same thing, but come on — the whole point of Jazz’s column is to mock the Obama administration and point out their dishonesty and hypocrisy, as well as the incompetence (or worse) of the press.

What on earth are you looking for?

Jaibones on August 31, 2013 at 12:58 PM

I was hoping he would be traded to the Lions for the headline factor – Christian given to the Lions!

faraway on August 31, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Heh.

I was pretty sure he wasn’t headed to Frisco.

CW on August 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM

If this is a legal, necessary step to re-elect the president who saved the auto industry, reformed health care, is winding down two stupidly run wars, and kept the economy from sliding into a depression, I’ll kee the change, thank you His pragmatism gives me hope for this November.
 
urban elitist on February 7, 2012 at 1:35 PM

rogerb on August 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM

If this is a legal, necessary step to re-elect the president who saved the auto industry, reformed health care, is winding down two stupidly run wars, and kept the economy from sliding into a depression, I’ll kee the change, thank you His pragmatism gives me hope for this November. The stupid people will reward him.

urban elitist on February 7, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Schadenfreude on August 31, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Just because John Kerry is a horse-head.
Schadenfreude on August 31, 2013 at 12:57 PM

While he may have a long face, I’d say that the other end is a more useful description of the guy overall.

LegendHasIt on August 31, 2013 at 1:02 PM

If this is a legal, necessary step to re-elect the president who saved the auto industry, reformed health care, is winding down two stupidly run wars, and kept the economy from sliding into a depression, I’ll kee the change, thank you His pragmatism gives me hope for this November.

urban elitist on February 7, 2012 at 1:35 PM

rogerb on August 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM

And don’t forget that O’bama also just said Bush and Chaney and Rumsfeld and the others are immune from their Iraq “war crimes” too!

Gotta have hope ‘n’ change!

Del Dolemonte on August 31, 2013 at 1:03 PM

I said this yesterday – the oaf in chief will hold the congress/land hostage with his Operation Egofark™, during the budget/ceiling fight. Mark it down as transparency item 998.

Schadenfreude on August 31, 2013 at 1:07 PM

While he may have a long face, I’d say that the other end is a more useful description of the guy overall.

LegendHasIt on August 31, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Brilliant. Makes donkeys indignant.

Schadenfreude on August 31, 2013 at 1:10 PM

No way better to destroy freedom than to have collusion between the courts, the media, the silent opposing party, and the control freaks….

Don L on August 31, 2013 at 1:38 PM

The left has the memory of a goldfish.

pat on August 31, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Obama does not want us to see all those associated with Muslim Brotherhood parading into the White House….

albill on August 31, 2013 at 1:46 PM

plantation

ExpressoBold on August 31, 2013 at 2:01 PM

As for the substance of your point, you’re way off base.
Jaibones on August 31, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Framing the issue as correlative with “times and places for secrecy and playing your hands close to your vest” is absurd. This issue is starkly removed from anything like an ordinary need for secrecy. It’s the White House guest log, for God’s sakes. Hot Air constantly does this — this sense of meaningless and/or often misleading juxtapositions. Or, similarly, the “on the one hand, on the other hand” overreaching for “balance” which muddies what is a simple issue, a clear outrage.

But point well taken. I shouldn’t come here if this frustrates me. I come almost entirely for the comments.

rrpjr on August 31, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Just because John Kerry is a horse-head.
Schadenfreude on August 31, 2013 at 12:57 PM

While he may have a long face, I’d say that the other end is a more useful description of the guy overall.

LegendHasIt on August 31, 2013 at 1:02 PM

This is why Kerry is the only person capable of single-handedly operating a pantomime horse.

virgo on August 31, 2013 at 2:28 PM

But the NSA knows who I call or email 24/7. It’s good to be king

jaywemm on August 31, 2013 at 2:36 PM

So when they go after the Obama administration they are, “the right leaning group.” But if they’re going after the Bush administration, they’re the “anticorruption group.” Hmmm…

That’s a very telling hypocracy that you’ve caught them in. Nice work.

bofh on August 31, 2013 at 3:04 PM

When did Jazz get on the small govt bandwagon?

kpguru on August 31, 2013 at 3:04 PM

one of the enduring characteristics of the Left is rewriting history. And putting so many lies out in the public domain that the serfs become confused. And so the general narrative is built piece by piece, carefully crafted for consistency, that Conservatives are Evil…and should be ignored.

And that the Left has your interests at heart…and btw, here’s your check to prove our loyalty to you

and that works if you have trillions of other people’s money and a media apparatus that shills for you 24/7

r keller on August 31, 2013 at 4:14 PM

The article does not identify all three judges on the panel, but the Chief Judge of the Circuit who authored the opinion is Merrick Garland, who was appointed by Clinton to take the seat of retiring far-leftist judge Abner Mikva, and has been considered a leading candidate for appointment to SCOTUS if Obama gets another chance to ruin the Court.

Adjoran on August 31, 2013 at 4:49 PM

The most transparent administration evah!

cajunpatriot on August 31, 2013 at 4:53 PM

The ruling class protecting its own.

Akzed on August 31, 2013 at 11:35 AM(…NICE BISHOP!)

Zackly. Us versus them. And the sooner the “us” figures that out and takes aggessive action, the better.

Jaibones on August 31, 2013 at 11:51 AM

…EXACTLY!

KOOLAID2 on August 31, 2013 at 5:26 PM

bwahahahahaha

But let’s stop pretending there’s some big difference between the two parties

same difference between the Corleone’s & Tattaglia’s

roflmmfao

donabernathy on August 31, 2013 at 6:34 PM

The court’s decision to allow Obama to keep his guests secret is actually an attempt to do what is best for everyone, Obama and the American people.

Allowing Obama to keep his White House Guests a secret, for example, gives Obama the 1 area in his life / administration about which he does not have to continue to LIE to the American people. He can simply entertain all the racist American-hating hate-spewing ‘pastors’ and terrorists he wants without having to explain himself or offer up ridiculous stories to hide the truth. During his 1st term in office, according to the WH visitor’s log, Obama’s ‘mentor’, Jeremiah Wright, visited quite frequently … until the media discovered and reported the visits.. Obama’s explanation? “Ummm, no, this was a DIFFERENT ‘Jeremiah Wright’. Obama continues to find it difficult to explain, while during the height of the IRS targeting Obama’s political enemies – Conservatives & the TEA Party, why the head of the IRS met with him over 120 times. He also has not explained why he allowed members of the Muslim Brotherhood who were on the No-Fly List to not only visit the WH but also attend Cabinet Meetings before helping them take over the Egyptian government. Now, however, that the court has said he can HIDE his WH Visitor Log, and thus anyone he wants to entertain, Obama is relieved of the burden of having to LIE about it.

At the same time, it is much better if Americans do not know who Obama entertains, as it only causes frustration, anger, and worry. We have enough to worry about and enough of his lies to listen to without having to worry about/listen to the lies about what racists, hate-mongers, or terrorists he is allowing to walk the halls of the House our fore-fathers and former leaders have.

easyt65 on August 31, 2013 at 7:14 PM

I’ve never heard of an anti-corruption group that was left-leaning. Is there such a beast?

unclesmrgol on August 31, 2013 at 7:21 PM

We have enough to worry about and enough of his lies to listen to without having to worry about/listen to the lies about what racists, hate-mongers, or terrorists he is allowing to walk the halls of the House our fore-fathers and former leaders have.

easyt65 on August 31, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Lying is all this man does. It’s so habitual and compulsive for him, I’m not sure he’s even aware he’s aware he is lying. Which is a sad commentary for a human being occupying the office of an elected president.
.
Has he ever spoken a truth? Is he capable?
.
I doubt it. Truly.
.
I believe NOTHING this man says. NOTHING. Consequently, I merely switch channels when I see him swaggering toward a microphone.

avagreen on September 1, 2013 at 7:18 AM