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White House Pushes To Keep Visitor Logs Private
NPR ^ | 01 July 2009 | Don Gonyea

Posted on 07/01/2009 8:32:21 AM PDT by BGHater

It was a recurring theme of Barack Obama's presidential campaign — a call for openness: "Transparency and accountability, getting the American people involved, that's how we're gonna bring about change," candidate Obama said.

And the theme continued on Obama's first day as president: "Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known."

But for advocates of open government, the new era of openness has yet to dawn.

"Once all the pretty speeches were over in the first couple of days, the record now isn't quite so great," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the nonpartisan watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Sloan is concerned about several early decisions regarding the release of documents and other information by the Obama White House. Her organization is suing for the release of Secret Service logs that would reveal which representatives from the coal industry visited the White House as the administration was preparing clean air policy.

It is similar to a lawsuit the Bush administration fought a few years back. This year, Sloan's organization asked for records again, citing the Freedom of Information Act.

"Not only did the administration refuse to provide those records — we have sued them — but they are making the same argument the Bush administration did even though that argument has already lost in court," Sloan said.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was recently asked about the White House visitor logs during his daily briefing.

"I think there are obviously occasions in which the president is going to meet privately with advisers on topics that are of great national importance," Gibbs answered.

He added that the policy regarding visitor logs is currently under review. That is just one of several issues on which the Obama administration has frustrated open government advocates. Some others include a decision not to release more photos documenting the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Former Bush administration press secretary Ari Fleischer has been watching the debate closely, and with some sense of vindication.

"As a candidate, you can make the easy call and say 'I'll do it,' " Fleischer said. "As a president, it's a good thing that he's thinking twice on some of these things."

A spokesman for Obama says the administration has made major changes in terms of providing more transparency by ordering that Freedom of Information Act requests be regarded with a presumption of disclosure. The administration also has set up a number of Web sites allowing the public to track government programs, funding for them and the funds they pay out.

"What the administration is beginning to deliver is an openness when it comes to a certain level of White House deliberations and with respect to government data," said Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation, an open government advocacy group. "Time will tell how this all plays out, but even in the first six months of the administration, we're seeing far more openness than we've seen in modern history."

The administration is learning that the campaign established a certain level of expectation that has not been met, and that insisting on having the most open administration ever is a far cry from achieving it.


TOPICS: Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bho44; brokenpromises; formom; log; obamasecrets; privacy; secretservice; transparency; whitehouse

1 posted on 07/01/2009 8:32:22 AM PDT by BGHater
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To: BGHater

the White House is OUR house....open up that guest book.


2 posted on 07/01/2009 8:33:06 AM PDT by tioga
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To: BGHater

If a Republican did this they would scream bloody murder!.................


3 posted on 07/01/2009 8:33:52 AM PDT by Red Badger (Inquiring minds want to know, but American Idol minds could care less...)
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To: BGHater

Once again, Obama is simply empty words.


4 posted on 07/01/2009 8:34:01 AM PDT by PGR88
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To: BGHater

Yes. Open and transparent government.

OPENLY hostile to the American people.

TRANSPARENTLY criminalistic and totalitarian in their actions.


5 posted on 07/01/2009 8:34:52 AM PDT by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th)
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To: BGHater

The only time O thinks twice is when it involves himself.

If it hurts our national security, our military personnel, then it’s perfectly alright to release classified information.


6 posted on 07/01/2009 8:35:06 AM PDT by Carley (OBAMA IS A MALEVOLENT FORCE IN THE WORLD)
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To: BGHater

He promised transparency didn’t he.


7 posted on 07/01/2009 8:35:17 AM PDT by Ptarmigan (God Hates Bunnies. God Loves Ptarmigans)
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: BGHater

This from NPR? hmm


9 posted on 07/01/2009 8:35:44 AM PDT by ElayneJ
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To: BGHater

The moral of this story is that Democrat voters are stupid.


10 posted on 07/01/2009 8:35:58 AM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: BGHater

Honduran ex commie president Zelaya was likely there last night. He was in Washington after all and he and Obama are big buds.


11 posted on 07/01/2009 8:36:01 AM PDT by penelopesire ("The only CHANGE you will get with the Democrats is the CHANGE left in your pocket")
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To: BGHater

This is from NPR? That is the best thing I have heard this morning.


12 posted on 07/01/2009 8:36:05 AM PDT by conservative cat (America, you have been PWNED!)
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To: BGHater

The administration is learning that the campaign established a certain level of expectation that has not been met, and that insisting on having the most open administration ever is a far cry from achieving it.

The same thing goes for ethics and honesty too.


13 posted on 07/01/2009 8:37:59 AM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: BGHater

The press should be going absolutely bonkers over this and be relentless in hounding Obama directly. Instead they never trouble Obama about it and gladly take any response Gibbs throws at them as completely satisfactory.


14 posted on 07/01/2009 8:38:02 AM PDT by rod1
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To: Red Badger

Republicans DID try to keep some secrets as to who visited the president at the White House. The last one to do so was named George W. Bush.

MOST presidents have probably kept some of their visitors’ names secret it; but MOST presidents didn’t run around mouthing off about having a completetly open and transparent administration.

It’s just further evidence that the man was not and IS not qualified for the job.


15 posted on 07/01/2009 8:39:05 AM PDT by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th)
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To: BGHater

Why? Think guys like Chavez or Osama are being sought for advice?


16 posted on 07/01/2009 8:39:31 AM PDT by bestintxas
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To: tioga

“our house”???

ok, let’s dump the presidential palace on the market, and move them into an abandoned strip mall somewhere w/babrbed wire/cyclone fencing around it; dump the SS, get a few renta-cops, etc. or, fergit the strip mall—give aka a monthly quarters/office allowance, say, equal to a top enlisted military gal....

get my drift?


17 posted on 07/01/2009 8:39:37 AM PDT by gunnyg
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To: BGHater

Empty suit; empty words and promises. The only surprise here is that ‘this’ is from NPR.

No doubt this little indescretion, like that pesky birth certificate, college transcripts, passport info, will be ‘overlooked.’ Obama is too big to fail.


18 posted on 07/01/2009 8:41:49 AM PDT by PennsylvaniaMom (Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building...carrying the Stanley Cup.)
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To: BGHater

Clinton did it ... media fine with it.
Bush did it ... media threw a fit.
Obama does it ... media fine with it.

Hmmm ... I see a pattern.


19 posted on 07/01/2009 8:41:58 AM PDT by Jackson57
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To: BGHater

From NPR????

Looks like the Liberal’s little darling Zero is starting to have trouble with his “base”.


20 posted on 07/01/2009 8:42:32 AM PDT by clee1 (We use 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile, and 2 to pull a trigger. I'm lazy and I'm tired of smiling.)
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To: BGHater

The Cloak of Transparency


21 posted on 07/01/2009 8:43:28 AM PDT by Lurkina.n.Learnin
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To: Ptarmigan

Transparency means you can see thru it, and we do..............


22 posted on 07/01/2009 8:47:45 AM PDT by Red Badger (Inquiring minds want to know, but American Idol minds could care less...)
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To: BGHater

I can see an argument for executive privilege here. Presidents need to be able to assure those they ask for advice that confidentiality can be kept. Just as the content of Oval Office conversations must be private, one could argue that even the list of persons present should be private as well.


23 posted on 07/01/2009 8:49:14 AM PDT by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: BGHater
You know what would be interesting to see is the average monthly liquor bill at the White House under the last several presidents and the current one.
24 posted on 07/01/2009 8:51:06 AM PDT by dblshot
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To: BGHater
Transparency?
pacity!

25 posted on 07/01/2009 8:51:35 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 163 of our national holiday from reality.)
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To: BGHater

That’s mighty transparent of President What’s His Name.


26 posted on 07/01/2009 8:52:19 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: BGHater

“It is similar to a lawsuit the Bush administration fought a few years back....

...Former Bush administration press secretary Ari Fleischer has been watching the debate closely, and with some sense of vindication.”


27 posted on 07/01/2009 8:57:31 AM PDT by hoe_cake (A member of the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Constitution.)
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To: BGHater

Barry’s Transparency and Open Government Ping!


28 posted on 07/01/2009 9:03:04 AM PDT by cranked
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To: BGHater

I wonder how many time Bill Ayers has been there to chat with Barry.


29 posted on 07/01/2009 9:05:54 AM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: tioga

The White House was OUR house.


30 posted on 07/01/2009 9:06:38 AM PDT by gathersnomoss (General George Patton had it right.)
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To: BGHater

“I think there are obviously occasions ... “ Gibbs answered.

I’ve noticed Gibbs uses the word “obviously” a lot.
It makes him sound like a snotty teenager. (like 0)


31 posted on 07/01/2009 9:07:28 AM PDT by tumblindice (Obviously an adolescent is ruling the USA by diktat)
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To: BGHater

Look, I supported President Bush being allowed to get advice from anyone he sees fit. Getting that information in a confidential manner is important, or it will be tainted by politics.

President Obama can do the same.

I agree that the liberals are hypocrites on this issue....THAT is where our focus should be.


32 posted on 07/01/2009 9:08:40 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: BGHater
I guess he misses Billy and the Rev. Jeremiah.

ML/NJ

33 posted on 07/01/2009 9:23:39 AM PDT by ml/nj
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To: BGHater

Fauxbama


34 posted on 07/01/2009 9:41:28 AM PDT by n2dubes
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To: ml/nj
And assorted mullahs too!

ML/NJ

35 posted on 07/01/2009 9:46:31 AM PDT by ml/nj
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To: conservative cat
This is from NPR? That is the best thing I have heard this morning.

First item for NPR to get my nearly coveted "formom" keyword designation.

(formom=for mom - indicates a story, usually from a source liberals trust, that is so simple to understand that it might cause an intellectually honest liberal to open his/her eyes and maybe have a "Bridge on the River Kwai moment")

ML/NJ

36 posted on 07/01/2009 9:52:56 AM PDT by ml/nj
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To: BGHater
Will an NPR reporter casting doubt on the papal infallibility of Obama be allowed a second time?
37 posted on 07/01/2009 10:02:15 AM PDT by Seeing More Clearly Now
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To: Ramius

You’re absolutely correct that presidents should be able to have confidential conversations and that also means withholding the identity of the participants in a conversation.


38 posted on 07/01/2009 10:14:53 AM PDT by frposty (I'm a simpleton)
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To: tioga

Yes, we want to know what the tenants are doing that impacts us as they work for us. Where’s the honesty, transparency, public review, knowledge and assurances these slimmers have promised us?


39 posted on 07/01/2009 10:26:21 AM PDT by mcshot (My President will be honest, transparent, open and have a legitimate birth certificate.)
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