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National Archives sued for information on White House visitor logs classification

[JURIST] Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) [advocacy website] on Wednesday filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; press release] against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) [official website] in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website], seeking compliance with a CREW Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to the destruction of White House visitor record logs kept by the Secret Service. In October 2004 NARA ordered the Secret Service [official website] to suspend its routine destruction of the logs and maintain copies, but last year in the midst of the Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive] lobbying scandal the White House and the Secret Service agreed to designate the logs as presidential records, effectively removing them from the public record unless the President authorizes their disclosure. CREW argues that NARA's communications with Secret Service over the visitor logs should be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text]. AP has more.

In a related case, US Justice Department lawyers last month asked [JURIST report] a federal appeals court to overturn an October district court ruling [PDF text] that ordered the Secret Service to release visitor logs [JURIST report] for the personal residence and office of Vice-President Dick Cheney [official website] in the context of a FOIA request made by the Washington Post during a probe of lobbying practices.

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