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Obama Refuses To Release WH Logs

Some truly professional disinformation [F]rom his lickspittle slaveys at MSNBC:

Obama yields on White House visitor logs

Names of most visitors will go online — but not for first 8 months of term

By Bill Dedman
Fri., Sept . 4, 2009

The Obama administration says it will release names of most visitors to the White House, starting at the end of this year. Information on visitors in the first eight months of his administration will remain secret — though officials say they will consider narrow and specific requests.

The White House called the release of information "voluntary," continuing to argue the Bush administration’s position that full disclosure is not required by the Freedom of Information Act.

After being sued twice by a nonprofit organization seeking the records, the Obama administration said Friday it will post [some of] the visitor logs online [maybe someday, and never those in question].

The release will be time delayed, with 90 to 120 days passing before the records are posted on the White House Web site. And only visits after Sept. 15, 2009, will be revealed. The first wave of records is expected to be posted around Dec. 31.

The White House also said that certain "sensitive" visits, such as those by potential Supreme Court nominees, will not be revealed. Also hidden will be personal visits to the Obama and Biden families, and security information such as the arrival times of White House staff.

"We will achieve our goal of making this administration the most open and transparent administration in history," President Barack Obama said on Friday.

"Americans have a right to know whose voices are being heard in the policymaking process," he added.

The nonprofit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said it was dropping its two lawsuits against Obama, and two previous lawsuits filed during the presidency of George W. Bush.

In addition to the CREW requests, msnbc.com had sought records on all White House visitors. That request, for all visitors since Inauguration Day, still stands, and msnbc.com has filed an administrative appeal with the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service.

The new White House policy says it will consider requests for visitor information for the period from Jan. 20 to Sept. 15, but only if the requests are narrow and include specific names to be checked. In other words, if you don’t know who visited, or can’t guess who might have visited during this period, the White House won’t tell you.

A federal district court has ruled twice that all visitor records belong to the United States Secret Service, and therefore should be open under the Freedom of Information Act.

CREW said it was satisfied with the White House response. CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a prepared statement, "The Obama administration has proven its pledge to usher in a new era of government transparency was more than just a campaign promise. The Bush administration fought tooth and nail to keep secret the identities of those who visited the White House. In contrast, the Obama administration — by putting visitor records on the White House web site — will have the most open White House in history."

That same night, in his news conference, the president said that the White House had already made public information on the health industry visitrs [sic] to the White House. Obama said, ""On the list of health care executives who visited us, most of time you guys have been in there taking pictures, so it hasn’t been a secret. And my understanding is we just sent a letter out providing a full list of all the executives. But, frankly, these have mostly been at least photo sprays where you could see who was participating."

On July 25, 2009, an article by Sharon Theimer of the Associated Press documented that the president’s statement was a stretch: "Despite President Barack Obama’s promise of transparency on his health care overhaul, few White House meetings with medical industry representatives on a list recently released by his administration were made public at the time, an Associated Press review found. … An AP review of White House activities on those dates found that the majority of the visits occurred without an announcement that the executives were there."

During the presidential campaign, Obama promised several times to open up records of lobbying, including a promise to "Make White House Communications Public: Obama will amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside the government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public."

Note that every detail in this story puts the lie to its headline. Mr. Obama most assuredly is not releasing the pertinent White House visitor logs, despite his claims to the contrary and even despite several court rulings.

And just in case anyone things we might have an objective and honest watchdog media, apart from MSNBC:

Think again.

Meanwhile, history (or rather stupidity) repeats itself. For it was Mrs. Clinton’s refusal to release the very same White House visitor logs during Bill’s first term that helped to sink Hillary-care.

And Mr. Obama is undoubtedly holding back this information for the same reason.

CREW said it was satisfied with the White House response.

Of course they did. That is why they took up this challenge in the first place, to give Mr. Obama cover and to keep any other (legitimate) group from suing for this information.

Lest we forget, CREW is a Soros front, run by a political hack who was once a staffer for Joe Biden and John Conyers. She and CREW are simply whores for their Democrat masters.

(Among their many past achievements, CREW sat on the innocuous Mark Foley emails until it was too late for the GOP to put up another candidate for his seat. They then passed them on to a Democrat operative to exploit at just the right time for maximum damage.)

"We will achieve our goal of making this administration the most open and transparent administration in history," President Barack Obama said on Friday.

Mr. Obama and his friends are far more transparent than he realizes.

[Please note – we have tempered our remarks about MSNBC (the website, not the cable channel) thanks largely to the comments by the article’s author,  Mr. Dedman, below.]

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, September 4th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

28 Responses to “Obama Refuses To Release WH Logs”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    Throw another “Log” on the fire there Barry. It’s cold out there!!

  2. proreason says:

    Fox should begin hammering all of the broken “transparency” promises and point out the hypocracies.

  3. Reality Bytes says:

    America today reminds me of United Flight 93. Terrorists have taken over the cockpit & are headed towards the capital & a fiery display of “because we can”.

    Thank God there are Americans who are willing to take a stand; to “take the plane back.” For the passengers of Flight 93, they armed themselves with nothing more than a serving cart & boiled water. They took their plane back. They paid the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of what’s right & for the sake of our country.

    Today, millions of Americans are taking our country back for the sake of America; because it’s right.

    “Let’s Roll!”

  4. Tater Salad says:

    For someone that disliked George Bush and the way he ran the White House, Obama is sure taking Bush’s side on this issue by not releasing names for the first 8 months. Again we ask! Is there something to hide? You betcha ! I’d put money on it that there Socialists, Communists and America haters running around the White House giving “high fives” and stating how these “suckers” bought into our BS. Seems some of them are “catching on to the scam” now it would seem.

  5. Right of the People says:

    Tater,
    Allong the same lines, I wonder how many of Barry’s appointees have passed their security clearances yet? During the Slick Willy years, nearly 80% hadn’t even filed the paperwork by the end of the first year. I wonder how many would actually pass if they were truly investigated.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      My money is on less than 5% including the closet Mooselim!

    • proreason says:

      If they ever investigated the mooselim, they would have to lock him up after about 1 minute.

    • TwilightZoned says:

      This is the exact reason Barry loves Czars. They don’t have to go through Congress, which means they don’t go through FBI checks. I’d be willing to bet 90% wouldn’t pass. I’d also bet ol’ Barry, or his puppet masters, have been scoping the “go to people” for years. Van Jones comes to mind.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Well, there’s one difference between Blammo and Bill-Jeff. We know that he will never be sneaking out on a booty call. Main reason is not that he doesn’t want to—It’s that he’s afraid Michelle will beat him senseless with a frying pan.

  6. BigOil says:

    I wonder how many visits Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of MSNBC’s parent company, has made to our house.

  7. Confucius says:

    What is MSNBC looking for?

  8. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    Maybe the ‘Yes We Can’ team doesn’t want anyone to know whose been coming and going in the White House. Or maybe they’ve got Sandy Berger on the payroll again, stuffing secret documents in his pants so he can sneak them out past security.

  9. MinnesotaRush says:

    “I will have the most transparent government, EVER!” .. b. o-blah-blah whilst campaigning.

    Uh huh!

  10. bill_dedman says:

    Let me see if I understand this.

    The White House announces that it’s releasing visitor logs, and nearly all reporters fall for that line, and repeat it.

    Our story, on msnbc.com, explains that it’s not entirely true. The headline: “Obama yields on White House visitor logs
    Names of most visitors will go online — but not for first 8 months of term.”

    We explain that it’s true that Obama will be the first president to release visitor logs. But we also explain that you can’t get the records for the first 8 months unless you know whom to ask for. We explain that there are exceptions. We explain that the Obama administration is still making the Bush argument that these records are not covered by FOIA.

    And your reaction to this is not, Gee, this was the most imformative story I read on this topic; this reporter refused to have the wool pulled over his eyes. You don’t say, I’m glad msnbc.com filed its own request for these visitor logs, and continues to pursue that request, although CREW has settled.

    No, you say, “Some truly professional disinformation from his lickspittle slaveys at MSNBC.”

    Wow.

    P.S. We’re not MSNBC. That’s a TV company. We’re msnbc.com, the No. 1 news Web site. We have one owner in common (NBC), but we’re half-owned by Microsoft. So MSNBC is our half-sister, not our parent. Separate companies, different editors.

    • Steve says:

      My first remarks about the article referred largely to the headline:

      “Obama yields on White House visitor logs”

      And I did go on to say:

      “Note that every detail in this story puts the lie to its headline. Mr. Obama most assuredly is not releasing the pertinent White House visitor logs, despite his claims to the contrary and even despite several court rulings.

      And just in case anyone things we might have an objective and honest watchdog media, apart from MSNBC…”

      Still, thanks to the headline and the quotes from CREW, etc., the casual reader will still get exactly the wrong impression.

      Which can’t be all that accidental.

      As Mr. Obama likes to remind us, words — even in headlines — have meaning.

    • Steve says:

      By the way, why did you portray CREW as a credible source? (“A nonprofit organization.”)

      Are you unaware of who and what they are? Don’t you know their actual background or recent history?

      Surely, that is something your readers could benefit from knowing.

    • proreason says:

      Nice deflection attempt, bill.

      Unfortunately, words have meanings.

      BTW, are you getting paid to defend the indefensable? Good work if you can get it.

      But if I were you, I’d be practicing my burger flipping skills.

  11. bill_dedman says:

    Steve, we’re a news organization that has pressed for release of these records, and continues to press for them, and gave you information that most other news organizations did not about the limitations of the White House release, and you say, “… the casual reader will still get exactly the wrong impression. Which can’t be accidental.” In other words, you think we’re trying to mislead the public by giving them a more detailed account? That was the point of your post: See, they point out the flaws in the White House policy, so they’re clearly carrying water for the White House. This type of thinking reveals your ideological bias, nothing more.

    I believe any fair reader of this article will understand that we have pointed out the limitations of the White House plan as straightforwardly and directly as possible, and more directly than any other news organization. Of course, that is understandable, because this is an issue we’ve covered before; we filed a request, as CREW did; we were denied the records, and we’re continuing to pursue those records. (Copies of those documents are linked from the box with our article.)

    I assume this is just what you would want a news organization in a democracy to do, no matter who is president, right?

    On your follow-up question: I didn’t portray CREW as a credible source, or as noncredible. You don’t seem to understand that quoting what a participant in a news story has to say about the events is not an endorsement of that person or organization. CREW (a nonprofit organization, yes, that’s what it is) has filed the lawsuits in this case, so what they have to say about the settlements of their own lawsuit should be in the article, no? If you scroll down a bit, you’ll see we provide a copy of CREW’s annual tax return. I don’t believe you’ll see that on other news articles. Again, we’re giving you more information about CREW than others do, and somehow you perceive this as, what, carrying water for CREW? It makes no sense. I understand, you want me to slap a label on CREW, a three-word label that characterizes their politics; that’s not so easy to do in a situation where CREW has pursued the same records from the most recent Republican and Democratic administrations, and wouldn’t just that sort of easy labeling be the sort of thing you would object to, if it were applied to you?

    I understand that your main objection is to the headline, but I hope you’ll agree that it is true and captures the complexity of the situation: “Obama yields on White House visitor logs,” and the subhead, “Names of most visitors will go online — but not for first 8 months of term.” President Obama indeed says he’ll release visitor logs. He has yielded — that is, he did it after being sued. And he’s not releasing them all — those from the first 8 months will mostly not come out. All that is in the headline and subhead, and all that information was in the description of the article on the cover of our Web site for hours on Friday.

    Your proposed headline, “Obama refuses to release WH logs,” was true for the past few months, but it’s not true any more.

  12. Steve says:

    “I understand, you want me to slap a label on CREW, a three-word label that characterizes their politics; that’s not so easy to do in a situation where CREW has pursued the same records from the most recent Republican and Democratic administrations, and wouldn’t just that sort of easy labeling be the sort of thing you would object to, if it were applied to you?”

    To describe CREW simply as a non-profit organization is a crime of omission. Perhaps you don’t know any better. But Media Matters is also a non-profit organization. Would you not slap a three word label on them?

    Somehow I suspect that if CREW were a similarly aggressive ‘conservative’ non-profit, MSNBC would not hesitate to describe it a little more thoroughly.

    But back to your earlier points, I do admit that your objection is valid. And that I was too harsh in my characterization of your piece as disinformation, etc.

    Again, as I pointed out, in the article you provided the very information that put the lie to the headline — and the quotes from CREW that you included.

    I still contend, however, that the overall gist of the headline and article is misleading. Mr. Obama is not yielding in that he has not agreed to give over what is really sought from the logs. Not now, nor probably ever.

    Meanwhile, CREW can and has declared victory. And Obama can and has claimed transparency. And most people will think that is indeed the case. Unless they examine your article more carefully, as we have done here.

    But most people won’t read your article all that carefully, and they will see the headline and the CREW quotes and think everything is fine and dandy.

    “Your proposed headline, “Obama refuses to release WH logs,” was true for the past few months, but it’s not true any more.”

    That is not how I see it. It sure looks to me like for all intents and purposes the White House is still refusing to release the pertinent logs. And they will continue to release only such logs which they feel like releasing — and not what have been sought.

  13. bill_dedman says:

    Steve, I’m glad to see you listen to reason!

    Now, if you would just pay attention to the part where I explained that this report didn’t come from MSNBC, but from a separate company, msnbc.com,then your pejorative introduction would be left with one original word remaining: “[F]rom.”

    As for the future, the White House is saying it will release nearly all the logs — except those fitting in certain exceptions. (You can read the policy in full on our story in a PDF file). Of course, we’ll never know which logs were withheld because of what exception. That’s why we’re continuing to pursue the fight under the FOIA law.

    That’s all from here. Enjoy your holiday.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks for posting, Bill and your clarifications. And, indeed, thank you for the article itself, which as you noted, is the only source for any of the actual facts behind Mr. Obama’s non-compliance ‘compliance.’

      For the record, I think most of us here realize that MSNBC online is not the same entity as the supposed cable news channel. But your eagerness to distance yourself from them does you great credit.

      Please don’t be a stranger.

    • proreason says:

      You’re a tool and a fool.

      Here is what you wrote:

      “”We will achieve our goal of making this administration the most open and transparent administration in history,” President Barack Obama said on Friday.

      “Americans have a right to know whose voices are being heard in the policymaking process,” he added.

      The nonprofit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said it was dropping its two lawsuits against Obama, and two previous lawsuits filed during the presidency of George W. Bush.”

      6 paragraphs later, there is a rebuttal, from the AP, of all sources…which tells you how ridiculous your regurgitation of the White House propagana is.

      The story is clearly that the White House has NO INTENT of releasing record of visits that would be controversial.

      And you served slavishly as the WH’s Ministry of Propaganda in this report.

  14. Mae says:

    It’s really touching when “moderates” try to justify themselves on conservative websites. I’ll believe you, Bill, when you completely vet the empty suit in the White House. For starters, how about finding out what passport BHO used in the 1980’s to travel to countries which prohibited Americans. Getting the Administration to release logs is such small potatoes in comparison. Make a name for yourself on something bigger, woncha?

  15. RightWinger says:

    Bill, here is where I have a problem with the headline of story not actually reflecting what is in the article. Too often I can pick up a newspaper and see the major news outlets using a headline on a news story that is meant to deceive. Most people just glance the headlines, never bothering to read the story itself unless they find it interesting.

    For example, here is a headline from the Washington Post website “Libby Found Guilty in CIA Leak Case”. Now for the casual uninformed reader just glancing the headlines and not reading the article, they came away with the conclusion Scooter Libby was found guilty of leaking Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent, which was not true. I remember when the verdict came down and I had to explain to people I work with he was not convicted for leaking her name.

    A better headline for you would have said “Obama yields on most White House visitor logs.” Now the headline reader doesn’t come away with the conclusion that Obama is releasing all the logs as your current title can be construed.

  16. bill_dedman says:

    RightWinger: I agree with your point on the headline: “most” should have been in there. As I hope you can tell, I was taking pains to explain to the reader, in the subhead and the text, the limitations of the White House disclosure policy. Of course, “most” was in the subhead, right there at the top of the article.

  17. DANEgerus says:

    Remember, it was George Soros funded groups that tried to take over Ground Zero not so long ago, and have now succeeded in turning 9/11 into a “national day of service”.

  18. bill_dedman says:

    New from msnbc.com:

    Help figure out who has been calling on Obama
    A guessing game: Who visited White House in administration’s early days?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32715598/ns/politics-white_house/

    Here’s your chance to help figure out who has been visiting the people’s house during the early months of the Obama administration.

    Although President Barack Obama has announced that he will make public the names of most visitors to the White House, there’s a catch.

    Under the new White House policy, names of visitors during the first eight months of the administration are not being released wholesale. Those visitors will be revealed only if a member of the public requests specific names to be checked against the visitor logs.

    It’s a guessing game. The White House rules don’t allow you to ask for “everyone who visited on Feb. 3,” or “anyone who visited green jobs czar Van Jones ,” but you can ask for all visits by specific people, whether former Sen. Tom Daschle or New York Times columnist David Brooks or an Obama campaign donor from your hometown.

    The Obama administration on Wednesday set up an online form for requesting information on visitors during the period from Jan. 20 through Sept. 15. If you use the form to request visitor information, please help msnbc.com follow up by letting us know what records you requested, and what answer, if any, you receive from the White House. Just send an e-mail with that information.

    The White House calls the release of information “voluntary,” while continuing to argue the Bush administration’s position that the records are presidential, not agency records, and therefore are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act . A federal district court has ruled twice that all visitor records belong to the U.S. Secret Service, not the president, and therefore should be open under the FOIA. The Obama administration says it doesn’t agree with the court, but is voluntarily making most of the records available. No previous president has taken that step.

    If you want to make a request that goes beyond what’s possible using the White House form — such as a request for all visitors to a certain official —you can use a fill-in-the-blanks FOIA request that we’ve prepared.


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