April 14, 2017

Journalists and open-government advocates on Friday derided the Trump administration’s decision not to release visitor logs to the White House, in a break with policy established by the Obama administration.

The Trump administration’s refusal to make visitor logs public, which was reported first by Time, was greeted with pushback by journalists working at left-leaning and right-leaning publications as well as mainstream news organizations.

Michael Dubke, the White House communications director, told Time that the policy is in response to “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.”

In 2013, a federal court ruled that visitor logs at the White House are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government transparency organization, said in a statement that it plans to contest the decision in court:

Judicial Watch, a conservative-leaning judicial accountability organization, also issued a statement expressing its “disappointment” with the decision.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
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