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Secret Service to Suspend Erasure of WH Visitor Logs

Secret Service to Suspend Erasure of WH Visitor Logs
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By    |   Wednesday, 23 August 2017 03:22 PM

The Secret Service will stop erasing information in the logs of who visits the White House while a lawsuit is ongoing over a demand for public access to some of that data, the Justice Department announced Tuesday night in a court filing, according to Politico.

"Although not necessary to preserve the requested records, the Secret Service has stated that it will retain copies of all (appointment and visitor entry) data during the pendency of this litigation, and Secret Service has suspended auto-delete functions," said Julie Strauss Harris, a Justice Department lawyer, in response to a lawsuit from the watchdog group Public Citizen.

Files belonging to federal agencies such as the Secret Service can be accessed through Freedom of Information Act requests. However, files from White House offices that are involved with the president are under the Presidential Records Act, which allows a president to keep most records away from the public until five years after the president exits office, according to Politico.

Public Citizen wants records of visitors to four agencies that would usually come under FOIA requests: the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Council on Environmental Quality, Politico's report said.

Former president Barack Obama's administration released most visitor information from the White House around 90 days after the visits, but officials said releasing that information was voluntary, Politico reported.

President Donald Trump's administration announced in April it would not release the visitor logs.

Usually, the Secret Service has no "continuing interest" in visitor records, so after a visit, the information goes to the White House Office of Records Management and is deleted from the system, according to Justice Department attorneys, CNN reported.

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The Secret Service will stop erasing information in the logs of who visits the White House while a lawsuit is ongoing over a demand for public access to some of that data, the Justice Department announced Tuesday night in a court filing, according to Politico.
secret service, visitor logs, white house, foia
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2017-22-23
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 03:22 PM
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