White House Loses Bid |To Keep Visitors Secret

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The government lost its bid to keep White House visitor logs secret from a government watchdog group. The D.C. Circuit said it lacked jurisdiction to overturn a ruling ordering the Secret Service to disclose the information.

     Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington requested the visitor logs to see if nine specific individuals had entered the White House complex or the vice president’s home at any time “from January 1, 2001 to the present.”
     Instead of invoking exemption under the Freedom of Information Act, the government moved to dismiss the order on the grounds that the visitor logs do not qualify as “agency records” subject to disclosure.
     The district court denied the motion and gave the Secret Service 20 days to release the visitor logs – a deadline that was extended on appeal.
     Judge Tatel said the case lacked appellate jurisdiction, because the district court’s order is an interlocutory order issued in the course of a pending proceeding, not a final order or an appealable injunction.
     If the district court rules on any claimed exemption, Tatel said, then the court would be able to review the case.

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