What do you do when there are public records showing the details of visits by a corrupt lobbyist and his associates? If you're the Bush White House, you do what you do best
: make them disappear!
From the AP
The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House complex are not subject to public disclosure....
The five-page document dated May 17 declares that all entry and exit data on White House visitors belongs to the White House as presidential records rather than to the Secret Service as agency records. Therefore, the agreement states, the material is not subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
In the past, Secret Service logs have revealed the comings and goings of various White House visitors, including Monica Lewinsky and Clinton campaign donor Denise Rich, the wife of fugitive financier Marc Rich, who received a pardon in the closing hours of the Clinton administration.
The memo last spring was signed by the White House and Secret Service the day after a Washington-based group asked a federal judge to impose sanctions on the Secret Service in a dispute over White House visitor logs for Abramoff.
We've snagged a copy of the memo for you to read here
The basic thrust is this: despite the fact that the Secret Service makes and keeps the visitor records, they're not really
Secret Service records (even though they'd been treated that way in the past), they're White House records, and thus not subject to FOIA. Got that?
That's one more addition to our great disappearing info list
. We're up to 29!