Veil of Secrecy Descends on White House

Court fight rages over Secret Service visitor records
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2007 8:36 AM CDT
The vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington is seen in the Sept. 11, 2000 file photo. According to government documents, the Secret Service routinely destroyed five of eight...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The White House wants records of top officials' meetings to be secret, and the latest attempt to put a lid on that information raises questions about privacy, confidentiality, and the definition of presidential records, the AP reports. This week's revelation of the vice president's effort to restrict record-keeping at his residence is just the latest volley in an ongoing battle.

The Freedom of Information Act does not apply to presidential records, which are considered confidential, and the dispute over defining them is both legal and partisan. The Republican Congress used FOIA requests in targeting President Clinton; the organization suing to learn the names of conservative religious leaders who visited the Bush White House is a progressive nonprofit with Democratic ties.