MAY 30, 2007
In keeping with the Bush Administration’s tradition of withholding information from the public, the vice president has demanded in writing that the Secret Service destroy data on who has visited him at his official residence.
Vice President Dick Cheney’s attorney wrote the hard-hitting letter to the Secret Service after a major newspaper sought copies of who visited him at his residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory. A federal judge eventually ordered the records released because they are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) but a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals later issued an emergency stay blocking the order.
Cheney’s counsel claims that the information is covered by executive privilege and therefore does not have to be disclosed to the public. The official letter orders the Secret Service to return all documents in its possession and not to retain any copies or information relating to the vice president’s visitors.
Last spring Bush Administration officials and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement, in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, declaring that records identifying White House visitors are not open to the public. It was an obvious effort to conceal how many times the convicted lobbyist and his cronies visited the president.
Judicial Watch sued for the visitor logs and a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered them released. The documents appear to be incomplete compared to other White House visitor records but are never the less made available to the public.
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