The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Robyn Shepherd, ACLU, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666;

Landmark White House Transparency Policy Will Make Visitor Records Public

ACLU Urges Administration To Clearly Define Exceptions


an unprecedented step, the Obama administration announced today that it
will routinely make White House visitor access records publicly
available. The voluntary disclosure policy will go into effect on
September 15, after which lists will be made available of records that
are 90 to 120 days old. The first release is expected in December.

The White House has said that some
exceptions will apply to records related to personal guests of the
president who do not discuss official business, those records which, if
released, "would threaten national security interests" and records of
"particularly sensitive meetings."

A similar policy will be enacted for the residence of the vice president.

The following can be attributed to Michael German of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office:

"The White House is the people's
house, and after years of closed doors, Americans will finally know
more about who consults the administration on matters of public policy.
This is an important and welcome step towards increasing transparency
and public accountability.

"While the new policy is
commendable, some vaguely worded exceptions to it do raise concerns
about the potential for abuse in classifying matters under the umbrella
of national security. We encourage President Obama to define these
exceptions narrowly and to keep secret visits in the White House to a
minimum. The ACLU will continue to hold the administration to its
commitment to be, in its own words, 'the most open and transparent
administration in history.'"

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666