White House keeps visitor logs secret, as Bush did

The Obama administration is denying requests to make public the White House visitor logs, adopting a Bush administration policy and drawing the ire of ethics watchdogs.

Both MSNBC.com and the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) have been denied access to the logs, which would reveal who met with various White House officials. CREW is filing a lawsuit this afternoon to seek access to the documents.

"The Obama administration has now taken exactly the same position as the Bush administration, telling us the visitor logs are presidential records," Anne Weismann, the legal counsel for CREW, told the Washington Post. "I don't see how you can keep people from knowing who visits the White House and adhere to a policy of openness and transparency. The discrepancy between the rhetoric and the policy is especially great."

A federal judge rejected the Bush administration's plea to keep the documents secret, and it's unclear what has changed this time around.

Asked about the controversy today, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended the secretive policy.

"The policy, as you know, and I think many of you know...visitor logs have been involved in some litigation dating back to sometime in 2006," Gibbs said at his daily briefing. "The White House is reviewing that policy based on some of that litigation."