Amid the excitement yesterday, you may have missed the news that the White House visitor logs are public documents.

A U.S. judge ordered the Secret Service on Monday to disclose records of visits by nine prominent conservative Christian leaders to the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney’s residence.

The ruling, in response to a legal watchdog group’s suit, could shed light on the influence leaders like James Dobson of Focus on the Family have had on President George W. Bush’s administration. It may also affect legal efforts to force the release of visiting records of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and other similar cases.

I’m sure this will be in the Courts for another year and a half–at which point Dick will invite Scalia to go quail hunting again, and we’ll never get the records.

But for now, look at the oozing skepticism of Judge Royce Lamberth. He describes the fluid nature of Secret Service records.

The Secret Service’s past retention practices for WAVES and ACR records have proven to be pliant and evolving. Paul Morrissey, the Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Protective Operations, declares that every 30 to 60 days the Secret Service will copy the WAVES records stored on the Secret Service’s “servers” to a compact disc (CD-ROM). 3d Morrissey Decl. at ¶ 18. After making a copy of the records, the Secret Service transfers the CD-ROM containing the WAVES records to the White House Office of Records Management (WHORM). Id. at ¶ 18. A WHORM employee “typically signs a form acknowledging receipt of the records.” Id. After delivering the CD-ROM to the WHORM, the Secret Service erases the WAVES records “from its computer
system.” Id. The Secret Service’s practice of purging and overwriting WAVES records that are “older than 60 days” occurred from “at least 2001” until “November 2004.”[my emphasis]

And then elaborates on that in a footnote. Read more