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White House Keeps Visitor Logs Locked Up

Despite President Barack Obama's oft-stated commitment to government openness and transparency, he's not ready to tell us who gets into the White House to meet with him.

Some meetings will be secret, said spokesman Robert Gibbs, telling reporters that for the moment, the Obama White House is following the lead of its predecessor and resisting requests from the media and others for visitors' logs.

"I think there are obviously occasions on which the president is going to meet privately with advisers on topics that are of great national importance," said Gibbs, defending the arguments made by the Bush-Cheney Administration.

As a candidate last year, Mr. Obama decried his predecessor for running "the most secretive administration maybe in our history."

"I think it is very important to remember that this is a government of, by and for the people," he said on May 13, 2008 at a campaign stop in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Thirteen months later, though, his spokesman said the White House is reviewing the policy of whether to make visitors logs public.

"Visitor logs have been involved in some litigation dating back to sometime in 2006," said Gibbs. "The White House is reviewing that policy based on some of that litigation."

He said the president "underscored his commitment to transparency on his first full day in office." The goal, said Gibbs, is to uphold the principle of open government.

But for the moment, that doesn't include visitors' logs.

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here:
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