Judicial Watch, Inc. v. United States Secret Service, No. 11-5282 (D.C. Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
This case arose when Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, request with the Secret Service, seeking records of every visitor to the White House Complex over a period of seven months. The district court ordered the agency to release the records or assert specific FOIA exemptions on a document-by-document basis. The court held that, both in the 1974 FOIA Amendments and the 1978 Presidential Records Act (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 2201 et seq., Congress made clear that it did not want documents like the appointment calendars of the President and his closest advisors to be subject to disclosure under FOIA. Granting Judicial Watch's request for certain visitor records would effectively disclose the contents of those calendars. Therefore, the court concluded that such records were not "agency records" within the meaning of FOIA. The White House Complex also housed components that Congress did intend to subject to FOIA. The court concluded that these records of visits were "agency records" subject to disclosure under FOIA. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part.