Doyle v. DHS

A FOIA lawsuit seeking the White House’s visitor logs

On April 10, 2017, the Knight Institute, along with the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a FOIA lawsuit arguing that the Secret Service must disclose logs it maintains of visitors to the White House, Trump Tower in New York, and Mar-a-Lago.

The Obama administration regularly published its White House visitor logs (with some redactions), providing an invaluable means for the public to understand who had access to the President and his closest advisors. The Trump administration discontinued this practice, and on April 14, 2017 it announced that it would withhold the logs as a matter of policy.

Agencies Involved: Department of Homeland Security (Secret Service)

Status: On May 18, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the White House’s visitor logs are not “agency records” within the meaning of the Freedom of Information Act. The plaintiffs elected not to seek further review, and the case is now closed.

Case Information: Doyle v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Sec., No. 1:17-cv-02542-KPF (S.D.N.Y.), No. 18-2814 (2d Cir.).

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