The White House plans to keep logs of visitors to the White House complex secret.
In an announcement Friday, the White House cited national security risks and privacy concerns of visitors as the primary reason the Trump administration is breaking with President Obama's policy of logging all visitors.
The administration is calling the logs "presidential records" that are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
"By instituting historic restrictions on lobbying to close the revolving door, expanding and elevating ethics within the White House Counsel's office, and opening the White House Press Briefing room to media outlets that otherwise cannot gain access, the Trump Administration has broken new ground in ensuring our government is both ethical and accessible to the American people," said Michael Dubke, White House communications director.
"Given the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, the White House Office will disclose Secret Service logs as outlined under the Freedom of Information Act, a position the Obama White House successfully defended in federal court."
The White House will save $70,000 by 2020 by not posting the logs. It will also stop using Open.WhiteHouse.gov because that information was not new transparent information, but instead duplicative federal data already available online.
According to Time, the White House expects criticism but Trump wants to get advice from people who would like discretion. The visitor logs will be kept secret for at least five years after Trump leaves office. At that point, it would be available to be requested by the public.
Time reports the Obama policy of releasing the visitor logs was farcical at times, because White House officials could redact the name of any visitor to the complex for any reason.
"It did create more of a façade of transparency rather than complete transparency," said one Trump White House official.
Transparency activists immediately slammed the decision as a renege on Trump's promise to drain the swamp.
"It's disappointing that the man who promised to 'drain the swamp' just took a massive step away from transparency by refusing the release the White House visitor logs that the American people have grown accustomed to accessing over the last six years and that provide indispensable information about who is seeking to influence the president," said Noah Bookbinder, executive director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
"The Obama administration agreed to release the visitor logs in response to our lawsuits, and despite the Trump administration's worry over 'grave national security risks and concerns,' only positives for the American people came out of them."
He said a lawsuit has already been filed to release the logs.
"It looks like we'll see them in court."