[JURIST] Lawyers for US Vice President Dick Cheney [official profile] instructed the Secret Service to destroy data on who visited his official residence at the Naval Observatory, saying that the information was protected by the Presidential Records Act [text], according to a letter [PDF text] included in a response filed Friday by the US Department of Justice to a lawsuit by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) [advocacy website]. CREW filed the suit seeking the identities of conservative religious leaders who visited Cheney at the residence. Chief counsel for CREW has asserted that the destruction of the data was illegal, saying that the letter proves that "the administration has been...entering into secret agreements in violation of the law."
CREW filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in January seeking compliance with a CREW Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents relating to the destruction of White House visitor record logs kept by the Secret Service. In another case, US Justice Department lawyers asked [JURIST report] a federal appeals court in December to overturn an October district court ruling [PDF text] that ordered the Secret Service to release visitor logs [JURIST report] for the personal residence and office of Vice President Cheney in the context of a FOIA request made by the Washington Post during a probe of lobbying practices. AP has more.