Monday, January 4, 2010

An abundance of Berthas?

Before Christmas, the White House released another list of visitors to the White House to the journalistic delight of Andrew Breitbart:
This afternoon, on arguably one of the slower news day of the year, the Obama White House released another document dump of “visitor records.” According to the White House, today’s batch total more than 25,000 records, covering meetings between September 16-September 30th.

You can scroll through the list of records on the White House site OR you can download the raw data. Interestingly, the full download uncovers almost 30,000 records, including many from outside the mid-September time-frame detailed on the White House site. In other words, only the records from the specific two week time period are viewable on the White House site. Many other visitor records were released today…they are just much harder to find.

Like, for example, the visitor records for Bertha Lewis.

According to the visitor logs, on September 2nd Bertha E. Lewis made an appointment on to visit the White House on September 5th at 12:30. (We usually need to plan further ahead to get our hair cut.) On the evening of the 4th, that appointment was cancelled so Bertha could move her appointment earlier, to 10am.

And it doesn’t seem to have actually been a work visit, as her appointment indicates she was visiting the Residence within the White House. Also, September 5th was a Saturday. Nice.

In addition, the record notes that she was to receive a STAFF TOUR, which are different-and more special-than the regular Group Tours available to others.

Ms. Lewis doesn’t seem to have returned to the White House after this visit. Of course, just 5 days after this visit, James O’Keefe would release the first video of his undercover journalism on the systemic corruption within ACORN.
Politico's Ben Smith immediately went to the defense of the White House revealing that the Bertha Lewis that got VIP treatment at the White House was not ACORN's Bertha Lewis:
An administration official tells me that, indeed, this is a different Bertha Lewis, an ordinary visitor who came in through the White House visitor's office.

One clue: The ACORN official's middle initial, according to her New York voter registration record on Nexis, is "M." An ACORN spokesman says her middle name is "Mae."
Breitbart issued this update today at Big Government:
I contacted Smith to tell him that Big Government would offer a correction if the “administration official” who offered the information went on record and told us who the “other” Bertha Lewis is and got the unnamed administration source to come out from behind the veil of anonymity and use his/her name. So far, according to unnamed White House sources, “different” people with the familiar names of Malik Shabazz, Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers were discovered on White House visitors logs. As I skeptically asked on my Twitter account, “What are the odds?”

First thing Monday morning, Smith contacted the White House and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki came from behind her anonymous veil and confirmed for Smith, “it was a different Bertha Lewis, though she declined to share details about that visitor, citing privacy reasons.” (snip)
Since we have no information on how to hunt down the “other” Bertha Lewis — Ms. Psaki wouldn’t reveal who she is, citing “privacy concerns” — Big Government will err on the side of prudence and grant the White House its side of the story. I did ask Smith to find out biographical details on the other Wright, Ayers and Shabazz, but apparently privacy concerns apply to them, as well.
I end with this question: What is the point of the White House issuing visitor logs if those named can’t be identified and verified? “Transparency” would seem to call for nothing less, especially when those innocent people could easily be confused with the head of an organization recently defunded by Congress, a controversial preacher who shouted “God Damn America,” and an unrepentant domestic terrorist.
Good question.

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