A federal judge is ruling against the Secret Service, saying records of visitors to the White House are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Secret Service had argued that the visitors' logs were presidential records exempt from public disclosure. But U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell on Wednesday disagreed.

Howell sided with government watchdog group Judicial Watch, which had sued for records from the first eight months of the Obama administration. Howell said the Secret Service must disclose the records, except individual entries that fall under exemptions like for national security.

In September 2009, President Barack Obama began voluntarily releasing the names of people who visit the executive complex, reversing a long-standing policy that transcended both Democratic and Republican presidents. The lawsuit covered the records before the policy change.