The White House Has An Email Problem

We learned earlier this year that most of the Bush White House’s senior staff, in blatant violation of the Presidential Records Act, sidestepped an internal email system, preferring to use private accounts provided by the Republican National Committee. Those thousands of emails, which included government business, are still missing after having been “accidentally” deleted.

As it turns out, that’s only one of two serious problems the Bush gang has in maintaining their electronic records. In an entirely different set of missing emails, however, we’re seeing quite a bit of movement this week. Dan Froomkin explains:

Why is it taking White House officials so long to restore millions of deleted e-mails from the backup tapes they claim to have?

The e-mails in question date from March 2003 to October 2005 — a crucial period that includes the Iraq invasion, a presidential election and Hurricane Katrina.

White House officials have known for more than two years that the messages were deleted — a clear violation of presidential records-preservation statutes. But the president’s aides won’t explain what happened, what sort of backups they have and what they’re doing about it.

When Congress asked about the 5 million missing emails, a White House lawyer suggested an outside IT contractor was responsible. The response appeared almost humorous, given that no such IT contractor exists.

Yesterday, in response to a lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a federal judge disappointed the Bush gang terribly with a major court order.


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