White House Ordered To Keep Emails

    November 14, 2007

A federal judge has ordered the White House to retain and manage backup email messages that were allegedly deleted improperly from servers, according to a temporary restraining ordered issued by the judge.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) The order from Judge Henry Kennedy in the U.S. District of Columbia was a win for the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a watchdog group that filed suit against the Executive Office of the President and the National Archives and Record Administration in September.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants purposely did not recover, restore and preserve millions of electronic communications records in the White House. CREW said that if copies of deleted email messages existed, those would be on backup storage devices, and requested the documents be preserved.

"Today’s order is an important and necessary first step toward restoring and preserving for the public all the records of this administration, not just those self-selected for preservation by an administration committed more to secrecy than compliance with the law," Anne Weismann, CREW’s Chief Counsel, said.

The White House learned in 2005 that an unknown number of email messages were missing from its archive. Keith Roberts, the deputy general counsel of the White House Office of Administration said that a contractor responsible for daily audits of the email system and archiving did not find or report problems at the time.