National Security Archive and White House Reach Agreement

… for Restoration of Missing Bush White House E-mails

Published on The National Security Archive, For more information contact: Meredith Fuchs on 202/994-7000, December 14, 2009.

Washington, DC, December 14, 2009 – The National Security Archive (the Archive), Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the White House and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) today entered into an agreement setting forth general principles that will resolve the missing White House e-mail lawsuit filed first by the Archive in September 2007.

“We commend the Obama Administration for making a strong effort to clean up the electronic data mess left behind by the prior administration,” commented Sheila Shadmand, counsel for the Archive from Jones Day.

“We now know that many poor choices were made during the Bush Administration and there was little concern about the availability of e-mail records despite the fact that they were contending with regular subpoenas for records and had a legal obligation to preserve their records for the nation’s long term historical memory,” explained Meredith Fuchs, the Archive’s General Counsel.

“We have done our best in this case to maximize the number of e-mails that have been found or reconstructed from disaster recovery backup tapes,” explained Kristen Lejnieks, counsel for the Archive. “The government can now can find and search over 22 million more e-mails than they could in late 2005. They also will restore 94 calendar days from backup tapes. We certainly hope that many major gaps in the record have been filled.”

“The absence of best business practices permitted a loss of data that was completely preventable,” explained Al Lakhani, an expert, and Managing Partner with Alvarez & Marsal. “Today’s technology permits reliable archiving and effective control over deletion of records.”

Commenting on the state of the current White House e-mail system, Ms. Fuchs stated: “We have been briefed on the system in use since the beginning of the Obama Administration and we believe that the system now in use fixes the significant problems with the prior system, including by capturing everything, properly categorizing the e-mails, and preventing unauthorized deletion.”

The Archive’s lawsuit impacted White House e-mail records in a number of ways: … (full text and links to Documents).

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