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Judge orders White House to find, preserve e-mails
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Wednesday July 30, 2008

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Tuesday, after concluding that some White House e-mails have not been properly preserved on back-up tapes, U.S. District Court Judge John M. Facciola ordered the Bush administration to locate the missing communications on portable devices and individual workstations.

In January, RAW STORY reported on a White House chart shown to Congress which claimed that for a period of 473 days, no e-mail was archived. The chart, which was not made public, directly conflicts with White House Spokesman Ton Fratto's claim that "we have absolutely no reason to believe that any e-mails are missing."

Additionally, e-mails from Vice President Dick Cheney's office went missing during a crucial period of time when he and aides were involved in stemming the tide of the Valerie Plame scandal. Likewise, a January report by the Associated Press found that some White House e-mail back-up tapes were reused.

While the judge did not order the Executive Office of the President to make forensic copies of the workstations in question, he did say that "there likely are e-mails not currently being preserved on back-up tapes."

"We are pleased that despite the White House's plea for reconsideration, the Magistrate Judge stood his ground and recommended that the White House be ordered to locate and preserve emails that may be missing from backup tapes but were saved on individual workstations and portable media devices," commented Sheila Shadmand, counsel for the Archive, in a published report. "Each of the Judge's recent rulings in our favor has brought us one step closer to ensuring that the documentary history of this Administration is not forever lost."