Lotus-Outlook Migration Strategy Comes Under Scrutiny
When the Bush administration took office, it inherited the Automated Records Management System, or ARMS, put in place by the Clinton administration. The system was compatible with Lotus Notes. Between 2002-2004, the Bush administration began a migration to Microsoft Exchange. "There was a great deal of concern about proceeding with the migration to Outlook [and] Exchange without having an adequate e-mail records management solution in place," Steven McDevitt, an information technology specialist at the White House from 2002-2003, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February.The National Security Archive, an independent, nongovernmental research institute and library located at George Washington University, and CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) have also been pressuring the White House for public disclosure of the e-mails. CREW originally filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Office of Administration on March 29, 2007, regarding records of the missing e-mails. When the office refused to turn over the information, CREW sued the White House May 23 for the information. The organization also released a report on the missing e-mails based on information obtained from two confidential sources. Following up on CREW's information, the National Security Archive also sued the White House on Sept. 5. The National Security Archive and CREW have subsequently consolidated their legal actions against the White House to force disclosure of the missing e-mails.
McDevitt added, "The approach of simply storing e-mail messages in .pst files provides no mechanism or audit trail that tracks changes to data files or the activities performed by users or system administrators."