E-mails may have been misfiled during migration
Davis said during the White House migration from Lotus Notes to Exchange some archive e-mail may have been mislabeled, making them difficult to find using routine search protocols. Theresa Payton, CIO for the Office of Administration, told the committee subsequent search efforts had located a number of the missing e-mails, reducing the number of days of missing e-mail to about 200. "So a substantial portion of the so-called 'missing e-mails' appear to be not missing at all, just filed in the wrong digital drawer," Davis said.According to notes taken by the National Archives of a meeting with White House officials, "We expressed great concern that the process was moving so slowly, and that we were very skeptical that the report results from the new [search] tool could completely eliminate the possibility of messages missing from the collections system." 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.
As recently as October, though, the National Archives, which is charged with collecting and retaining administration records, had problems with the White House system.