Lawsuit Settled over Missing Bush E-Mails
The Executive Office of the President agreed Dec. 14 to restore a total of
94 days of missing Bush era e-mails. The agreement is the culmination
long-running lawsuits challenging the failure of the Bush White House and the National
Archives and Records Administration to take any action after confronted with
evidence that millions of e-mails had gone missing from Bush White House servers
over a two-and-one-half-year period.
The missing e-mails came to light as part of a 2007 congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's firing of U.S. attorneys. The White House admitted then the e-mails were missing and that in 2002 the White House abandoned the electronic records management system put in place by the Clinton administration.
Nevertheless, the Bush White House failed to recover or restore the missing e-mails and knowingly continued to use a broken system for preserving electronic records. CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) and the NSA (National Security Archive) filed lawsuits.
The dates for restoration were chosen based on e-mail volume and external events because there simply was not enough money to restore all the missing e-mails. The EOP will continue to provide CREW and the NSA with records documenting the missing e-mail problem, the response of the Bush White House to that problem and the options the Bush White House considered for preserving electronic records but inexplicably rejected.
According to CREW, Bush administration officials deliberately ignored the problem and, in fact, knowingly allowed it to worsen.
"We may never know exactly what happened to all the missing e-mails, and which Bush administration officials were involved in the coverup, but we do know the American public never got the full story," Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, said in a statement. "The Obama administration, which inherited the lawsuits and the dysfunctional White House e-mail system, has done a terrific job straightening out the mess. Thanks to the Obama White House, a critical part of our nation's missing history will be restored."