Court Grants National Security Archive Motion - WH E-Mails {UpDate #2}

The following was in the e-notice sent out by The George Washington University - The National Security Archive which is what can be found also on the page link to the announcement.

For Immediate Release:

January 14, 2009

To Search White House Computers and Preserve E-mails


On the eve of transition, federal judge orders outgoing White House staff
to surrender electronic media containing e-mails.

Washington, D.C., January 14, 2009 – The United States District Court for the District of Columbia today granted the National Security Archive’s emergency motion for an extended preservation order to protect missing White House e-mails. With the transition from the Bush Administration to the Obama Administration taking place in six days, and all the records of the Bush White House scheduled for a physical transfer to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on that same day, the Court has directed the Executive Office of the President (EOP) to search all its computer work stations and has ordered EOP employees to surrender any media in their possession that may contain e-mails from March 2003 to October 2005.

“There is nothing like a deadline to clarify the issues,” said Archive Director Tom Blanton. “In six days the Bush Executive Office of the President will be gone and without this order, their records may disappear with them. The White House will complain about the last minute challenge, but this is a records crisis of the White House's own making.”

Counsel for the Archive, Sheila Shadmand from Jones Day made clear: “The White House has been on notice since we filed our lawsuit a year and a half ago that they would have to retrieve and preserve their e-mail. Instead of coming clean and telling the public what they have been doing to solve the crisis, they refused to say anything. At this point, it is critical to preserve evidence that can help get to the bottom of the problem and prevent it from happening again.”

Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola has scheduled an emergency status conference today at 2 p.m. to consider additional measures that may be necessary to protect the records during the transition. (Courtroom 6 of the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse)

The Archive filed its emergency motion for an extended preservation order on March 11, 2008. After considering the objections of the White House, Magistrate Judge Facciola issued two reports, on April 24 and July 29, 2008, recommending that District Judge Henry H. Kennedy issue an order requiring search, surrender and preservation of the computer workstations and external media devices, such as CDs, DVDs, memory sticks, and external hard drives. Today’s order adopts those reports and recommendations, granting in part the Archive’s emergency motion.

The National Security Archive filed its lawsuit on September 5, 2007 against the Executive Office of the President and NARA, seeking to preserve and restore missing White House e-mails. A virtually identical lawsuit filed subsequently by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has been consolidated with the Archive's lawsuit. A chronology of the litigation is available here.

If you visit this link The George Washington University - The National Security Archive, which is the same link as the second one at the top, they have a number of back links along the left hand side of the page to review.

UpDate:

White House admits it has not recovered files from computer workstations or collected external computer storage media that may contain missing e-mails

Scope of missing e-mails acknowledged in court today, although Department of Justice claims they are working on a solution

UpDate 2:

White House e-mail in "true emergency conditions"

Magistrate judge orders search of all White House computers, grants plaintiffs' request for inventories and preservation of evidence

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