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For Immediate Release:
November 13, 2007

Judge Orders Executive Office of the President to Preserve E-mail Backup Tape

For more information contact:
Meredith Fuchs/Tom Blanton, 202-994-7000


Washington DC, November 13, 2007 -A federal judge yesterday ordered the Executive Office of the President to preserve all e-mail backup media in its possession, or under its custody or control, under conditions that will preserve its eventual use. The Order came in two cases, consolidated today, that seek to enforce the Executive Office of the President’s, and its component agencies’, Federal Records Act obligations. The two cases were separately filed by the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) after it was disclosed in April 2007 that the White House had ceased archiving its e-mails in 2003.

“The Court is demonstrating that it has significant concerns about the loss of e-mail.  Our next challenge is to find out what happened to the e-mails that were sent before we filed suit. We do not know whether backups of those records have been saved or recycled,” explained the Archive’s General Counsel Meredith Fuchs. “Imagine if all Executive Office of the President electronic messages from 2003-2005 are missing. We will never fully understand the Administration’s decisions about invading Iraq, recovering from Hurricane Katrina, or the Abu Ghraib scandal.”

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