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White House E-mail, a National Security Archive documents reader

Chronology of events in the White House e-mail lawsuits

Previous Postings

July 29, 2008
Magistrate Judge Affirms Recommendation that Court Order White House to Preserve E-mails on Workstations and Portable Media

May 6, 2008
White House Backups are Incomplete, May Not Contain Some Missing E-mails

April 24, 2008
Court Sets Deadline for White House Answers on Missing E-mail

April 17, 2008
Ruling on Preservation of White House E-Mails Awaited; New Law Proposed to Address Destruction of Electronic Records

March 18, 2008
Court orders White House to show cause why it should not create forensic copies of all electronic media

February 26, 2008
White House Ignored Repeated Warnings That E-mails Were at Risk

January 16, 2008
White House Admits No Back-Up Tapes for E-mail Before October 2003

January 8, 2008
White House Must Answer Questions About Missing White House E-mails, Magistrate Judge Rules

December 14, 2007
Archive Argues Against Government Attempt to Dismiss White House E-mail Lawsuit

November 13, 2007
Judge Orders Executive Office of the President to Preserve E-mail Back-Up Tape

October 29, 2007
Archive seeks to discover true extent of missing e-mails at White House

September 5, 2007
Archive Sues to Recover 5 Million Missing White House E-mails




For Immediate Release:
November 10, 2008

Court Rejects White House on Missing E-mails

Judge Kennedy sides with Archive and CREW on ability to sue

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

John B. Williams/Sheila L. Shadmand [Jones Day] - 202/879-3939

Washington D.C., November 10, 2008 - A court ruled today that the National Security Archive may proceed with its effort to force the White House to recover millions of Bush Administration Executive Office of the President (EOP) e-mail records before the presidential transition. Rejecting the government’s motion to dismiss the Archive’s lawsuit, the Court ruled that the Federal Records Act permits a private plaintiff to bring suit to require the head of the EOP or the Archivist of the United States to notify Congress or ask the Attorney General to initiate action to recover destroyed or missing e-mail records. 

“This ruling gives the public a clear voice in demanding preservation of our nation's history, even when that history is created at the White House,” explained Sheila Shadmand, an attorney at Jones Day who is representing the Archive. “We can now give positive action to that voice and protect these records before they get carted off or destroyed as the current administration packs its bags to leave. In that sense, the ruling itself is as historical as the records it will protect.”     

“This is a major victory for the public interest in accountability at the White House,” added Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs. “Through this lawsuit we have preserved over 65,000 computer backup tapes. This decision means those tapes will survive the end of the Bush Administration so that Congress, the courts, and eventually the public will be able to learn about the decision-making that took place over the last 8 years.”

The National Security Archive originally filed its case against the Executive Office of the President and the National Archives and Records Administration to preserve and restore missing e-mail federal records in September 5, 2007. A subsequent lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has been consolidated with the Archive's lawsuit. A chronology of the litigation is available here.

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