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Dec 14th, 2009

Millions of Missing Bush Admin. E-mails Found

The Bush administration e-mails had been "mislabeled and effectively lost," according to the National Security Archive.
President George W. Bush (CNN — Getty Images)

Dec. 14, 2009

WASHINGTON — Computer technicians have found 22 million missing White House e-mails from the administration of President George W. Bush and the Obama administration is searching for dozens more days’ worth of potentially lost e-mail from the Bush years, according to two groups that filed suit over the failure by the Bush White House to install an electronic record keeping system.

The two private groups — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive — said Monday they were settling the lawsuits they filed against the Executive Office of the President in 2007.

It will be years before the public sees any of the recovered e-mails because they will now go through the National Archives’ process for releasing presidential and agency records. Presidential records of the Bush administration won’t be available until 2014 at the earliest. …

The tally of missing e-mails, the additional searches and the settlement are the latest development in a political controversy that stemmed from the Bush White House’s failure to install a properly working electronic record keeping system. Two federal laws require the White House to preserve its records. …

The government now can find and search 22 million more e-mails than it could in late 2005 and the settlement means that the Obama administration will restore 94 calendar days of e-mail from backup tape, said Kristen Lejnieks, an attorney representing the National Security Archive. …

Sheila Shadmand, another lawyer representing the National Security Archive, said the Obama administration is making a strong effort to clean up “the electronic data mess left behind by the prior administration.”

Records released as a result of the lawsuits reveal that the Bush White House was aware during the president’s first term in office that the e-mail system had serious archiving problems, which didn’t become publicly known until 2006, when federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald disclosed them during his criminal investigation of the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

A Microsoft Corp. document on the Bush White House’s e-mail problems states that Microsoft was called in to help find electronic messages in October 2003, more than two years before the problem surfaced publicly. October 2003 was the month that the Justice Department began gearing up its criminal investigation into who in the Bush administration leaked the identity of Plame, the wife of Bush administration war critic Joseph Wilson.


Related reports


E-mail could fill holes in the Bush record (MSNBC “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Dec. 14, 2009) — Meredith Fuchs, general counsel for the National Security Archive explains how tens of millions of Bush administration e-mails once thought missing have been recovered. (05:50)


Millions of Bush administration e-mails recovered

Dec. 14, 2009

Story highlights

  • White House had said that about 22 million Bush administration e-mails were missing
  • E-mails involve Bush administration’s 2006 firing of top federal prosecutors
  • White House said during congressional hearings they might have been lost
  • Suing watchdog groups will settle lawsuit with the Obama administration


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — December 14, 2008

Max Becherer / Polaris — NYT

Iraq Rebuilding ‘$100B failure’

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that a federal draft report depicted the U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq as a $100 billion failure doomed by bureaucratic infighting, ignorance of basic elements of Iraqi society, and waves of violence. The report, Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience, was compiled by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, led by Stuart Bowen Jr., a Republican lawyer.

One Response to “Missing Bush E-mails Recovered”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Richard Holbrooke Dead at 69 Says:

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