E-mails Were at Risk

White House Ignored Repeated Warnings

Published on The National Security Archives, by Meredith Fuchs, February 26, 2008.

White House Staff Claims Ignorance about its Own Prior Investigation Into Missing E-mails, Acknowledges it Still Has Not Located E-mails From Over 200 Days:

Washington DC, February 26, 2008 – At a hearing today before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, it was disclosed that the White House has received repeated warnings from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and from information technology experts within the White House about the risk of lost e-mails. Records obtained by the Committee showed that NARA’s warnings began as early as January 2004 and that the White House was aware of the danger that e-mails may not be properly preserved. Further, testimony and evidence indicated that a new records management system was developed by the White House and NARA and then rejected by White House Office of Administration Chief Information Officer Theresa Payton in the fall of 2006, when the system was ready for implementation. The existing archiving process, which was installed as a temporary solution in 2002, was “primitive,” according to a former White House technology expert in communications with the Committee.

“The White House’s witnesses disclaimed knowledge and responsibility for the e-mail problem. The NARA witnesses said that they are waiting for the White House to take action. But no one is doing anything and time is running out,” commented Meredith Fuchs, General Counsel to the National Security Archive … (full text).

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