Court Rejects White House on Missing E-mails

On November 10, 2008, a federal court ruled that the National Security Archive and Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) may proceed with their 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 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 is the latest development in lawsuits filed by the National Security Archive (NSA) and CREW against the Executive Office of the President (EOP), including the White House Office of Administration (OA), and the National Archives and Records Administration. The two groups are seeking the recovery and preservation of millions of e-mail messages that were apparently deleted from White House computers between March 2003 and October 2005.

The National Security Archive originally filed its case in September 2007. A subsequent lawsuit filed by CREW was consolidated with the National Security Archive’s lawsuit.