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CREW Settles Lawsuit Over Missing White House Emails

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 16, 2009 12:15 PM

The group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) has settled a lawsuit over missing White House emails from the Bush administration.

According to a press release by CREW, they had filed the lawsuit because the Bush White House failed to archive two and half years worth of emails from the Bush White House servers. In spite of possessing the knowledge that the servers had a problem, the Bush Administration failed to recover the missing White House emails and continued using the broken servers.

The Obama Administration has agreed to restore 94 days worth of emails as part of the settlement. Attempting to recover all of the lost data would have been too expensive and placed an undue burden on the new administration. The days that will be selected for email recovery will be based on volume and on external events.

CREW notes in its press release: "Documents produced so far show the Bush White House was lying when officials claimed no emails were ever missing. The record now proves incontrovertibly that Bush administration officials deliberately ignored the problem and, in fact, knowingly allowed it to worsen."

Meanwhile, the AP reports that Former Bush White House spokesman Scott Stanzel defends the Bush White House administration. He claims that CREW is creating controversy over nothing. AP quotes him as saying, "The liberal groups CREW and National Security Archive litigate for sport, distort the facts and have consistently tried to create a spooky conspiracy out of standard IT issues."

Not everyone would agree with Mr. Stanzel. Meredith Fuchs, general counsel to the National Security Archive, told AP  "many poor choices were made during the Bush administration and there was little concern about the availability of e-mail records despite the fact that they were contending with regular subpoenas for records and had a legal obligation to preserve their records."

Whatever the case is, at least some of the missing White House emails will eventually be recovered and then archived. Ms. Sheila Shadmand, another lawyer representing the National Security Archive, told AP that the Obama administration is trying very hard to clean up "the electronic data mess left behind by the prior administration."

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