February 19th, 2009
04:54 PM ET
5 years ago

Republican wants White House e-mail plan

A California Republican in the House has asked the White House to detail its practices for preserving official emails.
A California Republican in the House has asked the White House to detail its practices for preserving official emails.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A California Republican congressman has called on President Obama to put in place a system that ensures all White House emails be preserved even if official business was done through private e- mail accounts.

Rep. Darrell Issa, the senior Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, made the request in a February 18 letter to White House Counsel Greg Craig.

Issa specifically mentioned the new administration’s brief use of Gmail accounts after Obama was sworn in last month, as they waited for the official White House e-mail accounts to become active.

Click here to read Issa's letter

“As you know, any e-mail sent or received by White House officials may be subject to retention under the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” Issa wrote Craig in the letter.

“The use of personal e-mail accounts, such as Gmail to conduct official business raises the prospect that presidential records will not be captured by the White House e-mail archiving system. Consequently Gmail users on the President’s staff run the risk of incorrectly classifying their e-mails as non-records under the [Presidential Records] Act.”

A White House spokesman told CNN Thursday that all staff were told to forward any official correspondence to their White House e-mail accounts, and added that private e-mail accounts are no longer being used.


“In order to ensure that they were accessible in the first hours and days of the administration, some staff members created email accounts from which to conduct official business before their government accounts were operational,” a spokesman for the White House said in an email to CNN.

“Those staff members were instructed to forward any presidential records that they established during that time period, including emails, to their government email accounts to ensure that they would be in compliance with the Presidential Records Act. Those temporary accounts are no longer being used.”

Issa also asked that the White House respond to a series of questions about the administration’s email archiving by March 4.

E-mail use by the new administration’s staff has been twice disrupted by problems with White House servers in the past month.

Related: White House press office hit by e-mail outage

President Obama also uses e-mail to communicate with a small circle of his senior staff and close friends. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has said that the President’s e-mails are subject to preservation under the Presidential Records Act, but the law has an exception for personal communications.


Filed under: Popular Posts • White House
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Obama Mama

    The point is, to all of you security-ignorant libs, is Bush is gone...so what? NOW, we're dealing with a guy who has proven that he's not careful with his decision making process; i.e., the 4 tax cheats he appointed....plus Emanuall of course.....so, why should we trust this totally unproven, unethical individual with national secrets? You democrats are failing to see one thing; Bush kept this country safe from attack....Obama will not. In fact, he'll continue to apologize to the terrorists...probably even after they attack us again!

    February 19, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. sg

    Honestly, I am tired of these Republicans screwing with Obama's team and their efforts. I have seen enough of Bush and his policies....Now, these Republicans want to put a stop everything possible in Obama's mission. They just want to play dirty politics. Thanks to President Obama, everything is slowly becoming transparent.

    February 19, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. Bob from Portland

    You guys know who Darrell Issa is, right? He bankrolled the crooked recall of Gray Davis (Governor of California) so that they could put a Republican in there. He cried on local news when he withdrew his own nomination for governor when he realized that all of the support was already in place for Arnold.

    Take anything Issa says with a grain of salt.

    February 19, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Jim Hall

    Don't these republicans have anything else but to nit pick. We were republicans before the past village idiot and did not vote for him not the republican village idiot that wanted to replace him. We will never vote republican again and that includes about 22 of our immediate family members. Get down to business and help this country get back on course after 8 years of a village idiot running this country. At lease Obama has done miracles and is well respected in this country and the world. The past village idiot is back in Texas doing his cocaine and alcohol. That is where he belongs along with all of the other republicans. In two years the republicans will be thrown out and hopefully their homes will be forclosed on and I don't like to wish anything on anybody but this time the republicans deserve it. Jim Hall Kansas City Missouri.

    February 19, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. gg

    where were they when dick channey was building his fortune under the table

    February 19, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Big Al

    Slow news day CNN?

    Why don't you cover the resounding "no confidence" vote that the market continues to give this egotistical socialist idiot and his merry band of tax evaders every day? I think that's far more important than this non story!

    February 19, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Ken

    @ Pat Lee

    Did your precious Rethug party take Democratic ideas into account when they were in power? Obama has reached out and all its gotten him was more scorn from the Rethugs.

    Don't leture people about PoliSci 101 when it's obvious you couldn't pass a high school civics class.

    February 19, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    HI hi hi.. personal communication. Like to whom? Mickey mouse and donald duck? Obama brought alll this scrutiny and attention upon himself. So all his merry men in the white house must follow protocol.

    February 19, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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