February 19th, 2009
04:54 PM ET
6 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. kima

    It's all about spin, folks. The Republicans have to look like they're doing SOMETHING, and creating even the most remote cloud of suspicion about the Obama administration to them, is doing something.

    February 19, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. me

    Ditto and....

    WASHINGTON – The California congressman who called the Sept. 11 attacks "simply" a plane crash ran for cover Wednesday under a barrage of ridicule from fellow Republicans, first responders and victims' families.

    San Diego GOP Rep. Darrell Issa was under siege for suggesting the federal government had already done enough to help New York cope with "a fire" that "simply was an aircraft" hitting the World Trade Center.

    February 19, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Matt in MN

    So because the last administration has little oversight, we shouldn't put measures in place to have more oversight going forward?

    The logic so many of you people show and use on a daily basis is baffling. It's like the kids who get in a fight at the playground who use the excuse "Well he pushed me first so it's ok for me to push/hit him back".

    February 19, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Enforcer

    These idiots who now demand that all White House emails be preserved are nobodies but a bunch of hypocrites. Where were they when their masters Cheney and Bush were at the helm of their powers?

    February 19, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. JAZ

    Hilarious. Ironic that you want to follow the law... now! Shameful Republicans. You are just driving your brand into the TANK!

    February 19, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Barbara NY

    Republicans-you gotta luv them–"do as I say, not as I do".

    February 19, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. John Pa

    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.

    Why were'nt they active on day one. It sounds like they need new IT guys .

    February 19, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. spacewriter

    Mr. Issa, how about demanding the same transparency of the Bush White House records? If you don't, then you show that the GOP doesn't have any values whatsoever.

    February 19, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Change

    GOP = Goofs on Parade

    February 19, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Hypocrite...

    I searched for when you asked the same thing of W and his cronies.........and found nothing.

    February 19, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. HRG

    The hypocrisy and pettiness of the Republicans just continues....

    February 19, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. hadelaide

    Mr. Issa, please tell Karl Rove to present himself to the congressional committee and answer questions pertaining to emails that mysteriously disappeared, politicizing of the justice dept., valerie plame, and gross negligence that was perpetrating on the American people. Man, these repubs are incredibly double-faced creatures!

    February 19, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. AJ

    Again, republicans are a bunch of low life hypocrites. They weren’t too worried about preserving White House e-mails when G.W. Bush was in office. In fact they did everything they could to make sure that G.W. s documentation was kept as secret as possible. What a bunch of slime bags.

    February 19, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Debby, NJ...foot soldier 'til 2016

    the GrandPop Party is starting to sound really stupid!!!

    February 19, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Michael

    So the Democrats are mad at Republicans for wanting all of Obama's emails preserved becasuse they say Bush did not preserve all of his.

    Democrats wanted all of Bush's preserved and were mad that some may have not been. But these same Democrats appear to care less if Obama preserves his. Then they call Republicans hypocrits.

    Democrats for Obama will justify any wrong doing by Obama if they believe Bush did the same thing. And they called McCain McSame.

    The joke has come full circle.

    February 19, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. karen-Phoenix

    Look people–the republicans couldn't even run a computer how do you expect them to keep records??!!

    February 19, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. Michael

    Sure, now that the two biggest scofflaws in the USA have had their chance to destroy their evidence...
    Retention is a great idea but 8 years too late.

    February 19, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Pog n da face

    What an arrogant puke! Now that there is a Democratic President these Repub clowns want every one to be open and direct. It was okay for Bush/Cheney to be deceptive and secretive in every area possible. The arrogance of the Repubs continues to be insulting.
    What Issa deserves is the Cheney treatment – to be thrown a few rabid snarls, some f-bombs, and a middle finger.

    February 19, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. Don't forget the blackberry

    Don't forget the President's new blackberry as that will the mail system where all the "non tranparent" business will be conducted with his Chief of Staff

    February 19, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. My View

    Oh PLEASE give me a break! That's is rich advice coming from a Republican. Maybe he should have given Bush and Cheny the same advice because they seemed to "lose" a bit of information when it was convienient.

    Why does CNN have to title this "White House UNDER FIRE" when it is just one blowhard republican looking for some media attention for himself?

    February 19, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. DFinFL

    Wait till the Republiban talking heads start making speeches about the "dozens of e-mails" that went missing in the Obama administration. I can't wait to hear Hannity's wailing.

    ..

    February 19, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. Sharon Kitchen

    Is Rep Issa going to find all those 8 years missing e mails of bush /cheney & co???????????????????????????????????????
    Wow......that'd be great, yeh right........................................................
    He is such a 2 faced individual.

    February 19, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. jeremy

    republicans are the biggest hypocrites in the world. to ask the new administration for the email accounts is just low.

    hey where were you during the bush administration?????? how shallow can these people get.

    February 19, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. Budhu

    He needs to ask his buddys about those lost emails first. Pathetic republicans ...

    February 19, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. inat

    ok, so since Bush "lost" email Obama gets a pass? Obama should be more than willing to follow the rules even if the previous guy may have not

    February 19, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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