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. Rob

    Amazing how so many people here are so easily duped by conspiracy theories. Lest these yutzes forget, Bush didn't use email, but that doesn't matter.

    Libs = idiots

    T-minus 4 years until this sham of a president is out.

    NO YOU COULDN'T

    February 19, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Hayden Zeke

    If I was in the White House I would tell him to suck eggs.

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

    I have a mute button for my television sound... I wish I could push a mute button for petty, one-sided, partisans like Issa.

    February 19, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    Excuse me!!! Dick Cheney claimed his e-mails were nobody's business but his own.... and now this guy wants all of the Obama administration's e-mails saved for scrutiny. I don't have any problem with the Obama administration's e-mails being archived, but then explain to me why Dick Cheney got a free pass?????

    February 19, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Hawkeye

    Out of 11 posts, 10 mirrored my thoughts when I read this. Way to jump on this, everyone!

    All of a sudden the GOP cares about the national debt, email, etc. What a bunch of idiots!

    February 19, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Gary E., Roma, TX

    It is quite apparent that it is all a drwam to Issaq. Mamon! Que 'ueno que los repuglicanos 'tan mamando tanto. Come 2010, MAS repugs para afuera! Que vivan los Democratas! Que vivan!

    February 19, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Now you care?

    What a crock!!!!

    February 19, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Jeff

    Hey Rep. Darrell Issa did you cc DICK Cheney on your correspondence? If not, perhaps you should...whereas while he was in office such laws did not apply to him apparently.

    February 19, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. End Of An Error

    So now the republicans care? What a load.

    All e-mails should be stored. And using Gmail? For that, the Obama administration needs to be educated on the implications of open e-mails and servers where foreign nationals have access.

    But this self-righteous outcry from the republicans now? I agree with the other posters – where were these when Bush and Cheney were intentionally circumventing the system and using RNC servers?

    February 19, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Maggie from Virginia

    JayJay, you hit the nail on the head. That's my main issue with republicans. Hypocricy is what's wrong with America.

    February 19, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Josh

    When will the partisan double standard end? The whole system is so tired. My fear is that the majority of Americans either do not care or that everything political is tuned out.

    February 19, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. Bea

    Get over it – maybe you should try to support OUR president in what he is trying to accomplish. At least he is trying to get us back on the road no matter how hard.

    February 19, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Baze

    A Republican calling for more oversight and bigger government?

    February 19, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. A New Era

    I can't believe what I am hearing, but then again, this is the New Republican Party. Obama may as well get use this this Republican nonsense.

    February 19, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. Sharon Northern Virginia

    REPUGS NEED TO BE VOTED OUT OF EVERY DAM SIT IN CONGRESS AND THE SENATE. WE THE PEOPLE WILL SHOW YOU TWO FACED REPUGS WHERE TO GO.

    February 19, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Jon in CA

    Isn't Obama ALL ABOUT TRANSPARENCY????

    February 19, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. JJohn Anthony, MN

    Who does this Republican Asa think he is, anyway? He didn't make any noise at all when the Republican Bush regime occupied the White House and engaged in all kinds of shady activity, but now that a Democrat is in the White House he wants access to all White House emails? What a double standard! TAKE A HIKE, ASA!

    February 19, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. EAS

    I really don't think Rep. Darrell Issa is trying to protect the integrity of the Presidential Records Act.

    February 19, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. Matthew in Oregon

    Ha. NOW the Republicans want transparency in the executive branch?!

    I think Obama should do it because its the right thing. But these fair-weather authoritarian Republicans are ridiculous.

    February 19, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. Steve J, Michigan

    No problem, just claim executive privilege and tell them to go stuff it.. Being a gun owner I would still vote for President Obama. Repugs disgust me with their hipocritical values.

    February 19, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Robbiw

    If Issa is so concerned with transparency and oversight, maybe he could better spend his time tracking down the millions of emails that 'vanished' from GWs administration.

    February 19, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. Jack in Florida

    Right.................like George Bush and Dick Cheney preserved their emails..................................

    February 19, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. bb

    They had eight long years to screw us up and they are continuing to do so by lobbing distractions at the White House. HOW MUCH MORE DAMAGE CAN WE TAKE. These guys just do not get it.

    February 19, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Laverne

    talk about a double standard. As Bob Dole once said "where is the outrage"??? These republicans kept their stupid mouths shut when Bush was doing any and everything he wanted to do and now they want transparency, so called bipartisanship, etc. If I were a republican and thank God I am not, I would be right down ashamed to be associated with such a group of morons!

    February 19, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Brian

    Go back to the rock from which you came Mr. Issa...

    February 19, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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