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. Ron

    What is the level of security of private email accounts. Is it not dangerous for our elected officials to be using this non-encrypted technology?

    San Clemente

    February 19, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. USA patron

    talk about a red herring...

    The republicans are looking for anything they can to cause strife and distraction.

    I think the American people can see through each cheap shot and the GOP doesn't look any better for it. They look smaller and smaller with each attack.

    February 19, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. dave

    Seems to me that the democrats are getting a taste of their own medicine. They were foaming at the mouth about the Bush administration needing to keep track of all emails. So they only question that needs to be answered is why shouldn't they be expected to do exactly the same thing?

    February 19, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. John

    Issa is the same scumbag who started the California Recall and put California into its current tailspin. Nice work fella!

    February 19, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. TCM

    Obama's passion for emails and his Blackberry make him a security threat to the nation...why? Because it's wireless....so you whiny liberals, being the president he has to (at some point in his life) be accountable for his actions....this crap of doing whatever he wants, will cause (God, please!) his impeachment for incompetence.

    February 19, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. "new" GOP

    Yo yo yo. Mikey Mike aka Wheels of Steele givin mad props to my main man D to the Issa....Issa good n the hood, ya feel me?
    We all Rethugs up in here, nobody get funny with the e-mails starting.....NOW.
    Never mind what G Dub and my dog Rover were up to the last 8 years because that's what we new Rethugs call "kickin it old school" from back in the day. Y'all don't like it, you can stuff it.
    I'm Audi 5000 and bouncing to one of J Mac's cribs.
    (put that vanilla ice cassette in)

    February 19, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Ken

    Issa! Oh please, he one looniest of the right wingtard brigade. I don't seem to recall that he was oh so concerned about Bush administration emails. You know, the administration that somehow managed to lose hundreds of emails.

    Is is any wonder people have tuned out these GOP hypocrites?

    February 19, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. ARJ

    While it is tempting to wish that someone from the White House would send the Congressman an e-mail saying "bite me" that would lower us to the standards of the Republican's who blindly followed Bush and Cheney giving them license to do what they wanted with no questions asked. So sure we will be sure we follow the law when it comes to e-mails because we know that the one thing that can always be said about the Republican party is that they are always focused on what is really important to the American people and they really care about jobs, housing, health care, national security, economic security, etc. I mean after all they really care about your job, your home, and whether or not you can feed your family or see a doctor. Oh yeah, that's right they don't. All they care about is whether or not they will see taxes cut for their rich friends, campagin contributors and themselves!

    February 19, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. The Hypocrite

    The republicans think all americans are stupid. The last time i checked Bush and Cheney deleted thousands of mails and the beloved Palin conducted state business on personal email accounts.

    Who cares what the republicans say anyways except CNN? I dont get it. Is this somewhat of a fairness doctrine going on at CNN or just decided to help the Republicans navigate their opposition...may God help us.

    February 19, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. C W

    Michael, regarding Bush Administration emails, it wasn't "some may have not been" preserved – millions went missing. And I think Democrats have every right to call it as they see it: Issa is a hypocrit.

    The Republicans are brilliant at transference: Accuse everyone else of their own failures, lack of character and hypocrisy – as a was to avoid dealing with the sick truth about themselves.

    February 19, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. republicans hate america

    when Bush shows his obama will show his

    February 19, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. Rodney

    WOW and the DEMOCRAPS on here continue to whine and cry in mass, actually DEMOCRAPS give US a break and grow a set of balls, OOPS I forgot you liberial don't have a set. MAYBE that's what your actually mad about, though I doubt CNN has the BALLS to print this either.

    February 19, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Charlie in Maine

    Dude where is my comment?? It was a good one too.

    February 19, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Melissa

    I see, so now after 8 years of Bush when we finally have a Democratic President in power is when they want to create this? Do you smell hypocrasy anyone?

    Disgusting.

    February 19, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Chris from NY

    It may be the right thing to do but after what the Republicans did in the past few weeks, I can't help but think that they are upto something. These old white guys can't wait to stick it to Obama the black guy.

    February 19, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Are you Oblivious to the Obvious?

    This sounds like a good idea. The cheif hypocrites on this blog are the ones who object to it simply because of who suggested it.

    February 19, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. Luke from Boston

    BUSH is not the president.

    Stop staying "BUSH" everytime Obama lies, cheats, steals or does something stupid.

    Oh bye the way, Obama has reversed himself on :

    February 19, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. CL OT

    Obama should have no problem with this request because his administration is so "Transparent". What a Joke!!!

    February 19, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Mr. Phil

    Obama has said repeatedly that he personally doesn't want to pursue the prior administration (I can't even bear to repeat their names) for crimes they have committed, but I think after this, he should go after them guns-a-blazing!!!

    February 19, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. Charlie in Maine

    It is great to hear that Republicans are fiscally responsoble again, that you want over-sight on spending and open government again. How about balanced bugets like President Clinton left for yor guy?

    Since you all behave so much more responsibly when you are in the minority isn't it in the best interest of your party, and the country, to make sure you stay in the minority for long damn time?

    February 19, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. Chris from NY

    It may be the right thing to do but after what the Republicans did in the past few weeks, I can't help but think that they are upto something. These old white guys can't wait to stick it to Obama the black guy.

    February 19, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. Jeema

    Seems a large number of the CNN posters during the day seem to be Obamists. It makes sense. Your are either cheating your employer out of a full day of work or you are sitting on your butt bleeding the taxpayers.

    Please please would one of you Obamists pay my rent. Or buy my groceries. Or gas my car. Or buy me some cocaine (regular street stuff that Barry Obama used would be sufficient).

    February 19, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. Charlie in Maine

    It is great to hear that Republicans are fiscally responsible again, that you want over-sight on spending and open government again. How about balanced bugets like President Clinton left for yor guy?

    Since you all behave so much more responsibly when you are in the minority isn't it in the best interest of your party, and the country, to make sure you stay in the minority for long damn time?

    February 19, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. republicans hate america

    Pat Lee I do not recall ANY republicans practicing your interpretation of democracy

    February 19, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Simpliticus

    Issa insinuates the disgusting fact that the previous administration did NOT adhere to his suggestions of saving e-mails in the White House. How disingenuous of Issa to ask what Bush refused to do, or did Mr. Issa just conveniently forget the supposed LOST e-mails in the Kentucky system! Obama is far more trustworthy than Bush will have ever been and one can throw out Mr. Issa's complaint offhand simply because of the Bush administration's failure in this regard. Republicans know no level of disgusting actions as Americans would like to have known what transpired in the Bush White House with these conveniently LOST e-mails. Just another example of Republican ugly on ape syndrome, heh, Mr. Issa? Let's have those LOST e-mails of the Bush administration before one castigates this president!

    February 19, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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