June 16th, 2008
11:55 AM ET
14 years ago

Judge: White House office does not have to turn over records

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/16/art.computerwh0616.gi.jpg caption="The White House won a ruling in federal court Monday in a lawsuit about its computer system and e-mails."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House Office of Administration is not required to turn over records about a trove of possibly missing emails, a federal judge in Washington ruled Monday.

A ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly says the agency does not have "substantial independent authority" so is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Therefore, the White House does not have to disclose documents relating to its troubled e-mail system. That system developed problems which may have caused millions of White House emails to be unaccounted for.

The watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington–known as CREW– had sued under the Freedom of Information Act. The group expressed disappointment in the ruling and said it is appealing the decision.

"The Bush administration is using the legal system to prevent the American people from discovering the truth about the millions of missing White House e-mails," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.

In January, the White House said it cannot rule out that it may have lost certain e-mails. The possibly lost e-mails are from a period in which the United States decided to go to war with Iraq, White House officials leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson and the Justice Department started a criminal investigation into who leaked the information.

The White House has denied any evidence, including e-mails, have been destroyed.

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Independent for Obama

    LOL. They "lost" the emails from when we went to war, when they helped leak the identity of a CIA agent, and when the Justice Dept. started looking into the leak. That is some funny stuff...

    June 16, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Anne

    How very convenient For Bush

    June 16, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. ATLian

    Oh hell to the no!

    June 16, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Cynthia

    Stay in the fight , Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington, the American citizens deserve to know the truth.

    June 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. VOTE 08!!!

    Emails don’t get lost. Ask any computer geek. This is ridiculous.
    Can we just let Bush go home earlier and have an interim President.

    June 16, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. DJ, LA, CA

    How can they "lose" emails? Sounds like this was obviously intentionally and the White House seems to have a lot to hide...for not just this incident but also Dick Cheney's energy policy/meetings among other issues.

    June 16, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. s

    "The White House has denied any evidence, including e-mails, have been destroyed." This adminstration would deny its own mothers if it served their ends.

    June 16, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Superdelegate

    sounds like Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is up for a promotion.

    June 16, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. After further review,Texas.

    As John Dean stated in his book,this coverup is 100 times worse than Watergate ever was.The criminals destroyed all that they could,even the hard drives.

    June 16, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. Obama v McCain

    and blah blah blah

    June 16, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Karen Awad, Kissimmee, Florida

    And let me see, we believe this? I don't think so! What would anyone in their right mind believe coming out of the current white house. Lying is the norm there!

    June 16, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Jim

    So it's ok for them to tap our phone's but when the table's are turned...

    June 16, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    That sucks. That really sucks. 🙁

    June 16, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. NickNas

    THIS is the Judicial system that BUSH Built for us. NIXON was forced out of office for erasing a few tapes BUSH deletes MILLIONS of records to cover his tracks and POOF he gets off scott free.

    I am ASHAMED of our Government and feel like I live in a Third world Dictatorship. Why doesn't he just declare himself RULER FOR LIFE!!!??

    June 16, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. New Day

    ugh! who cares? 7 months to go and he's out FOREVER!!!!

    June 16, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. Phil in KC

    Once again, the White House thumbs its nose at us and gets away with it. These guys are abrograting their responsibilities and ignoring their oath to uphold the constituion. I think Kucinich was right – they should be impeached.

    June 16, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. tina


    June 16, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. Candace -Houston, TX

    This is so sad.....

    June 16, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. LB

    Bush lied about the WMD in Iraq and then distroys the e-mail that could prove it was all a lie. How convenient! No Bush-McCain in the White House. Wonder how many e-mails of McCains have gotten lost too.

    June 16, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. No Socialist, NY

    Some people just don't know who the real enemy is. CREW ought to aim it's guns at the terrorists not the administration which has kept this country safer since 9/11. We're fighting terrorism, not appeasing terrorists and their sympathizers. Wake up; this is reality.

    June 16, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Glenn

    Nothing but a cover up! The Bush Presidency is so pathetic!

    June 16, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Sydney

    I think the country had enough of the idiots, so thank you very much, but NO thank you to another Bush.

    June 16, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. RickytheGriff

    It's nice to be above the law, isn't it?

    June 16, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |

    Whatever Is In Those E Mails Is Probably Enough To Bring Criminal Charges Against A Lot Of People In The Current Administration! Many People Must Have Let Out A Sigh Of Relief After The Verdic Was Read!

    June 16, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Uncle Sam

    If it really is change we want, then why not vote for the candidate with a proven record of change rather than the one who merely promises it?

    Citizens for McCain '08
    Coalition of Independents & Democrats for McCain

    June 16, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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