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. Franky

    I mean, there was a time when you could visit the "White House" and have a couple shots with the President, you know. Yep, that was WAY back in the day, LOL!! Wouldn't it be cool to if you could still do that? It seems like nothings changed, LOL!!

    June 16, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. Jay

    How convenient the emails were lost around the time the US decided to go to war over faulty intelligence and out and out lying by the President and his cronies.

    Bush and Co should be in jail.

    June 16, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Danny, CA

    Democrats would have tried to pounce on it if the decision was against the White House. I want to know what the old senator from Vermont who is chairman of Judicial committee wants to say.

    June 16, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Why does this remind me of the Nixon tapes, which were eventually brought to light?

    The judge is probably correct in stating that this group does not have the authority to ask this of the White House. The ruling suggests that someone else does, however

    June 16, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. John

    Our government has become so corrupt under the Republicans it makes me sick.

    June 16, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Pam

    Hmmmm...I wonder if this is a Bush appointed judge.

    June 16, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. amtFresno,CA

    stay on it CREW. There must be something up with these PARTICULAR lost e-mails. This admin has been the worst in American History in every way. Obama for Pres 08

    June 16, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Tin

    Betrayal at any level is possible once information is withheld from "we the people." If the NASA reports about global climate change had a fair chance to reach public when its top scientist was TRYING to convey the info. to us, Al-Gore would have had a better chance of being elected in 04'.

    We the people HAVE TO DEMAND greater transparency.

    June 16, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Andy Arlingen

    Like the man said: the judge was appointed by the Clinton administration in 1997. That means she is likely a democrat, but not necessarily. She is judging against the law, not judging against what you responders here think.

    June 16, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. ohio voter

    What did you expect from this administration?

    June 16, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Raven

    Matt June 16th, 2008 1:38 pm ET

    Now listen as the democrats whine because the President can legally keep some things to themselves.

    The democrats think they are above the law, they need to be thrown out of power!

    I love how this genius accuses the dems of thinking they are above the law...This has got to be a joke. Nobody is this stupid! Are they???

    June 16, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Dave in NYC

    This is a loss for the American People, and a victory for those who would abuse our system of checks and balances.

    We need to kick these guys out of office before they do further damage to our constitution!

    June 16, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Joe Bloggs, Haiku, HI

    Bob Chisholm – you've been drinking that right-wing koolaid, my friend!
    Everything you say is a right-wing bogus talking point that has been disproven – if you only bother to research it . If one day the Dems are able to get the Bush folk to honor a subpoena, the truth will come out. Until then, carry on living in your right-wing world where the lies and distortions of Limbaugh, Hannity and Fox Noise allow you to ignore your conscience and carry on 'believing' what these miscreants will have you believe!

    June 16, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Raven

    This administration should have been put out to pasture when Condi, Rove and the rest of the Bush ilk claimed executive privilege. Any time you claim ex prvlg, you are hiding something. Does anyone remember when condi refused to testify under oath? What does that tell you? It is hard for me to believe that anyone in this country still supports such liars. Matt who made the above comment comes to mind. Perhaps he is on the bush payroll. It can be the only explanation for such idiocy.

    June 16, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. judy

    The axis of evil: Bush, Bush, and McBush

    June 16, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. After further review,Texas.

    UNCLE SAM must be drinking the koolaid or is Rove himself,lol

    June 16, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Watergate, Bushgate, Cheneygate whatever you might want to call it, they are crooks and liars.

    June 16, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. George Bush

    The approval rating of Congress is lower than mine.

    June 16, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    "New Day June 16th, 2008 1:23 pm ET

    ugh! who cares? 7 months to go and he's out FOREVER!!!!"
    Amen. They should build a huge sign at Times Square that displays the hours, minutes and seconds that Bush has left. 🙂

    June 16, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Jeff, AL

    Emails do not get "lost". In most cases, "lost" data can be retrived directly from the disk drive. And in any network as large and secure as in the US government, there are several backups on data storage in the event anything does get wiped out on a server. I am so ashamed of my government!

    June 16, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. Elizabeth, Philadelphia, PA

    The Bush Admin does nothing but lie and hurt the American people. I want to see all those jerks tried for war crimes. I want to see them in jail. But will it ever happen? No, because their lawyers always get them off..

    June 16, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. Sammy

    In the end it doesnt really matter because more than likely in a year they will all be released by a Democratic administration.

    June 16, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. Graft Corruption and Cover ups

    Why is anybody surprised by this? We have had 8 years of it already.
    Don't you get it yet? I am still waiting for an apology from the people who voted for him twice. Wont hold my breath though.

    June 16, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. Bob Chisolm

    "The possibly lost e-mails are from a period in which the United States decided to go to war with Iraq"

    No new information was sent through e-mails. The decision to go to war as approved by the US Congress and the UN.
    Since Melanie Sloan is actively representing Valerie Plame in a legal suit, her motives for CREW are a bit suspect for claiming pure ideals as their motive...

    June 16, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. rice, bryan

    the white house has been busier that a cat in a liter box covering it's crap.

    June 16, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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