January 14th, 2009
10:27 PM ET
14 years ago

Court orders White House to preserve e-mails

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/14/art.whsunrise0114.gi.jpg caption="A federal judge has ordered the White House to preserve its emails."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A federal judge has ordered the Bush White House to preserve its e-mails, just days before a new administration takes over.

The court's preservation notice Wednesday stems from a ongoing lawsuit by private groups over allegedly missing electronic messages, and allegations the
White House failed to properly monitor its internal communications among staff.

The issue has been a thorny legal and political one for outgoing Bush officials, who are in the process of transferring more than 300 million e-mail messages and 25,000 boxes of documents to the National Archives.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy instructed officials to search all White House workstations "and to collect and preserve all e-mails sent or received between March 2003 and October 2005."

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Filed under: Popular Posts • White House
soundoff (265 Responses)
  1. Mike Philly

    Cheney and Rumsfeld must be pooping their pants over this. You know that this administration couldn't wait to destroy the evidence of so much wrongdoing. Still, you have to wonder: In a world where OJ Simpson got off for killing his wife, where the Bush administration was able to break so many laws and kill so many innocents, in a world where Bush was able to steal his way into office in the first place... Will any of these crooks ever really be held to account and brought to justice? Doubtful.

    January 14, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Frank

    What makes anyone think that traitor-liars Bush and Cheney are going to start obeying the law now?

    I mean, c'mon, they outed a CIA agent. You can't get much lower than that. Oh yeah, you can.

    And, they did.

    January 14, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. boered1

    About time.. but I guess they had to give the idiots in chrge time to destroy the incriminating ones BEFORE this order came out.. I can hear them now "but we didn't KNOW that we could not destroy them.. wink wink" but then again bush can just say it is "executive privildge' and destroy them anyway so why bother with the courts bush has not listened to them yet


    January 14, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. Grog in Ohio

    Exactly what makes anyone think that the Bush/Cheney crime syndicate will start paying any attention to what a court or judge demands?

    Prepare for a flood of preemptive pardons any minute now for crimes ranging from torture to document destruction to outing CIA operatives.

    6 days till the end of the Bush administration.

    January 14, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. rich

    The judge has essentially said not so fast buddy! Good ruling.

    January 14, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. dickiebyrd

    Aww, c'mon......they're all 'boy scouts' after all!

    PSYCHE! ! !

    January 14, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. Terry, Lakeland Florida

    I mean, c'mon, they outed a CIA agent.
    Wait Bush did that? I thought the facts said he didn't, ya that's right you left wing nuts only listen to the other left wing nuts.

    January 14, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. elizabeth

    Who believes for a single second that the Bush administration will follow the judge's order? These criminals will walk scott free!

    January 14, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Peter (CA)

    Gosh, I'm glad the court weighed in.
    I'm sure Cheney will keep records of all of his meetings and notes.

    I doubt the shredder will even slow down.

    January 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. political junkie in NJ

    SO WHAT!!??

    January 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. ajks

    This is a fruitless order. They wil do what they want, just like they have for the last 8 years. Nixon must have been Bush's role model.

    January 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. Trevor in VA

    who cares

    January 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Steve

    And the teflon begins to crack.....

    January 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. jona

    this will be a non story in 8 hours.

    January 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. chris@stl

    Yes ... even I preserve my emails for some length of time!

    January 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. G.R.I.T.S - Girl Raised in the South

    That's great, but it's a little too late. The guy that can help in the e-mail investigation died in a mysterious plane crash in Ohio. He was a federal witness and the prosecutor had just recently requested protection due to threats from Cheney's henchmen. Hmmmm.

    January 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Jason B.

    Sadly, I must concur. This administration seems to have ignored Constitutional law before...why would they care now? What could the Courts do? Jail him?

    Or the administration will just start crying "State secrets!" again and put it all back into hiding.

    Is it sad that I feel so cynical with this Administration??

    January 14, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Rorschach

    'Bout time. After turning the DOJ into a political-patronage chop shop I'm honestly surprised they've ordered Bush to preserve these records.

    January 14, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Uncle S.A.M.

    Finally. Let the investigation begin. They are requesting emails starting from March 2003. March 2003 is win the Iraq war began. Let's hear all the juicy details that the Bush Administration has been withholding for 5 years.

    January 14, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    This always should be standard practice, they don't own anything that's paid for and purchased by American taxpayers.

    January 14, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Jackson, Seattle

    If they dodged all the subpoenas in the past, they will dodge them all again for this. Absolutely zero accountability.

    January 14, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Dan66

    Hmm. They've only had almost 4 years to destroy all those emails... wonder if they got around to it.

    January 14, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. MD

    I can only imagine the concern of Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Clinton, Waxman, Schumer, Rangel, and Dodd as the emails show how much they knew.

    Let's all stay focused on the past. The present and future will take care of itself.

    January 14, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Nicole

    ...Better late than never !!!

    January 14, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. Mike Mundy, Houston, TX

    Someone needs to smack this Judge upside his head!!! This isn't a witch hunt!!

    January 14, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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