[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."