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. Tommy

    Does anyone think for a minute that these idiots will actually abide by the law? Get real. So a court order states they have to abide by the law, then some crackpot dipstick in the justice dept starts spouting off about the unitary executive theory stating that the president is omnipotent and, because of his omnipotence, cannot be held to account for anything. Additionally, the government is rife with "pinkos" and "left leaning libs", who cannot be trusted with such state secrets, etc.. ad nauseum. Yada yada, on and on, blah blah blah

    January 20 cannot come fast enough! G'bye George and DICK! Gooooooood riddance!

    January 14, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Jim C

    Gosh, maybe now the Obama Administration will ressurect Sandy Berger, he can take everything and stuff it down his pants and walk right out the front door. No worries...

    I mean, everyon eelse from Clinton I and II are here for Clinton III, starring William Jefferson Barack Hussein Oblinton

    January 14, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Fenarkleman

    Mike Mundy – if reasoned political discourse and something akin to reality were rock 'n roll, then you are definitely Celine Dion.

    January 14, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. KMAN

    Time for some justice to be served up to the criminals that have occupied the WH for the last 8 yeasr ... NO ONE should be above the law!

    January 14, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Fitz

    CNN where is my extremely thoughtful post? took me 15 minutes to gather my thoughts and then you don't even post it. Oh well here is a short version.

    Mike Murphy get a grip dude and me thinks Joe Kirby is actually Sarah Palin. Hey Sarah, it hurts doesn't it? yeah I bet it does. Oh well you'll get em next time.

    January 14, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. GS-Florida

    Bush and Cheney have treated the courts and the US Constitution as a pure annoyance...something to get around by using the Whitehouse hack-lawyers. They feel like they are above the law. This should have been challenged years ago. This election shows that more people are sick and tired of the abuses. It's our government NOT Bushes' government. He was sworn " to protect and defend the constitution." Not twist it! Any violation of law by this Whitehouse has to be procecuted to the fullest. wire tapping, torcher, outting CIA agents, destroying documents. Just to skim the surface !

    January 14, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Jack in Florida

    Crooks.....all of them.....Can't wait till there gone and the truth all comes out!!! Prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

    Hey, Joe Kirby.....where have you been living these last 8 years....................give me the Clinton years anytime over the 8 yrs of hell we have had to put up with Bush. Good Riddance!

    January 14, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Scott

    Keep in mind nothing is ever really deleted, I don't think these guys are smat enough to be able to get rid of the hardware and oh say the backup tapes.

    January 14, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. meadowlands

    Bush should ignore it just like the Clintons did – Seems to have worked for them. And let's not forget all the crooks BO is bringing in in addition to the Clinton team. They get away with it so why shouldn't Bush. Mike Philly – You talk about the Bush administration breaking laws yet BO has broken so many already with his donations and I didn't see you mention that

    January 14, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Mike

    Why go through all this nonsense on emails!!!!! and other crap........when non of it will put Bush or Cheney behind bars...........If some just had the balls to put them behind bars for at least 24 hours. That would make me happy............but he's lied, stolen, caused deaths and yet he get to go home to his new home he purchased. All the Loopholes a Lawyer can find............It's a shame no have found a Loop hole for the people of the US to Sue the President for all the mess he has caused!!!!!!!!!

    January 14, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. carolflowery

    give them all blackberries then we will all be safe

    January 14, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. P. Y.

    Whoops ! Too late ! They were all deleted a long time ago.

    What makes anybody believe that this man and his croonies would do anything that they are told to do. Never will happen !

    January 14, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Chris

    Ed – not a covert agent? Did you even read her book? Let me guess you're still bitter McCain lost and Rush is telling you to find any angle to bolster the idiot Bush before he leaves office. Get real. She was covert. She was outed by the WH Administration et al. And, that amounts to treason. Period.

    Bush and Cheney are criminals, so is Rove and they should all be brought to justice.

    Fortunately, as stated in the senate confirmation yesterday, the new secretary of state and foreign policy direction for this country will rebuild the destruction of the non-poliferation unit within the CIA and actually do something *useful* in the war on terror. This country will be much better served when new leadership that have both an IQ and integrity are in place.

    I thank fcking god(pick one) Bush and Cheney's rule is near its end.


    January 14, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. helped myself

    jim, first of all Sandy Berger paid for what he did, which is more than anyone in the Bush Crime Family can admit to. second, the documents in questions were COPIES of documents he wrote himself.

    January 14, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Jeanne from AZ

    I really have got to stop reading all of these comments. I cannot believe that you all are so obtuse. Do you not understand how serious this is???
    You are so wrapped up in you idealogical positions that you aren't seeing the real threat. If we continue to allow the systematic breakdown of our rights, the laws then we might as well dispose of the Constitution and just let the government become a kingdom or dictatorship. This adminstration has circumvented virtually every check and balance. They have rendered the Congress to ineffective, have stacked the Justice Department, Civil Rights Department to their "Team, have stomped on everything that America has stood for. They have lied to the American people and they have bankrupted this country. Hopefully the next Administration is good and lucky maybe by the time I die the Country will be where we were 8 years ago.

    I certainly am thankful that I do not have any children to have to live thru what I see as a devestated America.

    January 14, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Moving on

    By the way,

    Why all the frustration? If you still like the Bush administration, you got your way — two terms. Quit complaining, at least until the rest of us decide he should stand trial as a war criminal.

    If you don't like the Bush administration like the vast majority of the people in this country, you have the majority of your fellow Americans including yourself to blame. To many of the people in this country practice sloppy voting habits. You vote for the guy because you would like to have a beer with him. You vote over religious issues. Why not vote for the best leader, based on issues that matter to all Americans, like consumer protection, foreign policy, the economy, and healthcare?

    Or maybe — like most Americans — you're too wrapped up in your 9-5 job, carting your kids to and from school/soccer practice, and your television. Perhaps you were too busy to pay attention.

    Friends, this disastrous past 8 years — regardless of what you have preached or how you voted — is everyone's baby. Lets just be honest about that, take responsibility, and do better next time.

    By remaining so complacent as a whole, we are begging crooks and schemers to take this country over.

    January 14, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. Mickie

    Oh please, like they will start obeying the laws now. Why should they when nobody ever has to face the consequences of their wrongdoings, whether legal or just immoral, right Bush?

    January 14, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. earle,florida

    The tail wagging the dog,until they both tire! This will be challenged,then reversed,thus going to the appeals court,then onto the Supreme Court who will refuse to hear it,and throw it back to the courts,who indeed eventually find lack of evidence? Case closed,...

    January 14, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. MD

    Dear Anonymous in Seattle,

    Reading the NY Times and People Magazine does not constitute serious research. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    January 14, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. Jay

    Mike Mundy, Houston, TX.....

    Maybe you can take the tobacco that your chewing out of your mouth and take off the cowboy hat long enough to look in the mirror and see what's wrong with the country today...you republicans

    January 14, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. hmm

    Joe Kirby.. You are white I'm guessing.. lol- Good for you being born with that skin color~ What an accomplishment!

    January 14, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. John

    wow, you guys are funny, So what, 300 million emails. Do you really think that if something was going on secretly that they would EMAIL it.... with all the hacking going on. I guess we will find out allot of steamy details of the staffs private jokes and lives. Wow, am I interested in that. Oh, and just remember. what goes around, comes around. What is good for this one, will be good for the other ones. Set a new precedence. When will we ever move this country forward instead of backward

    January 14, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Miltrez

    Sho what? It can't be any worse than what the Clintons did? At least all of Bush's friends are still alive and not dead, or trying to carry stuff out in their underpants...Unlike the whole Clinton to Bush transition.

    Its too bad Bush couldn't get the chairs reupholstered when he moved in after the "cigar-man" desecrated the Oval office.

    Get a grip, this is a no-news issue.

    January 14, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. mike

    So, the guy misleads the country into war, hundreds of thousands are killed, he authorizes torture and this is the best our democracy can do. Its sad and pathetic. I thought democracy was suppose to empower the people, but of course Bush is beyond our power. This makes me sick!

    January 14, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. skip

    To joe kirby and Mike Mundy anyone else still angry over the election results:

    Like it or not, in six days we will see Barack Obama take the oath of office and become the 44th President of the United States.

    As a wise man once said, sometimes you can't control the situation — all you can control is your attitude toward it.

    Even if you did not vote for Obama, and even if you wish anyone else but him were becoming president next week, we all need to unite as Americans to work our way out of the economic crisis we are in.

    Anger and bitterness from those who opposed Obama — or smugness and arrogance from those who supported him — will only keep us mired in the misery we all want to escape.

    January 14, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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