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. Darth Vadik, CA

    5 and a half days, just five and a half.
    I thought that after I finished bootcamp I was recovering from shock, I'm going to need 40 years of therapy after Bush.
    Oh yes, to all you chickenhawks, it's not a mistake, yours trully, Darth Vadik, was in the Marines for 6 and a half years.

    January 14, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Linda in MS

    Do you ever wonder where the comments you post (always your best) go when you hit Submit and they just disappear?

    January 14, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Va 4 Obama

    This could get VERY interesting, hope those emails are made public and anyone involved in wrong-doing goes to jail. Including Bush & Cheney!!

    Counting the days until this corrupt & inept administration leaves Washington!!

    January 14, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Sailen Barik

    Please stop yelling at each other. The US Constitution mandates that all Presidential records and communications be saved. THAT IS THE LAW. Deletion of E-mails or diverting them via private E-mail accounts is a crime, regardless of the Party affiliation of the Prez.

    January 14, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Tonya

    I am a democrat so you know I didn't vote for Bush, but when he was elected I gave him a chance not for 4 years but for 8 and as soon as a democrat President get elected these MUDD DUCK REPUBLICANS starts screaming Obama is going to fail give the man a chance, I guess your 101 K Plan is looking pretty good right now stop complaining, I sent Bush 300 emails asking if he could lower my health care plan I guess he didn't get it...........make sure you check the draft, sent, & junk mail messages.........

    January 14, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Linda in MS

    Joe... youd better see a doctor real soon. that much anger and rage is going to cause you to have a stroke, buddy.

    January 14, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Smurf

    Scott, January 14th, 2009 4:06 pm ET:

    The already GOT rid of the backup tapes! You must have a bad memory if you already have forgotten the "five million missing emails case" from a few years back.

    They did not delete the tapes, they installed a system that would FAIL to make the backup it was supposed to make but instead delete the originals (and then they used RNC accounts for the real salty stuff). There where hearings and everything in Congress about this, don't you remember?

    January 14, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. J. Hine

    This outgoing administration needs to be accountable for its actions. There have been more of misdeeds in these past 8 years than any other past administrations collectively. I'm very glad the Federal Judge ruled as he did.

    January 14, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. Anubis

    excellent points terry!

    January 14, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. vahe

    ooooooooooooooo yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa get them all please!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 14, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. Chris in Va.

    @ rocky......sir, there is nothing stupid about up-holding the laws of our nation and punishing those guilty of violating those laws.

    January 14, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. ej

    There should have already been a system in place to backup all email from the White House. Obviously this order will be circumvented. National Defense issues are the only ones we don't need to know about. All else should be a matter of published facts. Enough with the corruption in our government. Here's a new motto Americans need to be chanting... "Jail, baby Jail!"

    January 14, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. KenM

    @John: "When will we ever move this country forward instead of backward" I'll tell you when....when the voting electorate take their responsibility seriously....when they can correctly analyse and respond to a situation when they are asked to vote for a person who all his life has shirked duty, gotten other people to take on his responsibilities, failed at every endeavor he ever attempted, only to be bailed out by Daddy's influence and money.....when they can correctly analyse and respond to the situation when by some nation-wide lapse of reason a problem child got into office, only to continue the very same track record of failure that was evident before the first election. Many of us have put up for 8 long years with the abhorrent failure inflicted on this country, twice, by many of its own citizens, knowing from the start that horrible choices were being made. And we have watched over the last 8 years as only so very slowly many finally realized their mistake. We as a country should look back in hopes of learning lessons so we do not repeat failure, and maximize our chance for success, going forward. I think 2000 was an unfortunate example of doing what you propose now, to move forward for the sake of moving forward, without the requisite analysis of the past and what is presently before us. There are some things this country has to hammer out, some evils it has to exorcise, otherwise the stench of [R] failure will be with us for a very long time.

    January 14, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. Matt

    @ Terry

    "The American political dialogue just hit a new low"

    Sorry, Palin still holds that record in light of her consistent mangling of the English language.

    January 14, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. G.R.I.T.S - Girl Raised in the South

    There are a lot of angry, ignorant, frightening neo-cons out on this board today. They all need to get a clue and figure out that the President of the United States of America is NOT above the law, never has been and never will be, and that he or she works for US. This is OUR government and our elected officials are answerable to us. Period. That is why any e-mails of an incriminating nature regarding the firing of US Attorneys, WMDs, etc. must be released. As the CEO of a corporation, you would not allow your employee to embezzle millions of dollars and delete the e-mails that might provide proof. Same here, only we are the CEOs.

    As far as Bush and his WMDs, he acted on faulty intelligence, people make mistakes and sometimes believe the wrong information. However, in this case, the information was provided by individuals and organizations with a definite anti-Saddam slant. Those individuals who encouraged Bush to invade Iraq, regardless of Iraq's lack of involvement in 9/11, were those same individuals who signed the letter sent to Bill Clinton in the 1990s. That letter, from the organization PNAC, requested the removal of Saddam Hussein nearly 10 years before our invasion of Iraq. If Bush had truly considered the source, and truly wanted to make the correct decision, he would have discounted those opinions of the demonstrably rabid coup-mongers. But he didn't and that makes him responsible for an unjust invasion, unjust occupation, and the unjustifiable deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis.

    January 14, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. gl, Pittsburgh

    Oh, yea, Why would they listen now?

    January 14, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. Ernie in LA

    Monica in Seattle, Obama is going to take your handgun from you girl.

    January 14, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. Mike

    Why would anyone want to be President now in America?

    You can't even be a human being! 300 million emails all being viewed by all to see. Wow!

    January 14, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. norma - Wisconsin

    I think the losers (being the Repubs) need to take a 10 year course in truth vs. fiction. I don't recall anyone ever saying that the corruptiveness of the Republican party erases all of the corruptiveness of the Democratic party – which you consistently allude to. If you take every acquaintance, person you attended a meeting with, went to school with, lived next door to, spoke to in the hallway of the Senate Chambers and dissected them for some sinister act they participated in by knowing these people..................who would be left. Those of you who voted twice for Bush, who actually stole his election (which you'll never admit) ought to find it somewhere in your conscious to at least give Mr. Obama a year of his presidency to see if our country won't be in a better place. We gave you 8, and for what?

    January 14, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. lovable liberal

    How can the Bushists preserve what they've already destroyed?

    January 14, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Yusuf

    Jim C, are you serious? Do you really think Saying Obama will be like Clinton is a bad thing when it comes to the Clinton years? The Clinton years were the most prosporous years in American history. More jobs were created than both Bushes combined. Do you really think if we moved away from the disasters that were created by Bush to a Clinton-like economy, that would be a bad thing????? I really really hate people who try to rewrite history. Just because you say stupid things loudly, does not make you right. Let’s say this clear for all of the far right people on this blog, Bush’s presidency can not hold a candle to Clinton’s. The job market blossomed during the Clinton years! Go and read any recent history book and look at the boom years that was the 8 years Clinton was in office. I swear, Republican minded people are hard to figure out. You can watch everyone around you losing jobs and suffering and yet you say, “Obama will destroy this country”. You all are a bunch of nut jobs.

    January 14, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. gloria

    What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then ... we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties - someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal." John F. Kennedy, September 14, 1960

    January 14, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. goosfraba2

    rocky January 14th, 2009 5:18 pm ET
    Too bad we don't have anything better to spend time and money on. Why is it possible for a small group of special interest morons to waste so much of our tax dollars on STUPID stuff.
    Perhaps you've forgotten (or more likely wish to ignore) the waste of taxpayer dollars used to catch Clinton in a bj controversy without any substantial findings by Kenneth Starr pertaining to the "White Water scandal", his initial responsibility. Some where around $76-million tax dollars were wasted for no good reason. To you and your ilk, it's a waste of tax dollars when Republicans are investigated for REAL crimes but not when Democrats are hounded by a lawyer. And don't you guys hate lawyers?

    January 14, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  24. Seth Rowley

    I think that's a good thing i don't know though

    January 14, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!



    January 14, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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