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. Salt & Pepper

    This should always be done should it not?

    January 14, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. No, Tacoma, WA

    By the time they 'see' these documents and emails, they will have been gone threw. Sifted of all the speculation and proof of idiocracy. This is what happens when you give someone with Parental power... power of his own. I'm still wondering how those 2 got re-elected. Probably the same reason the Patriots were so 'awesome' after 9/11

    January 14, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. still searching for constitutional equality

    if the president does it, then its not against the law


    so.. if the emails are missing, will we know, and if so, what are the courts going to do about it,,, i want to know what the consequences will be for the re-writers of the constitution.

    January 14, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. Chris in Va.

    @ Joe Kirby......you forgot he's a Muslim who sat in a Christian church for 20 tears, genius.

    Did Rush and Hannity starch your brain when they returned it from being washed?

    January 14, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. monica in seattle

    Haha Ernie 🙂 I'm not worried...unlike our last prez, Obama will uphold the constitution! 'specially the 'right to bear arms'! And, to throw in an extra, maybe even the right to arm bears!

    January 14, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. Peter (CA)

    Herman @ 3:44-

    This is rich...the White House e-mails are going to indict Democratic members of Congress? Wow, right wing delusions are getting more and more out there.

    In regards to power-when one branch (the executive) is driven completely by one party and one ideology, it can be pretty powerful as we have seen the unchecked power and corruption of the last 8 years.
    The legislative branch is usually not powerful because the balance of power is so close and one side can pretty effectively shut down the other. Let's see what happens in the next two years before the are any declarations.

    January 14, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. Darth Vadik, CA

    WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!,

    kind of like all we heard from the right pundits that these last 8 years have been Clintons fault?

    January 14, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. still searching for constitutional equality

    Mike Mundy, Houston, TX January 14th, 2009 3:45 pm ET

    All of you lefties are a bunch of speculators and conspiracy theorists of this administration. What you should be concerned with is Obama's reasoning with wanting to meet with Hamas, who want Israel wiped out and convert the world to Islam!

    Perhaps some of you smelly and fat coffee shop nerds should close your laptops, put down the glazed cake donut, take a shower for once in over 2 weeks and clean up your acts!

    hey mike mundy from texas, so why are so concerned with israel, could it be some sort of religious thing,, God looks with favor upon those who look with favor upon Israel.... i am sooooooooo glad, that you and so many other of my fellow countrymen are willing to give more money to Israel than anyone else for religious reasons.... gee thanks, its not like i could have used my own tax dollars for my own purposes, but people like you who feel you have a religious obligation to israel, have given the okay to give all of our money to one tiny little country.. thanks alot, now why dont you take your bush blinders off and realize you support a corrupt administration who serves their own agenda and only theirs...

    take a shower and wash that bush filth off, you stink

    January 14, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. Mari

    That's a BIG win for JUSTICE! Question is WHAT ARE THEY HIDING?

    What the far-right-nuts posting here do not get, understand, comprehend is that BUSH & CHENEY ARE GUILTY of TORTURING, and CAN be brought to trial at the Hague for war crimes! You people of the far-right can continue to live in denial and reject the TRUTH. That's why the courts had to force them to keep the emails. Of course, wink.... wink..... we ALL know that the Bushies deleted, shredded and otherwise got rid of evidence that would condemn them!

    January 14, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Anthony

    I wonder if the judge was a democratic operative. I did not notice CNN labeling the judge one way or the other. They normally do that so that everyone knows if the possibility of bias exists. Well they report if it helps a liberal, but not when it’s a conservative. But since they did not, here are some facts. He was a political appointment by Clinton in 1997. Additionally he is also African American, not that it matters, but since African Americans vote 91% democrat the chances of him being biased are very strong.

    I am confident that in another four years the Republicans will do the same to Obama. You know payback is a spiteful thing that democrats seem to have mastered with the help of left leaning media organization like CNN helping them every step of the way.

    But I digress; I hope the lawyers make a fortune off this from the hate filled lefties that will never end their hated of anyone conservative. They deserve to know if all their hair brained lies have any credibility. You know like Pelosi's statement that “Bush secretly has Bin Laden in jail and is going to bring him out just in time to win elections." What an idiot she is, and you Democrats believed her Ha Ha Ha. Not that it is unusual for a left wing nut to believe any lie and conspiracy theory out there that tarnishes conservatives.

    And I bet dollars to donuts that they will run an update often to keep you lefties happy, unless they find nothing then you will never hear the truth. Its only news if it hurts conservatives at CNN. Actually that should be their moto.

    January 14, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Anthony Ravenell

    We all know that the Bush administration had done illegal acts. We don't need another lengthy fact finding mission only to find them guilty. President Bush knows that his legacy is tainted and history not the courts has judged him as a failure despite what he thinks about himself. Let him go to Texas and be remembered as the "Worst President In Our Nation's History".

    January 14, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Darth Vadik, CA

    Did anybody ever find out why Rush Limbaugh had a bottle of Viagra when he went to Honduras to play golf?

    Last time I checked, Viagra and golf don't mix.

    January 14, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Tonya

    I was watching CNN early and I saw Osama Bin Laden making a video tape, walking around he looks healthier than a horse, if anyone can answer this question for me please feel free to do so...

    Why we haven't caught this man yet? he is walking around making a video like he is on MTV giving shouts out and everything, they can find a man that haven't paid his child support but they can't find Bin Laden , I think we should call Joey Greco the man from cheaters he can find anybody.........

    January 14, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. double standard

    Wow. I really feel for some of you . You have had it so hard the past 8 years living under this ruthless dictator. So many of you have suffered greatly and have gone without. I'm sure glad i live in the good old USA instead of where you all have been living

    January 14, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. malclave

    Considering that Obama is committed to have the most opaque presidency in history, and has already repeatedly demonstrated his disdain for the Bill of Rights, who cares?

    January 14, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Roger

    Well... Its a lot easier to break something like Bush did than to fix it, which Obama, with our help, will do in about 7 years-

    January 14, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  17. j'bo

    Exactly what rights have you lost? Be specific. For all you liberals, that means no hazy, spurilous, vitriolic comments. Give me one fact if you can

    January 14, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. LB

    Half of you think Bush was a disaster as Prez. OK, you can state that, but how about backing it up with real facts??? Of coursrte he made mistakes, but taking out Saddam was not one of them! DUH! We will see how much "change " is really done. This idiot you elected hasn't proved anythiung yet. He seems to be all too eager to hand out money we DON'T have. Also, since my income is nearly 100k for the household, I am sure I will be deemed "wealthy" and thus responsible to support the less fortunate. BAH!!!!!!

    January 14, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  19. jennifer, Houston

    Bush and his band of badies have shown no respect for the Constitution so I'm sure they will have no respect for the orders of a mere judge.

    On January 20 "the heavens and angels will sing."

    January 14, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. PA

    I bet the next Headline Reads – Emails Destroyed Because.........
    or As We Said Previously They Were Destroyed........or Maybe.......
    Cheney's Emails are Under Executive Privlidge ... And then during the firing of staff issue they lost how many hundreds/thousands... what are the odds they could preserve anything – Image comes to mind!

    January 14, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. GP

    These emails are covered under the Hatch Act. That there is even any debate as to whether or not they should be preserved is something that would take place in a banana republic, not America.

    January 14, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  22. MikQuick

    Make sure they preserve Cheney's too! Tho I would not recommend it be available to just anyone – it takes a special kind of person to look at what evil likely lurks in his "sent items" and not be affected...and no GW not your kind of "special".

    January 14, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. Systems Guy

    All this information must be on some server backup tape that is housed in the salt mine for safekeeping. They need to talk to the database and server support staff to find out where it is kept. Every competent data center saves the backup tapes for disaster recovery.

    January 14, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. Nic - San Francisco

    I just hope some of this administration is prosecuted for its crimes! Honestly!

    January 14, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  25. Give me a break!

    LB – it was BUSH who handed out all the money to the banks and auto industry. What have we seen for that generosity? NOTHING! To call PE Obama an idiot just shows your lack of knowledge. He is inheriting a MESS – we'll be lucky if he and Congress are able to do something to help us all – yes, even you! Idiot,

    January 14, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
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