The Case of the Missing White House Emails
It's no surprise when a big federal IT project drags on forever and fails to work as promised.
In the case of the White House email system, vital records have been lost, and with them insight into key chapters of American history.
From Laton McCartney's detailed look at the saga, which dates back to the Clinton years:
[T]he Executive Office of the President seemingly hasn't had a reliable system for preserving emails, despite the best efforts of three CIOs, numerous contractors and around $70 million expenditures. In the interim, an estimated 5 million White House emails have been lost, many of them reportedly dealing with sensitive political issues. Is this the result of a widespread attempt by the Bush administration to leave no electronic fingerprint behind, the fallout stemming from a series of IT missteps, political infighting and technical ineptitude, or perhaps some combination of the two?
A sense of the implications: "[A]ccording to documents later obtained by the Oversight Committee, the journaling archive contained not a single email from the OVP from September 30, 2003, to October 6, 2003, which coincided exactly with the opening days of the Justice Department's investigation of the Plame affair. The OVP backup tapes also contained no PST files or journalized emails emanating from or to Cheney's office during that period."
Some people suspect chicanery, although others say it was just business as usual for an IT-challenged government.