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.


3 Comments for "The Case of the Missing White House Emails"

  • Jeff Roe August 21, 2008 6:45 am

    I don't believe these missing emails is intentional. But with the ceaseless "leaks" from opponents to the Bush administration of secure communications and even top secret government documents (in an effort to embarrass the current administration), who could blame them for doing some house cleaning prior to leaving office. This basically shows how low brow our political system has become, and the intense divisions therein. When elected officials think THEY run the country, as they do now, we ALL have a problem. Unfortunately what used to be an honorable (temporary) profession of constituent representation has morphed into a decades long intransigent career path of demagoguery and fiefdoms. Good luck with all of that.

  • Buddesatva August 20, 2008 6:08 pm

    Maybe Missouri's governor can help them out. His staff knows all about deleting email.

  • mgp August 19, 2008 9:38 pm

    Here's what I say....Stop yanking my Cheney, Dick. Anyone who thinks this wasn't intentional should ask The Wizard of Oz for a brain.

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