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Chronology of events in the White House e-mail lawsuits

Previous postings

December 14, 2009
National Security Archive and White House Reach Agreement for Restoration of Missing Bush White House E-mails

April 14, 2009
White House Agrees to Share Information in an Effort to Resolve Archive's E-mail Lawsuit

February 21, 2009
Obama Justice Department Misses Opportunity for Transparency

January 15, 2009
White House e-mail in "true emergency conditions"

January 14, 2009
White House admits it has not recovered files from computer workstations or collected external computer storage media that may contain missing e-mails

November 10, 2008
Court Rejects White House on Missing E-mails

July 29, 2008
Magistrate Judge Affirms Recommendation that Court Order White House to Preserve E-mails on Workstations and Portable Media

May 6, 2008
White House Backups are Incomplete, May Not Contain Some Missing E-mails

April 24, 2008
Court Sets Deadline for White House Answers on Missing E-mail

April 17, 2008
Ruling on Preservation of White House E-Mails Awaited; New Law Proposed to Address Destruction of Electronic Records

March 18, 2008
Court orders White House to show cause why it should not create forensic copies of all electronic media

February 26, 2008
White House Ignored Repeated Warnings That E-mails Were at Risk

January 16, 2008
White House Admits No Back-Up Tapes for E-mail Before October 2003

January 8, 2008
White House Must Answer Questions About Missing White House E-mails, Magistrate Judge Rules

December 14, 2007
Archive Argues Against Government Attempt to Dismiss White House E-mail Lawsuit

November 13, 2007
Judge Orders Executive Office of the President to Preserve E-mail Back-Up Tape

October 29, 2007
Archive seeks to discover true extent of missing e-mails at White House

September 5, 2007
Archive Sues to Recover 5 Million Missing White House E-mails

 

 

White House E-mail Archiving Plan Revealed

Obama Administration Describes System Put in Place to Prevent Loss of White House E-mails

For more information contact:
Meredith Fuchs - 202/994-7000

Washington, DC, January 15, 2010 - Pursuant to a settlement reached between the National Security Archive and the White House Executive Office of the President (EOP), the White House today issued a letter describing critical aspects of the EOP unclassified network e-mail preservation and archiving system now used in the White House. Among other specifics, the letter describes:

  • Automated capture and preservation of all e-mail and Blackberry messages sent or received on the EOP’s unclassified network;
  • Documents segregated into component-specific repositories and broad search capabilities that improve the ability to find e-mail records in response to legal or administrative needs;
  • Blocking of access to personal and external Web-based e-mail systems from White House unclassified workstations;
  • Controls against unauthorized deletion of e-mails and an accounting of any deleted e-mails;
  • Systematic emergency recovery backups of the system; and
  • Automatically generated audit reports and system health-check dashboard reports to assist in the identification of problems.

“The system automatically addresses the critical components of capture, backup, and preservation – all of which were missing in the prior system,” explained Al Lakhani, Managing Director at Alvrez & Marsal Dispute Analysis and Forensic Services, who acted as the Archive’s technical expert during the litigation.

Kristen A. Lejnieks, counsel for the Archive from Jones Day commented: “While the Archive continues to urge the White House to upgrade its system by adding new and better protections against unanticipated problems, the system now in place includes controls and automated reporting that will quickly bring unauthorized actions to light for investigation. We can be much more confident than before that, even if an unauthorized deletion of e-mails could take place, it would be detected by a range of people within the EOP.”

“The White House appears to be approaching its record preservation obligations with greater conscientiousness than during the last administration,” stated Meredith Fuchs, the Archive’s General Counsel.

The letter released today was transmitted as agreed under a settlement of two consolidated lawsuits that were separately filed by the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) after it was disclosed in April 2007 that the White House had ceased archiving its e-mails in 2003.

 

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