Presidential Records Act
What are the impacts of the government using social networks and other commercial services to communicate with the public and for internal communications? What are the impacts of what is recorded at all when staff knows that their words will be publicly available later? These and other issues are covered in a fascinating overview of the Presidential Records Act:
- Why Did the Bush White House Copy and Print Every Email It Received? It's a Long Story, By Nneoma Amadi-obi, History News Network (Jan. 4, 2010).
There are interesting and informed comments to this article, including two (so far) by the always insightful Maarja Krusten, who worked for years in NARA's Office of Presidential Libraries.
looky what we have here. Computer technicians have found 22 million (yes *million*!) missing e-mail from the bush White House. Back in May, 2008, the number of missing e-mail was 5 million. We'll continue to track this issue.
UPDATE 12/15/09: National Security Archive has more background and context.
Meredith Fuchs, general counsel to the National Security Archive, said "many poor choices were made during the Bush administration and there was little concern about the availability of e-mail records despite the fact that they were contending with regular subpoenas for records and had a legal obligation to preserve their records."
"We may never discover the full story of what happened here," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director. "It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved."
Sloan said the latest count of misplaced e-mails "gives us confirmation that the Bush administration lied when they said no e-mails were missing."
This past Saturday, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered Dick Cheney to preserve all vice presidential records--huzzah! Read more about the case below:
- news story about the case
- Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's memorandum opinion
- the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), who filed the lawsuit
- more about the Presidential Records Act
Thanks again to Rebecca Blakeley to alerting me about this story!
Despite a huge DOJ documents dump to the Committee on the Judiciary concerning the US Attorney firings, it's come to light that the White House is now abstaining from using the official White House email system. Crooks and Liars has more and points out that this subverts the Presidential Records Act which mandates thorough record-keeping, and ironically, as Josh Marshall has pointed out, means that much of this "official" communication can not be shielded by executive privilege. Read on...