Justice should allow for efforts to recover missing Bush White House email

Common Cause on Tuesday criticized the US Department of Justice for its efforts to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to recover potentially millions of missing emails from the Bush White House sent during critical times for that Administration.

“It is surprising that the Justice Department, under a President who ran on the issues of change and transparency, would stand in the way of efforts to recover email that could provide a clearer picture about what was going on inside the White House during some critical moments for that Administration,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar.

The missing emails are reportedly from time periods which include the start of the Iraq War, the Valerie Plame leak investigation and the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina. “The American people are still living with the consequences of these events, and it’s important to have this record,” Edgar said.

Two advocacy groups, Citizens for the Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and George Washington University’s National Security Archive, sued the government to recover email missing from at least some of 473 days of Bush’s eight-year presidency. The groups said the Bush Administration violated the Federal Records Act by not recovering, restoring and preserving the email and failed to establish an electronic records management system in compliance with the law.

On President Obama’s first full day in office, the Justice Department filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that Bush’s e-mail restore recovery efforts were sufficient.