White House Fights To Avoid Backing Up Their Computers
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|The White House has three days to explain why it shouldn't be required to copy its computer hard drives to ensure no further e-mails are lost, a federal judge ordered Tuesday.
Already, e-mails between March and October 2003 appear to have been lost, Judge John M. Facciola noted, because they were improperly archived and no backup copies exist. That period includes the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
E-mails by White House staff are considered part of the nation's historical record, and federal law requires they be preserved. The White House has admitted that potentially millions of e-mails from the past eight years have been erased, although it has provided conflicting accounts on how many may still exist on backup tapes, though it has since said it believes "all or substantially all" e-mails are available on backup tapes.
The order, issued Tuesday morning by a federal magistrate judge in Washington, D.C., comes in a case brought against the Bush administration by the National Security Archive, a nonpartisan group affiliated with George Washington University.
The group filed suit in September 2007, seeking to force the White House to restore missing e-mails and institute an adequate archiving system.