The White House's "Archiving Problem"

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The White House's "Archiving Problem"

According to this AP story:
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is raising the possibility that records sought in the CIA leak investigation could be missing because of an e-mail archiving problem at the White House.

The prosecutor in the criminal case against Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff (Scooter Libby) said in a Jan. 23 letter that not all e-mail was archived in 2003, the year the Bush administration exposed the identity of undercover CIA officer
Valerie Plame.

... in a letter to the defense team (of Scooter Libby, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wrote): "In an abundance of caution, we advise you that we have learned that not all e-mail of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system."

... Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, said the vice president's office is cooperating fully with the investigation, and referred questions to Fitzgerald's office.

... The Presidential Records Act, passed by Congress in 1978, made it clear that records generated in the conduct of official duties did not belong to the president or vice president, but were the property of the government. The National Archives takes custody of the records when the president leaves office.

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