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White House: Missing Email Problem Resolved

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WASHINGTON, December 14, 2009 - The White House said Monday that millions of emails from back-up tapes related to at least 33 different days during the Bush Administration have been restored.

“The millions of restored emails will be transferred to the National Archives. They eventually will be made available to historians, students, and the general public under laws providing for the release of such documents from prior administrations,” said Norm Eisen, special counsel to President Obama for ethics and government reform.

The emails have been at the center of a litigation battle dating back to 2005. Eisen said the Office of Administration originally conducted analysis suggesting that millions of emails from the Executive Office of the President, created between March 2003 and October 2005, might be missing.

Approximately two years later, in September 2007, the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed lawsuits against the EOP and the National Archives to reveal the missing emails. “The litigation continued for over a year, and involved numerous motions and other courtroom fights,” according to the White House.

“President Obama made it a priority to resolve this … The White House quickly began discussions with NSA and CREW, and the parties agreed to stay the litigation on March 31, 2009—a temporary pause, in the hopes of working things out,” said Eisen. The Obama official announced Monday that the parties have decided to settle the pending lawsuits.

“The President is firmly committed to ensuring that the records of this Administration—as well as those of all previous administrations—are properly retained and preserved,” said Eisen.

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