The National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington won a major battle Monday in their efforts to recover missing White House e-mail messages.
A federal court denied the Bush administration’s motion to dismiss the groups’ lawsuit. The two groups are seeking a court order, under the Presidential Records Act and Federal Records Act, saying the White House has to restore thousands of e-mail messages that were improperly archived.
The precise number of missing messages is unknown, but there is a significant gap in the White House e-mail archives between 2003 and 2005.
Judge Henry Kennedy held that the two groups have the right to sue for these records and the court, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, can review presidential record-keeping practices.
National Security Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs said in a press release, “Through this lawsuit we have preserved over 65,000 computer backup tapes. This decision means those tapes will survive the end of the Bush Administration so that Congress, the courts, and eventually the public will be able to learn about the decision-making that took place over the last 8 years.”