George W. Bush’s Lost Emails

by on April 30, 2008 · 9 comments

Over at Ars, I have an in-depth look at the White House’s email troubles. The administration is either spectacularly incompetent or going out of its way to avoid complying with the law:

When the Bush administration took office, it decided to replace the Lotus Notes-based e-mail system used under the Clinton Administration with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange. The transition broke compatibility with the old archiving system, and the White House IT shop did not immediately have a new one to put in its place.

Instead, the White House has instituted a comically primitive system called “journaling,” in which (to quote from a recent Congressional report) “a White House staffer or contractor would collect from a ‘journal’ e-mail folder in the Microsoft Exchange system copies of e-mails sent and received by White House employees.” These would be manually named and saved as “.pst” files on White House servers…

These deficiencies were repeatedly brought to the attention of White House systems administrators. In 2002 and 2003, they attempted to retrofit the old, Lotus Notes—based archiving system to work with the new Exchange-based email system. When this effort failed, they awarded a contract to Booz Allen Hamilton to design a new system, and to Unisys to implement it. According to McDevitt, the new system was set up and configured during 2005 and was “ready to go live” in August 2006. But the White House CIO, Theresa Payton, reportedly aborted the project in late 2006, citing perceived inadequacies with the system’s performance and its ability segregate official presidential correspondence from political or personal materials. McDervitt resigned in protest soon afterwards.

Payton claims that the White House is working on yet another archiving system. But until it’s completed—and it’s now looking increasingly unlikely that it will be operational before the end of the administration—the White House will lack an automated system for complying with the requirements of federal law.

  • dimitris

    The administration is either spectacularly incompetent or going out of its way to avoid complying with the law

    Both?

  • dimitris

    The administration is either spectacularly incompetent or going out of its way to avoid complying with the law

    Both?

  • andrewwang

    Speaking of George W. Bush:

    George W. Bush committed hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism (indicated in my blog).

    George W. Bush did in fact commit innumerable hate crimes.

    And I do solemnly swear by Almighty God that George W. Bush committed other hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism which I am not at liberty to mention.

    Many people know what Bush did.

    And many people will know what Bush did—even to the end of the world.

    Bush was absolute evil.

    Bush is now like a fugitive from justice.

    Bush is a psychological prisoner.

    Bush has a lot to worry about.

    Bush can technically be prosecuted for hate crimes at any time.

    In any case, Bush will go down in history in infamy.

    Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang
    B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
    Messiah College, Grantham, PA
    Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

    “GEORGE W. BUSH IS THE WORST PRESIDENT IN U.S. HISTORY” BLOG OF ANDREW YU-JEN WANG
    ______________________
    I am not sure where I had read it before, but anyway, it is a linguistically excellent statement, and it goes kind of like this: “If only it were possible to ban invention that bottled up memory so it never got stale and faded.” Oh wait—off the top of my head—I think the quotation came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.

  • andrewwang

    Speaking of George W. Bush:

    George W. Bush committed hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism (indicated in my blog).

    George W. Bush did in fact commit innumerable hate crimes.

    And I do solemnly swear by Almighty God that George W. Bush committed other hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism which I am not at liberty to mention.

    Many people know what Bush did.

    And many people will know what Bush did—even to the end of the world.

    Bush was absolute evil.

    Bush is now like a fugitive from justice.

    Bush is a psychological prisoner.

    Bush has a lot to worry about.

    Bush can technically be prosecuted for hate crimes at any time.

    In any case, Bush will go down in history in infamy.

    Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang
    B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
    Messiah College, Grantham, PA
    Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

    “GEORGE W. BUSH IS THE WORST PRESIDENT IN U.S. HISTORY” BLOG OF ANDREW YU-JEN WANG
    ______________________
    I am not sure where I had read it before, but anyway, it is a linguistically excellent statement, and it goes kind of like this: “If only it were possible to ban invention that bottled up memory so it never got stale and faded.” Oh wait—off the top of my head—I think the quotation came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.

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