In 2007, two Washington, D.C. watchdog groups sued the White House for
the release of millions of official emails that went mysteriously
missing under President George W. Bush. Now, the White House has agreed to release
the emails. The emails run from 2003 to 2005, covering some of Bush's
biggest scandals and decisions, from the outing of CIA official Valerie Plame to the early days of the Iraq War. The deal will not see all emails from
that period restored, but only those from 94 specific dates, some of
which were chosen at random. The Washington Post reports that this is
because restoring the emails from old backup tapes is an expensive and
time-consuming process. They will not be available to the public until
2014 or later.
- What Will We Learn of Plamegate? Marcy Wheeler notes this "includes almost all of the most suspect dates when email was missing,
most notably the period (between September 29 and October 7, 2003) when
Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby were working on a cover story in Jackson
Hole. This is the period, remember, when Libby told Cheney the story he
was going to tell the FBI-that he had learned of Plame's identity from
Tim Russert, not from Cheney himself." She wants to see more released, "But this is a start, at least."
- When They'll Be Released Talking Points Memo's Zachary Roth says
it could be as late as 2022. "[U]nder the Presidential Records Act,
they won't be made public for five years. But President Bush has broad
to direct the Archives to keep them secret for an additional seven
years -- indeed, he may already have done so. Given the former
president's record on issues of openness and transparency, it's a good
bet he'll opt to do so," he writes. But any emails that are designated
as "federal" rather than "presidential" could be released in as little
as three years.
- The Tech Behind The Emails TechPresident's Nancy Scola explains. Under review are the "emails that the Bush White House neglected to archive during
the time it made a switch from a Lotus Notes e-mail system to a
Microsoft Exchange system. The wobbly Clinton-era archiving technology
that the Bush White House had in place wasn't, as it turned out,
capable of automatically handling Exchange's .pst files. But the White
House moved to the new system anyway. Under the arrangement reached
yesterday, the Obama White House will focus on using backup tapes to
restore emails from 94 calendar days identified by participants in the
talks as unrepresented or underrepresented in the archives currently
- How Many Emails a Day Is That? Gawker's Adrian Chen crunches the numbers,
dividing by the number of days covered and the number of staffers
involved. "So, we can make a rough estimate that each Bush staffer
generated around a thousand emails per day--give
or take a few hundred. Keep in mind this includes emails sent and
received (and maybe a bunch of unwanted spam, too). But still, that's a
lot of 'You know you're a Liberal if...' forwarded emails."
- 'Probably in Alberto Gonzales' Pants' So says Wonkette's Ken Layne. "Some do-gooder group or another sued the White House for access to
these obviously incriminating records of daily operations under
Bush/Cheney, and whaddya know, 22 million emails were suddenly found,
probably on a thumb drive in Alberto Gonzales' anus, just like in that William Gibson
story. Once cleansed by technicians at the National Archives, all
references to plotting and perpetuating 9/11, Iraq, Katrina and the
assassination of Dumbledore will be removed."
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