You’ve Got Mail . . . A Lot of Mail: 22 Million Missing E-Mails From Bush Administration Found

The Bush Administration repeatedly denied that there were missing emails and later insisted that any emails that were missing could not be found. Now, 22 million missing White House e-mails have been found, according to two public interest groups who reached a settlement over the records. I discussed the issue on this segment of MSNBC Countdown.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive deserve considerable credit and accolades for their struggle to uncover the emails. From the outset, the Bush Administration was hostile to efforts to gain transparency and to preserve records. This led to the lawsuit in 2007.

The litigation revealed that the Bush Administration knew about a problem in the computer system that resulted in the loss of millions of records and did nothing to address it. The NSA sued to try to recover 5 million e-mails in 2007 and CREW filed in 2008.

The Bush Administration appeared content to continue to use the broken system which effectively destroyed records that it was required to preserve. Under this agreement —settlement_signed — the government will construct 33 missing days of e-mails.

Here is what the White House said on January 17, 2008 — White House spokesperson Tony Fratto stated:

FRATTO: I think our review of this — and you saw the court filing on this and our declaration and response to the judge’s questions. I think, to the best of what all the analysis we’ve been able to do, we have absolutely no reason to believe that any e-mails are missing.

There’s no evidence of that. There’s no — we tried to reconstruct some of the work that went into a chart that was entered into court records, and could not replicate that, or could not authenticate the correctness of the data in that chart.

And from everything that we can tell, our analysis of our back-up systems, we just — we have no reason to believe that any e-mail, at all, are missing.

Just 22 million e-mails.

The Bush Administration and Justice Department, however, will have achieved its goal of delaying any review of the emails since they will now go to the National Archives and Records Administration for the glacial process of reviewing and documenting the emails. The public will not view the material until 2014 so not only did the Bush Administration avoid direct consequences for the emails but it succeeded in burying the emails for a decade.

The question is the lack of investigation into prior false statements in the case and that fact that two experts were able to find 22 million e-mails that the United States government could not locate for years.

For the full story, click here and here.

33 thoughts on “You’ve Got Mail . . . A Lot of Mail: 22 Million Missing E-Mails From Bush Administration Found”

  1. In high school, our coach would not let us fight bare fisted when we had ‘differences of opinions’. He forced us to put on the boxing gloves and get inside a ring formed of the rest of the group and let the 2 combatants box each other–with rules to ensure fairness–until one guy finally gave up. We had some very interesting wins by the underdog sometimes beating the top tough guy because of the rules.

    Well, Mr. Bush is a year or 2 older than I am, and boy, would I sure like to put the gloves on to see if my frustration with what he did to our great Nation could result in a victory for me.

    Bush will surely go down in history as the most *reviled* president the USA has ever had.

  2. It was a mistake anyone could make. A mere 22 million emails…anyone could have lost that many. It isn’t George or Dick’s fault. The media forced them to lose them. Now, if we can just get the Justice Department to look at them to see what Dick was hiding when Fitzgerald was investigating the Plame outing. I can dream can’t I?

  3. And Nixon just happened to lose 18 & 1/2 minutes of a White House tape. George W. learned from a master.


  4. What will it matter? Will any ACTION be taken with regards the content of these emails, as opposed to what appears to be ALREADY known regarding the previous “Administration”?

  5. LK,

    This is precisely what I believe will happen. The two administrations have worked hand in hand on everything and this will be no different.

  6. Jill: “…miracle of dates and events:

    1. right before invading Afghnanistan
    2. during the revelations at Abu Graib
    3. e-mails from the OVP during the investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame”

    Why do I think that a lot of these emails are going to be withheld as ‘sensitive’ or so heavily redacted that they are useless? That determination will be made jointly by members of the Obama and Bush administrations in accordance with the settlement agreement and current law regarding the release of information by the National Archive, specifically regarding the use of Executive Privilege to block release. I’m not hopeful that anything like the full compliment of emails will be released.

  7. rcampbell,

    I’m surprised that you of all people, will not apologize to Mr. Bush and Mr. Dick because the loss of the e-mail was clearly an accident and you earlier claimed it had been on purpose. I will also expect an apology concerning this issue from rafflaw by tonight. It took two people to find all this e-mail. Mr. Bush and Mr. Dick did not have the funds for hiring two competent people. Shame on you both.

  8. Stel,

    That is hysterical. Thanks for sharing! You should have just addressed it to: undisclosed location. Dick would have sent it along!

  9. And the missing e-mails had surprising dates/events attached to them. Here’s just a few examples of the miracle of dates and events:

    1. right before invading Afghnanistan
    2. during the revelations at Abu Graib
    3. e-mails from the OVP during the investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame

    I personally totally understand how these particular sets of e-mails would be missing because of errors in the system. There was no attempt by the Bush administration to make anything important “disappear”.

  10. “Address Blurred Due To Common Sense And Paranoia”


    That’s a very pleasing color scheme and layout there you have, Stel. Easy on the eye. The snow effect is nice too.

    And on topic . . . excellent. Kinda. If 14 years.

  11. You know StelP that this is going to give rise to an entirely new wingnut splinter movement that believes that the President is secretly living in his home country of Kenya and using holography to give the appearance of being in Washington.

    Great card though, I’d frame that.

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