White House E-mail Archiving Plan Revealed
Obama Administration Describes System Put in Place to Prevent Loss of White House E-mails
For more information contact:
Meredith Fuchs - 202/994-7000
Washington, DC, January 15, 2010 - Pursuant to a settlement reached between the National Security Archive and the White House Executive Office of the President (EOP), the White House today issued a letter describing critical aspects of the EOP unclassified network e-mail preservation and archiving system now used in the White House. Among other specifics, the letter describes:
- Automated capture and preservation of all e-mail and Blackberry messages sent or received on the EOP’s unclassified network;
- Documents segregated into component-specific repositories and broad search capabilities that improve the ability to find e-mail records in response to legal or administrative needs;
- Blocking of access to personal and external Web-based e-mail systems from White House unclassified workstations;
- Controls against unauthorized deletion of e-mails and an accounting of any deleted e-mails;
- Systematic emergency recovery backups of the system; and
- Automatically generated audit reports and system health-check dashboard reports to assist in the identification of problems.
“The system automatically addresses the critical components of capture, backup, and preservation – all of which were missing in the prior system,” explained Al Lakhani, Managing Director at Alvrez & Marsal Dispute Analysis and Forensic Services, who acted as the Archive’s technical expert during the litigation.
Kristen A. Lejnieks, counsel for the Archive from Jones Day commented: “While the Archive continues to urge the White House to upgrade its system by adding new and better protections against unanticipated problems, the system now in place includes controls and automated reporting that will quickly bring unauthorized actions to light for investigation. We can be much more confident than before that, even if an unauthorized deletion of e-mails could take place, it would be detected by a range of people within the EOP.”
“The White House appears to be approaching its record preservation obligations with greater conscientiousness than during the last administration,” stated Meredith Fuchs, the Archive’s General Counsel.
The letter released today was transmitted as agreed under a settlement of two consolidated lawsuits that were separately filed by the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) after it was disclosed in April 2007 that the White House had ceased archiving its e-mails in 2003.