For Immediate Release
Meredith Fuchs/Tom Blanton - 202/994-7000
Sheila L. Shadmand [Jones Day] - 202/879-3939
Obama Justice Department Misses Opportunity for Transparency
Stays the Course in Defense of Archive Suit About Lost Bush White House E-mail
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department this week missed the opportunity to bring
transparency to the controversy over deleted White House e-mail from
the Bush administration by allowing briefing to continue on a motion
that had been developed by the Bush Administration.
The motion, filed by the Justice Department on January 21, just after
the inauguration, sought to dismiss the White House e-mail litigation
even while admitting that a secretive restoration process was still not
finished. Today the Archive responded to that motion.
"We had hoped the new administration would give a hard look at whether
to allow the defense of the Bush Administration's loss of millions of
White House e-mails to proceed on its current course," commented Sheila
Shadmand, a Jones Day partner and counsel for the Archive. "This second
motion to dismiss is similar to the one the court already denied months
ago -- and it admits they have not even completed the restoration
project they apparently have been conducting under wraps."
The Archive's Director, Tom Blanton, commented, "President Obama on Day
One ordered the government to become more transparent, but the Justice
Department apparently never got the message, and that same day tried to
dismiss the very litigation that has brought some accountability to the
White House e-mail system. Justice could have pulled back from that
first misstep but they have not. The White House e-mail presents a
high-level test of the new Obama openness policies, and so far, the
grade is at best an incomplete."
Visit the Web site of the National Security Archive for more information.
THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental
research institute and library located at The George Washington
University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes
declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S.
government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties
and donations from foundations and individuals.