The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Peter Bjork // 202.408.5565

NARA Still in the Dark on Bush's Electronic Records


Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) obtained a copy of a contingency plan prepared by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) concerning the presidential electronic records that the White House will be transferring to NARA at the end of the Bush administration.

Despite the fact that we are now less than two months away from the transition, the plan contains no deadlines or key dates. Moreover, while the plan notes significant risks associated with the transfer of the Bush records to NARA and the "unique challenges" the transition presents, NARA is still in the testing phase and has yet to come up with any firm strategies. At bottom, the contingency plan is a plea to trust NARA to come up with still-to-be determined solutions in some unidentified time-frame.

While NARA expresses "confidence" it can deal with all incoming Bush emails, the agency notes its timing is dependent upon "the completion of any ongoing restoration project for the MS Exchange emails undertaken by the EOP," an apparent reference to the millions of email missing from White House servers. NARA's plan does not indicate whether and to what extent the White House has taken any steps to restore the missing email and the White House has been silent on the subject.

CREW Chief Counsel Anne Weismann stated, "As CREW has long warned and NARA now has confirmed, the American people are at risk of losing the Bush administration's electronic records." Weismann continued, "It is appalling that less than two months before the administration ends, the agency entrusted with preserving our nation's historical records still has very little information about what records it will be receiving. True to form, the White House is keeping both NARA and the public in the dark up to the very end."

Read NARA's contingency plan in the Related Documents section

Related Documents

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.