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Wednesday 07 May 2008
A late-night court filing by the White House on Monday revealed that official administration emails about the run up to the invasion of Iraq and the initial occupation may never be recovered.
Whistleblowers have accused the White House of destroying email records from their internal servers. The Bush administration disputes this accusation, claiming instead that many emails were stored incorrectly. The storage system came under harsh criticism from former employees who called it "primitive" and said it had deep security flaws that would inevitably lead to destruction of records. In September 2002, the Bush administration dismantled the Automatic Records Management System (ARMS) put in place by the Clinton administration and never replaced it.
This time period is perhaps the most historically significant of the entire Bush administration. It includes the run up to the invasion of Iraq, diplomatic jockeying to try and rally United Nations support for war, the possible planning for retaliation against former diplomat Joe Wilson, who was accusing the administration of lying about Iraq weapons of mass destruction claims, the use of harsh interrogations in the so-called "War on Terror", as well as the formation of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) - the ruling body in Iraq after the invasion - and the controversial policy decisions the CPA undertook.
Presidents are responsible for preserving all historical records during their time in office under the Presidential Records Act. Congress is conducting an investigation into possible violations of this act, including the destruction of at least ten million White House email records.