According to the AP The National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington are claiming they have located 22 million emails that were previously missing.
The groups say the emails were mislabelled and presumed lost. There isn't much else to report at this time, but it looks like we will gain a little more insight into the inner workings of the Bush White House. Who knows what might be lurking in 22 million emails?
I'll update as more information becomes available.
Update: CREW has issued a statement
Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the National Security Archive (NSA) reached a final settlement of their long-running lawsuits challenging the failure of the Bush White House and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to take any action after confronted with evidence that millions of emails had gone missing from Bush White House servers over a two and one-half year period. The lawsuits followed CREW’s revelation in April 2008 that the White House had discovered the problem in the fall of 2005. Nevertheless, the Bush White House failed to recover or restore the missing emails and knowingly continued to use a broken system for preserving electronic records.
Documents produced so far show the Bush White House was lying when officials claimed no emails were ever missing. The record now proves incontrovertibly that Bush administration officials deliberately ignored the problem and, in fact, knowingly allowed it to worsen. Some questions remain unanswered. Why, after the Office of Administration told then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers about the problem and presented her with a plan to restore the emails, did she do nothing? Why did the White House abandon -- at the last minute -- a system it had developed to manage and preserve electronic records, despite having spent millions to create it? Did the Bush White House properly respond to requests for records from the Department of Justice and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald during the investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s covert CIA identity?
Update 3: H/T to Jimstaro! The National Security Archive issues statement:
The National Security Archive (the Archive), Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the White House and the National Archives and Records Administratioeren (NARA) today entered into an agreement setting forth general principles that will resolve the missing White House e-mail lawsuit filed first by the Archive in September 2007.
"We commend the Obama Administration for making a strong effort to clean up the electronic data mess left behind by the prior administration," commented Sheila Shadmand, counsel for the Archive.
"We now know that many poor choices were made during the Bush Administration and there was little concern about the availability of e-mail records despite the fact that they were contending with regular subpoenas for records and had a legal obligation to preserve their records for the nation's long term historical memory," explained Meredith Fuchs, the Archive's General Counsel.
"We have done our best in this case to maximize the number of e-mails that have been found or reconstructed from disaster recovery backup tapes," explained Kristen Lejnieks, counsel for the Archive. "The government can now can find and search over 22 million more e-mails than they could in late 2005. They also will restore 94 calendar days from backup tapes. We certainly hope that many major gaps in the record have been filled."
Did Patrick Fitzgerald ever actually close his investigation into the Plame outing? I imagine he might want to review a few of these emails.
Update 3: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. weighs in:
The Bush administration had been dismissive of congressional requests that the administration recover the e-mails. Leahy said it was "another example of the Bush administration's reflexive resistance to congressional oversight and the public's right to know."
Reflexive resistance? Now there's an understatement!