Court tells White House how to restore e-mail

Court tells White House how to restore e-mail

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth last week laid out steps that the White House must follow to reconstruct e-mail messages not backed up on the Executive Office of the President's Automated Records Management System.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the search for the e-mail in a ruling in the case of Cara Leslie Alexander et al. vs. FBI et al.

Judicial Watch, a conservative public-interest law firm, is representing the plaintiffs in a class-action suit filed by White House employees of the Bush and Reagan administrations who allege their FBI files were wrongfully accessed by the Clinton administration.

The White House and the FBI are being sued under the federal Privacy Act. Individual defendants Bernard Nussbaum, former White House counsel, and former aides Craig Livingstone and Anthony Marceca are being sued for invasion of privacy.

Three weeks

The court learned during a July 31 hearing that the administration could restore the e-mail from 20 to 25 backup tapes of raw data and load them into an electronically searchable database within 12 days, Lamberth wrote in the order.

Within 21 days, the White House must electronically search its backup tapes and create a database of files for users identified by the court in two previous orders demanding that the administration provide copies of the e-mail.

Lamberth ordered the White House to report any computer problems to the court immediately.

The administration also must notify the court if it can not reconstruct files from the backup tapes within the 21-day deadline or if the electronic search yields a greater number of hits than can be practicably reviewed and produced within the deadline.

The White House must report problems and instances of unreadable data to the court so it can designate other tapes to reconstruct.

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