Looking For Missing Bush E-Mails? How About 22 Million? : It's All Politics Those missing 22 million White House e-mails that were presumed lost during the Bush administration? They may not be lost after all.
NPR logo Looking For Missing Bush E-Mails? How About 22 Million?

Looking For Missing Bush E-Mails? How About 22 Million?

Remember that controversy during the Bush years over White House e-mails that seemed to have gotten lost?

They're back. All 22 million of them.

Two private organizations — the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — report that computer technicians have found 22 million e-mails presumed missing. The discovery of the e-mails is the (apparent) final piece of a process that began in September of 2007, when the aforementioned Archive sued the Bush administration to recover them. E-mail subjects presumably include the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA employee, and the firings of U.S. attorneys, and what role, if any, then-White House political aide Karl Rove may have played.

Here's the latest from the Archive.

No news yet on when the e-mails' contents will be released.

UPDATE: An e-mail response from Scott Stanzel, who was the deputy press secretary to President Bush. He says the finding of the e-mails is a "deeply technical issue and is not one that suits accusatory & sweeping generalizations, which CREW [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] consistently tries to get reporters like yourself to engage in." More from Scott:

The liberal group CREW litigates for sport, distorts the facts and has consistently tried to create a spooky conspiracy out of standard IT issues. Their misleading statements about our work demonstrates their continued anti-Bush agenda, nearly a year after a new President was sworn in.

The 22 million number claimed by these liberal groups refers entirely to emails identified and recovered by the Bush Administration prior to January 20, 2009.

The 94 days of emails to be recovered from tapes (referred to by CREW) consists of 61 calendar days of recovery already directed in the Bush-era and an additional 33 days of recovery that the Obama White House has agreed to recover as part of the settlement of the lawsuit. Those 33 days represent statistically "low" days from Bush-era analysis. Material recovered from those days will then have to be de-duplicated against the existing electronic archive for those days in order to see whether anything from those 33 days has been improperly archived, or "missing" as CREW would say.

As a refresher, we always indicated that there is an email archiving system and a disaster recovery system. We also indicated that emails not properly archived could be found on disaster recovery tapes. There is a big, big difference between something not being properly archived and it being "lost" or "missing," as CREW would say.