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21 februari 2009

Obama Justice Department Misses Opportunity for Transparency

Stays the Course in Defense of Archive Suit About Lost Bush White House E-mail

Archive Opposes Government Motion that Shows E-Mail Restoration Still Is Not Complete, Three Years After Independent Counsel Exposed Missing Cheney E-Mail

The Justice Department this week missed the opportunity to bring transparency to the controversy over deleted White House e-mail from the Bush administration by allowing briefing to continue on a motion that had been developed by the Bush Administration.

The motion, filed by the Justice Department on January 21, just after the inauguration, sought to dismiss the White House e-mail litigation even while admitting that a secretive restoration process was still not finished. Today the Archive responded to that motion.

"We had hoped the new administration would give a hard look at whether to allow the defense of the Bush Administration's loss of millions of White House e-mails to proceed on its current course," commented Sheila Shadmand, a Jones Day partner and counsel for the Archive. "This second motion to dismiss is similar to the one the court already denied months ago -- and it admits they have not even completed the restoration project they apparently have been conducting under wraps."

The Archive's Director, Tom Blanton, commented, "President Obama on Day One ordered the government to become more transparent, but the Justice Department apparently never got the message, and that same day tried to dismiss the very litigation that has brought some accountability to the White House e-mail system. Justice could have pulled back from that first misstep but they have not. The White House e-mail presents a high-level test of the new Obama openness policies, and so far, the grade is at best an incomplete."

Visit the Web site of the National Security Archive for more information.
(bron: NSA)