The National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute, filed a lawsuit on Sept. 6th against the White House and others to compel recovery of 5 million electronic messages that apparently went missing from White House computers between March 2003 and October 2005. The complaint is here and along with the National Security Archive’s press release.
The lawsuit also seeks an order requiring the government to replace its previous archival management system, which was abandoned by the White House in 2002, with one that complies with federal law. According to the suit, the White House has violated both the Federal Records Act (FRA) and the Presidential Records Act (PRA) in its deletion of e-mails and failure to implement a new system.
In fact, the White House had been using e-mail accounts of the Republican National Committee in order to circumvent the PRA, which requires the preservation of presidential records “that reflect the performance of [the President’s] constitutional, statutory, [and] ceremonial duties.”