White House email II: Gewirtz responds

Author says National Archives can't be trusted to secure Bush Administration computers, thus Obama staff must treat them like live evidence.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

David Gewirtz of Zatz Publishing responded to my earlier post on his call to treat White House computers like a crime scene, asking for some corrections, which I gladly made. I won't post the debate over those issues, but he also brought forward the issues of whether this job of securing the computers should be left to the National Archives. I had said:

I agree the computers should be preserved, not merely for proof of mishandling of emails but for proof of other high crimes and misdemeanors. But does the duty fall to the White House staff or to the National Archives to preserve, respectful of the time limits necessary for presidential confidentiality, relevant content, communications trails, etc?
David responds:
As for the preservation duty, legally, it falls on the National Archives and Records Administration. But, as you read in the book originally, NARA has a history of abdicating that responsibility and in the first Bush administration, Donald Wilson, then Archivist of the United States, attempted to bypass the bulk of email record keeping, to the displeasure of some senior judges. He eventually wound up as the Executive Director of the Bush Library. In this NARA, the issue is that they're having cooperation problems with the outgoing administration and we don't really know who'll be dealing with the problem for the incoming administration -- and it's important the remaining digital media in the White House not get tossed or overwritten.

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