White House loses e-mail during 'upgrade,' gets sued

After e-mail upgrade results in two lawsuits and a high-level resignation, a judge says he wants more answers from White House in lost e-mail fiasco.

As part of the Bush administration's post-Clinton cleaning house efforts, the White House replaced its Lotus Notes e-mail system with Microsoft's Outlook and Exchange. Compatibility issues broke the automated archiving system and e-mails were lost.

No problem, Bush and Co. said and decided to have employees save files by hand. That's despite the fact that doing it manually is not a reliable or even tamper-proof way of dealing with important government communications that are required by law to be carefully archived.

Subsequent efforts to retrofit the old Lotus Notes-based archiving system to work with the new system failed or were aborted and Steven McDevitt, a senior official in the White House IT shop, resigned in disgust.

The situation led to two lawsuits filed by public interest groups against the White House and a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year . Last week, a federal judge ordered the government to fully answer questions related to the matter.

Maybe they should have stuck with Lotus Notes after all....

(via Ars Technica)

About the author

Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service, and the Associated Press. E-mail Elinor.

 

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