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.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
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.
Elinor Mills

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)