Judge Urges Colleague to Order White House E-Mails Preserved

Associated Press
Saturday, October 20, 2007

A U.S. magistrate judge urged a federal judge yesterday to order the White House to preserve copies of all its e-mails, rejecting arguments by the Bush administration.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola said it is necessary to hold out the threat of a contempt-of-court citation to ensure that White House personnel safeguard backup tapes of electronic messages that may have been deleted.

The decision to issue the order is up to U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. The Bush administration has 10 days to say why Kennedy should not order the preservation of electronic communications by White House officials and aides. Kennedy had referred the issue to Facciola for a recommendation.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says the White House has deleted millions of e-mails. The group is suing to force the government to reconstruct from backup tapes any lost messages.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto declined to comment on Facciola's suggestion.

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