George W Bush’s Private Email Account and Server
Hillary Clinton wasn’t the only one busted for using a private email account and a domain and server not owned and used by the federal government. George W Bush is also guilty of such an act. George W Bush was caught using the domain gwb43 (short for George W Bush, 43rd President), which was owned and hosted on an email server ran by the Republican National Committee. It is alleged that as many as 22 million emails may have been deleted.
It was stated that the officials used these private emails to prevent violation of the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act prevents the use of government resource for political reasons. The Administration and RNC stated that the private emails on the RNC servers were political in nature, and might of been noncompliant with the Hatch Act if they were sent using official .gov email handles.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Findings
CREW was the organization that initially brought about the awareness that private emails were being used within the Bush Administration. Here is some of their findings:
- Years before its discovery in October 2005 that millions of emails were missing from White House servers, the Bush White House received multiple warnings from multiple sources, including the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), that its emails were at risk of destruction.
- The Bush White House insisted on continuing with a migration from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange even though it had no system in place that could preserve email created on Microsoft Exchange.
- Upon discovering the missing emails in the fall of 2005, a Message Storage Team (MST) conducted a comprehensive analysis of the problem and documented its findings with multiple charts showing days of zero or low message counts.
- While the MST was charged with determining the scope of the missing email problem, it was never instructed to investigate why the emails went missing.
- Missing emails included emails from the Office of the Vice President for a critical period in the fall of 2003 that were sought by the Department of Justice as part of its investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s covert CIA identity. Files that should have contained these emails also were missing from backup tapes for that period and in its efforts to restore those emails from individual users’ mailboxes, the Bush White House excluded the mailbox of I. Lewis Libby from those being restored.
- The Bush White House’s problems with missing emails extended to backup tapes,which did not exist for critical periods and which, even if created, were often overwritten with new data.
- After spending millions of dollars and years of effort creating an effective electronic record keeping system called the Electronic Communications Records Management System (ECRMS), the Bush White House abandoned ECRMS on the eve of its deployment for questionable reasons that NARA, among others, did not accept as reasonable.
- Two years after the Bush White House cancelled ECRMS, it still had not deployed any replacement system and was instead using a stop-gap method that failed to meet fundamental record keeping requirements.
- Shortly after discovering the missing emails in the fall of 2005, the Office of Administration proposed to White House Counsel Harriet Miers a restoration plan that would have fully restored all missing emails, but which the White House refused to implement. By May 2006, estimates for a full recovery were at $2.4million, and by April 2007 estimates to restore just 60 components days had risen to $3.5 million.
- In the end, the White House spent between $10 and $15 million to restore just 48 components days.
- A 2010 analysis of 21 days of email restored from backup tapes revealed that the Bush White House had failed to archive and preserve nearly 90 percent of the universe of known emails for that period.
- The 2010 analysis also revealed that the disaster recovery backup system failed to preserve 3.9 percent of the universe of known emails for those 21 days.
- After initially meeting with NARA officials on the design of ECRMS, the Bush White House ceased all meetings and failed to advise NARA about problems with ECRMS the White House supposedly was encountering or to give NARA advance notice of its decision to abandon ECRMS altogether.
- The Bush White House also rebuffed NARA’s repeated attempts to meet with White House officials to prepare for a presidential transition.
- The Bush White House failed to inform NARA about the missing emails or share information with NARA until well after CREW released its report and CREW and the National Security Archive sued both the Executive Office of the President and NARA.
- A significant volume of emails has yet to be restored and will be lost forever to history absent further action.
White House Using Campaign Email Addresses
“We screwed up” was the official statement from the White House when confronted on using reelection campaign email addresses for official correspondence. What turns a controversy into a scandal is the fact that those emails were deleted and unable to be recovered. The scandal was compared to Watergate and many politicians stated that the emails had to be saved on one server or another.
Eight Federal Prosecutors Fired
During the Bush Administration, eight federal prosecutors were fired. Although the Bush Administration claimed that the firings were not political in nature, but rather due to performance standards, it caused media attention and launched an investigation. During the investigation, it was discovered that private email accounts on RNC servers were used to discuss the firing of those eight prosecutors.
CIA Leak Investigation
In 2003, a CIA leak revealed that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent. This happened after her husband published an op-ed in the New York Times stating that he highly doubted that Iraq was seeking uranium. A journalist published a column stating that Valerie Plame had recommended her husband to assist on a mission to Niger to prove that Iraq was seeking uranium. It was also published that she was CIA, which was classified information.
In the investigation into the CIA leak, it was revealed that many Bush Administration emails were missing, including Executive emails and emails from the Office of the Vice President.