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Federal judge dismisses suit seeking White House e-mails

[JURIST] A judge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia Monday dismissed [order, PDF; opinion, PDF] a lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) [advocacy website] seeking access to e-mail records from the White House Office of Administration (OA) [official website] under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The court held that the OA "is not an agency subject to the FOIA," even though OA had complied with such requests prior to August 2007. Lawyers for CREW have appealed the decision [press release]. In February, the court had allowed CREW to proceed with "very limited" discovery [JURIST report] in the case. AP has more.

CREW brought the lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in May 2007 to gain access to information regarding potential lost e-mails at the Executive Office of the President. The issue of missing e-mails has been an ongoing controversy throughout the Bush administration, arising first during the CIA leak investigation and then again during the US Attorney firing scandal [JURIST news archives]. In February, CREW urged US Attorney General Michael Mukasey to appoint a special counsel [JURIST report] to investigate whether the White House had violated the Federal Records Act and the Presidential Records Act [texts] in failing to preserve White House e-mails. CREW has publicly alleged that White House officials may have deliberately lost or tampered with e-mail records to hide illegal conduct.

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