Electronic Records: Clinton Administration's Management of Executive Office of the President E-Mail System

GAO-01-446 Published: Apr 30, 2001. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 2001.
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This report discusses the facts surrounding the ability of the Clinton White House to preserve certain electronic mail (e-mail) deemed official government records. GAO found that two malfunctions occurred in the White House e-mail system that prevented official records from being properly recorded in the Automated Records Management System (ARMS). The first problem involved an anomaly with incoming Internet e-mail users of the "Mail2" e-mail server. The second problem surfaced while the contractor was trying the resolve the first problem. During its efforts to determine the cause of the Mail2 e-mail errors, the letter D was deleted from a key piece of software, causing the ARMS scanner to skip e-mail accounts of users with first names beginning with the letter D. The White House began a costly and time-consuming project to recover e-mail records that had not been effectively managed. Several factors contributed to the cost and scope of the tape restoration project, including the contractor's performance of tape management and systems maintenance and legal scrutiny of e-mail malfunctions by external authorities.

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