You Know, That Domestic Wiretapping Operation Might Come in Handy Here
So that “technical issue” that caused 5 million to 10 million White House emails to disappear from its archives? A botched migration from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange. Seems even the blame for the current administration’s failure to obey the Presidential Records Act can be laid on Microsoft (MSFT).
In written testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Steven McDevitt, a former information technology specialist at the White House, explained that the administration began migrating its email to Exchange without having an adequate records-management solution in place. Worse, its email-retention process was as laughably primitive as it was insecure. To quote McDevitt:
The initial email-retention process involved a manual process of copying messages from the Exchange journals to .pst files for storage and retention.”
The White House refers to this process as “journaling,” which is most likely a euphemism for “interns handled our email backups.” And, in this case, without the proper access and logging controls to prevent tampering or even note that it had occurred.
All of this is quite troubling, to say the least. But not to worry–the White House is at this very moment developing a new archiving system. Too bad it’s unlikely to go live before the end of this administration.