AND EARLY PROPOSED SOLUTIONS
Well before the Office of Administration’s discovery in October 2005 that millions of emails were missing from White House servers, the Bush White House received multiplewarnings its emails were at risk of destruction. When President Bush took office in January2001,White House email was sent through the Lotus Notes system and archived in the AutomaticRecords Managements System (ARMS). The Clinton administration implemented ARMS in1994, to meet the record keeping requirements of the Presidential Records Act, the FederalRecords Act, and a consent decree entered into in
Armstrong v. Executive Office of the President
,Civil No. 89-142 (D.D.C.). While ARMS was not problem free, it largely succeeded inseparating federal from presidential records, preserving both, and allowing them to be searchedin response to subpoenas and other information requests.The Bush White House soon decided to switch to a Microsoft Outlook/Exchange emailsystem (Exchange) in part because senior officials had used it during the campaign. Problems
emerged shortly after the White House began the transition. Microsoft Exchange did not includean automated record keeping solution, and ARMS was not designed to capture Exchange email.
As a result, in early 2002, OA began working on a mechanism that would enable ARMS to preserve Exchange emails.
The Exchange Interface System
In March 2002, OA accepted a proposal from ECS, a company associated with NorthropGrumman Corporation, to develop a pilot for an Exchange Interface System (EIS) that wouldconvert Exchange emails into a format ARMS could ingest. ECS developed the EIS pilot
throughout the summer of 2002, but ran into numerous problems. The system would not processsome emails, put the wrong time stamp on messages, failed to sort some emails by White Housecomponents, exhibited “quirky behavior” at times, and lacked clear standard operating procedures (SOPs). Although it is unclear whether these problems were resolved, in March
2003, the White House contracted with a company called Legato to deploy EIS, and committednearly half a million dollars to the deployment.