Court Says White House Can Keep Memos on Bush E-mails Private

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A federal appeals court ruled this morning that the White House does not have to make public internal documents examining the potential disappearance of e-mails during the Bush administration.

In upholding a ruling last year by a federal judge, the appeals court found that the White House's Office of Administration is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The group filed a lawsuit in 2007 seeking to force the Office of Administration to comply with a FOIA request for documents related to the alleged sloppy retention of e-mails between 2001 and 2005, a period that included the Iraq war.

The Office of Administration, which performs a variety of services for the Executive Office of the President, had complied with FOIA requests for years. But the office announced in 2007 that it no longer would process FOIA requests because officials did not believe the office was subject to the law. White House officials argued that the Office of Administration provides only administrative support and services to the president and his staff and does not exercise enough independent authority to fall under FOIA.

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