Judge issues rare order to preserve White House official’s private email

Politico reports on a federal judge's ruling in CEI's lawsuit against the director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.  

A federal judge has ordered the top science policy official at the White House to preserve all of his emails from a private account while a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit about the messages proceeds.

The case involving Holdren was brought by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in 2014, after the group learned that he was conducting some official business on his Woods Hole account. Kessler tossed out the case the following year, ruling that his office had no duty to search a non-government email account.

However, earlier this year the D.C. Circuit reversed that decision on appeal, holding that the mere fact that records are stored outside of government servers does not automatically put them beyond the reach of FOIA.

When the case was returned to Kessler, CEI asked her to order Holdren to preserve the messages until the case is concluded. Justice Department lawyers opposed the order as unnecessary and a potential invasion of Holdren's privacy.

In a bow to the privacy concerns raised by the government, the judge said she will allow Holdren to maintain the thumb drive with his messages on it as the case goes forward.

CEI attorney Sam Kazman said the group is "very pleased" with Kessler's order.

"Dr. Holdren has long argued for a 'precautionary principle' approach on climate issues. We’re glad to see the court is here taking a 'precautionary principle' approach in preserving his private emails," Kazman said.

Read the full article at Politico