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Subject: Debate on destruction of Federal records

Debate on destruction of Federal records

From: Eddie Becker <ebecker>
Date: Thursday, August 10, 1995
The opposing lead attorneys in the PROFS Case will be featured at a
session of the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists,
in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 1, 1995 David de Lorenzo pulled
together the session, description follows.

ARMSTRONG V BUSH : A Panel on the Legal Dispute over Federal
Electronic Records

On January 19, 1989, the United States District Court of the
District of Columbia issued a temporary injunction filed by Scott
Armstrong of the National Security Archive and others to prohibit
the destruction of the White House electronic mail and records
system (known as PROFS).  Since that time the case has gone through
a variety of appeals, decisions, motions, and cross-appeals.

The case involves a number of essential issues relating to the
definition of a record, the creation and storage of electronic
records, and the final disposition of such records. The decisions
promulgated by this litigation will continue to have an increasing
influence on the nature of electronic records created and managed by
the government in the years ahead.  As David Bearman stated:
"Armstrong v. the Executive Office of the President revealed that a
variety of issues having to do with archival accountability are
unresolved in the minds of government employees and that
misunderstandings of electronic records requirements are common
among information system administrators. If archivists do not use
this and other opportunities to articulate forcefully what we expect
from records creators and system designers and to extend our mission
and authorities both legally and in practice, we will lose most of
the archival record of the next decade and squander our role as
protector of the public interest in documented and accountable
government." (56 American Archivist 674).

The panel will focus on the following questions: Should electronic
mail be considered records under the Federal Records Act? Does paper
copy of electronic messages represent an equivalent counterpart to
the text and context of such messages? Is the National Security
Council an agency of the federal government? Does the Bush/Wilson
agreement contradict federal records laws?  What are the
government's (and NARA's) preservation and access responsibilities
with federal electronic records?

The panel will consist of Jason R. Baron, Esq. of the U.S. Justice
Department representing the case for the Government (defendants),
and Michael Tankersley, Esq., of the Public Citizens Litigation
Group, representing the case for the plaintiffs.  David de Lorenzo,
Curator of Manuscripts and Archives, Harvard Law School, will act as

It will take place: Friday, September 1, 1995, 9 a.m., Annual
Meeting of the Society of American Archivists, "Military" Conference
Room, Washington Hilton and Towers, Washington, D.C.


    David de Lorenzo
    Curator of Manuscripts and Archives
    Harvard Law School
    delorenz [at] hulaw1__harvard__edu

    Society of American Archivists
    600 S. Federal,  Suite 504,
    Chicago, IL,  60605

Information about the PROFS Notes Case and the related issues of the
record status of electronic mail in Government is available via
E-mail.  Send requests to  ebecker [at] cni__org  in the subject line put
Join, in the message body put your e-mail address and the list from
which you saw this notice.  Thanks,


                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:16
                  Distributed: Monday, August 14, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-16-015
Received on Thursday, 10 August, 1995

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