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Published On: Fri, Jan 20th, 2017

Judge to DHS, Jeh Johnson, Alejandro Mayorkas, Christian Marrone, Stevan Bunnell: Do NOT destroy emails

A federal judge has ordered four current or former top officials at the Department of Homeland Security, including Secretary Jeh Johnson, to preserve emails in their private accounts that may be responsive to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss issued the order Wednesday morning to Johnson, former Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, former chief of staff Christian Marrone, and former General Counsel Stevan Bunnell, telling them to copy relevant messages to thumb drives.

Moss said the Justice Department indicated that all four men agreed to preserve any responsive messages that might be in their private accounts, but he still granted the preservation order sought by the conservative group Judicial Watch, which said it feared the government might lose easy access to the records as Obama appointees ship out.

Jeh Johnson

“Given the Department’s representation, the Court has no reason to doubt that the four individuals have agreed to comply fully with their obligations to preserve any potentially responsive emails and that they have every intention of doing so,” wrote Moss, an appointee of President Barack Obama.

“Nonetheless, out of the abundance of caution, the Court will order an additional preservation step to minimize the risk of any inadvertent loss of potentially responsive emails. Specifically, the Court will order the individuals to copy any emails from the relevant time period in any private email accounts that might contain responsive materials onto portable thumb drives, to be kept in the individuals’ personal possessions,” the judge added.

“Copying the emails to a physical drive will minimize the risk that any responsive email might be inadvertently deleted.”

Moss acted in a FOIA suit Judicial Watch filed seeking all private-account emails the four officials handled during a two-year period from 2013 to 2015.

Homeland Security spokesman Todd Breasseale said DHS will follow the judge’s instructions.

“We don’t comment on matters before the court but will, as we do in all matters, continue to comply with the law and with Judge Moss’ orders,” the spokesman said.

 

Photo By Bill Koplitz/FEMA

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Michael Ochoa says:

    As I told Hon. Jeh Johnson et al at 12-15-16 DHHS OIG, “So, now I would like to thank all of you for your years of high-minded and patriotic service, while cautioning you to preserve all the data I have shared with you for your successors.” ”

    https://www.academia.edu/30542556/12-15-16_DHHS_OIG.pdf

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