Presidential Libraries

Memorandum of Understanding on the Clinton-Gore Email Records



I.   Purpose

The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") is to ensure that (1) after 12:00 noon January 20, 2001, the National Archives and Records Administration ("NARA") shall have sole legal custody of all Clinton­Gore Administration electronic mail records that are governed by the Presidential Records Act ("PRA"), 44 U.S.C. 2201, and (2) following the end of the Administration authorized personnel from the Executive Office of the President ("EOP"), Office of Administration ("OA") complete the ongoing restoration and reformatting projects described below concerning e­mail records associated with the Automatic Records Management System ("ARMS") beginning in July 1994 through the end of the Administration.

E­mail records governed by the Federal Records Act ("FRA") that are subject to this MOU shall be transferred to NARA, following completion of the projects described below, in accordance with the existing records schedule, covering EOP/OA OASIS ALL­IN­1 and other VAX Cluster Applications, job number N1­429­95­2.

II.   The Projects

Copies of all Clinton presidential and federal and Gore vice presidential e­mail records that are associated with the ARMS and TRP databases and the multi­host anomaly will be transferred from the New Executive Office Building to a facility located in reasonable proximity to the Archives II complex at 11710 Beltsville Road, Calverton, MD ("the Facility") by OA on or before January 20, 2001. OA shall provide the Facility and hire staff to maintain physical and environmental security at the Facility.

OA shall complete the two restoration projects and the related reformatting project described below and shall be responsible for ensuring that sufficient funding exists or is obtained to complete each project, except to the extent that NARA is funding Project C, as described below. OA will transfer copies of all tapes, software, equipment and necessary personnel associated with these projects to the Facility. OA shall administer all of the contracts governing each project until its completion. OA shall provide NARA with reports as requested by NARA on each project. NARA shall at all times have access to the presidential and vice presidential records maintained at the Facility.

   Project A ­ the Tape Restoration Project ("TRP")

The TRP involves the restoration of certain e­mail records from back­up tapes and the extraction of that data into a searchable database. Funding for the project totals $13.2 million, including $8.4 million in supplemental funding, and is available through September 2002. The project is and will continue to be performed by contractors retained by OA. The TRP is being undertaken on equipment that is separate and apart from the computer systems dedicated by OA for use in supporting the incumbent President.

The software and the hardware development for the TRP effort is complete and these systems are fully operational. 4319 tapes in the possession of the EOP have been copied, which is all of the relevant tapes with two minor exceptions. 136 tapes could not be adequately copied on the equipment OA possesses. OA is negotiating with outside vendors to copy these tapes. In addition, law enforcement organizations have 53 tapes in their possession. To date, the EOP has not been able to obtain an agreement with the law enforcement organizations for the return of these 53 original tapes or the provision of tape copies prior to January 20, 2001. If and when copies are obtained of the 136 and 53 tapes, respectively, they will be processed in accordance with the Projects. Prior to January 20, 2001, OA will provide NARA an inventory of these two groups of tapes. If legible copies of these tapes are not received by the end of the Projects, OA will be deemed to have completed the Projects regardless. If legible copies of these two groups of tapes or the original 53 tapes are received after the end of the Projects, then either OA, through its contractors, at OA's expense, will copy and process those tapes, or OA will make available to NARA the equipment, software, and documentation to copy and process the tapes, at NARA's expense, consistent with all applicable law. OA will place the TRP records into ARMS, segregated into appropriate agency buckets. The interim TRP database will be searchable and de­duplicated against itself. After the data extraction is complete, these records will be reformatted and placed on tapes for NARA, as covered in Project C.

   Project B ­ the "Multi­Host" Project

The multi­host project involves the restoration of certain e­mail data for the period April 1 through May 31, 2000 from back­up tapes. This e­mail data, plus other e­mail data currently stored on the ARMS3 server for the period June 1 through September 30, 2000, will be streamed through a reconfigured Lotus Notes/ARMS interface. This effort will remediate a problem that affected e-mail from approximately April to September 30, 2000, during which time approximately 1% of e­mail entering ARMS was defective due to an anomaly in the Lotus Notes/ARMS interface, and will result in a complete data set containing only correct e-mails for that period of time. Streaming the data through a reconfigured interface will separate presidential and federal records into the appropriate buckets utilized by ARMS for records management purposes. The reconfigured Lotus Notes/ARMS interface was placed into operation on October 1, 2000, and has processed e­mail records after that date without any detected incident.

All software and hardware associated with the Lotus Notes/ARMS interface as well as all equipment necessary to perform the multi­host repair will be moved to the Facility by OA.

   Project C ­ Tape Reformatting Project

The ARMS system currently archives e­mail records generated or received by ARMS­managed accounts during the Clinton­Gore Administration beginning July 1994 through the end of the Administration, subject to various anomalies. These records are stored in agency buckets that serve to separate presidential or vice presidential records from federal records.¹ OA will move the data in ARMS, along with the hardware and software associated with supporting and searching ARMS, to the Facility. The equipment will include the ARMS software, as well as nodes of the existing VAX computer that provide the ARMS platform.

This project involves the reformatting of e­mails in the ARMS system, including those records that had been subject to the multi­host anomaly, and those records restored as a part of the TRP, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding Between the National Archives and Records Administration and the Executive Office of the President, Office of Administration ARMS­NARA Tape Reformatting Project for Clinton Administration, Post July 14, 1994, signed on October 6 & 8, 1999. ("1999 Tape Reformatting MOU"), attachment A.

OA will send to NARA tapes of reformatted e­mail drawn from the ARMS database and the TRP database on a rolling basis as reformatting is completed, as specified by the 1999 Tape Reformatting MOU. NARA will enter these tapes into a database of Clinton­Gore Administration records. The records from the TRP database will be de­duplicated against all other TRP records, although they will not be de­duplicated against the ARMS records. Therefore, prior to the creation of the record database or the streaming of the TRP database into ARMS, requests for Clinton Administration e­mail records from the "Mail 2" and "Letter D" timeframes, as well as requests for OVP e­mail records prior to May 2000, will require searches of both the TRP database and the ARMS database.

At the time the tape reformatting project is completed and validated by NARA using NARA's established electronic records preservation procedures, OA will remove all remaining personnel and equipment and shut down the Facility.

III.   Records Subject to the MOU

There are three distinct records categories of ARMS­related e­mail records subject to portions of this MOU, all created by the Clinton­Gore Administration EOP after July 14, 1994: (1) records of President Clinton and the EOP offices that create presidential records, which are governed by the PRA; (2) records of Vice President Gore and his staff, which are also governed by the PRA; and (3) records of EOP offices that create federal records, which are governed by the Federal Records Act ("FRA"), 44 U.S.C. chapters 21, 29, 31 and 33.

   A.  Legal Custody of PRA Records

On January 20, 2001, legal custody of all presidential and vice presidential record e­mail messages shall transfer to the Archivist of the United States. OA will transfer copies of all tapes, plus software, equipment and necessary personnel associated with these Projects to the Facility on or before that date. The originals of all other electronic media not associated with the above Projects shall be transferred to other NARA facilities. Any access to PRA records by OA staff, OA contractors, or any other party shall be controlled exclusively by NARA and shall be governed by the PRA, NARA regulations, and Executive Order 12667. These records shall remain Clinton presidential and Gore vice presidential records after noon, January 20, 2001, notwithstanding their physical location or the limited access to them as described above.

In order to restrict access to Clinton presidential and Gore vice presidential record e­mail effectively, NARA agrees that only pre­authorized OA and OA contractor personnel may enter the OA­leased premises at the Facility. All personnel entering the Facility shall sign a log book upon entry and exit. The log book shall be sent to NARA weekly and maintained by NARA. In addition, the ARMS and the TRP databases will be password protected so that only password holders can read the message text in these databases.

NARA shall be responsible for responding to requests for documents or information and conducting searches of the Clinton presidential and Gore vice presidential e­mail records in response to requests and subpoenas pursuant to the PRA that are made by investigative bodies or other requesting parties. NARA shall be responsible for developing search terms and search strings to be used in conducting a search of these records. NARA and EOP personnel have met to begin to learn how to formulate search strategies and regarding the status of searches pending at the time of transition and any searches reasonably expected to be made into those records, so as to assist NARA in staff planning. Members of the Counsel's Office will furnish NARA with the most up­to­date documentation they possess of subpoenas served on the EOP during this Administration and for which e­mail searches must still be performed, and any correspondence or other documents relevant to those searches.

NARA personnel will formulate search terms for searches on the TRP database and enter the search terms directly into the computer accessing those records. NARA personnel will formulate the search terms and search strings of the ARMS database and will be responsible for entering the search terms directly into the computer accessing those records. OA will provide at NARA's option reasonable and necessary training on the ARMS database and associated VAX Computer system on a reimbursable basis. Based on NARA's current knowledge of the VAX computer system upon which ARMS database is run, NARA is presently not able to conduct searches on the ARMS database. However, NARA will pursue ways as expeditiously as possible to acquire the ability to conduct such searches, but NARA does not know how long this will take. The search results will be copied to a CD (or more if necessary) and given directly to NARA personnel. Access to search results are controlled by NARA and governed by the PRA, NARA regulations, and E.O. 12667.

   B.  Legal Custody of Federal Records

In contrast to the presidential records discussed above, all federal records associated with the Projects shall remain under the legal custody and control of OA. Access to such federal records, including e­mails and backup tapes associated with the Projects, shall be controlled by OA and shall be governed by the FRA, NARA regulations and governing records schedules.

OA shall be responsible for responding to and conducting searches of all federal record e­mails, including requests under the Freedom of Information Act, congressional requests, subpoenas and other authorized requests until the restoration and reformatting of those records has been completed under Section II, above, and such records are formally accessioned into NARA by means of a fully effectuated SF 258, in accordance with 36 C.F.R. section 1228, subpart L.

   C.  Transfer of Original Electronic Media Associated With the Above Projects

As soon as possible, and no later than January 20, 2001, OA shall transfer to NARA a complete set of the original electronic media in its possession that back up information used in completing the above­listed Projects, including the 136 tapes that have not yet been copied, and with the exception of the 53 tapes retained by law enforcement agencies. OA shall produce disaster recovery back­up tapes of the ARMS and TRP databases as they exist at that time. These back­up tapes shall be sent directly to NARA, along with sufficient documentation for OA to accomplish a full and complete restoration. An inventory of all such transferred backup tapes and e­mail files shall be provided to NARA along with the electronic materials. These backup tapes and copies are being transferred to NARA solely for security storage pending completion of the Projects. When the presidential, vice presidential and federal record e­mail databases are completed and reformatted, NARA will consider these backup tapes and copies for disposal in accordance with the PRA and the FRA.

(signed)_ Lewis J. Bellardo__________________________
On Behalf of the National Archives and Records Administration
  _ January 11, 2001 __
(signed)_ Beth Nolan _______________________________
On Behalf of President Clinton
  _ January 11, 2001 __
(signed)_ Elizabeth M. Brown _________________________
On Behalf of Vice President Gore
  _ January 11, 2001 __

    ¹ The presidential and vice presidential record buckets are those for the White House Office, the Office of the Vice President, the Council of Economic Advisors, the National Security Council, the Office of Policy Development and the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. The federal records buckets include the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Office of United States Trade Representative.