Officials for US president George Bush have admitted that an unknown number of emails at the centre of a political row over the firing of eight government lawyers have been deleted.
White House spokesperson Scott Stanzel admitted that some officials may have used party-political email accounts maintained by the Republican National Committee to discuss official government business.
The US Congress – controlled by the Democrats – has been pressing for details of the Republican party email accounts used by around 20 White House officials as part of a probe into the firing of the eight lawyers. Congress representatives are seeking to prove that the sackings were political.
But Stanzel said some of the emails may have been lost because the Republican National Committee has a policy of deleting emails from its accounts approximately once a month – although emails from non-political White House accounts are automatically archived.
“Some official emails have potentially been lost and that is a mistake the White House is aggressively working to correct,” Stanzel admitted. He added that the possibility that some mail relating to the firings might have been deleted “can’t be ruled out”.