White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove
Gerald Herbert  /  AP
The disappearance of e-mails involving White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and others has added additional controversy to the firings of U.S. attorneys.
updated 4/17/2007 10:10:12 AM ET 2007-04-17T14:10:12

The White House should be able to recover an undetermined number of e-mails - perhaps millions of messages - that accidentally disappeared from its servers during a program conversion, an administration official said Monday.

"We are aware that there could have been some e-mails that were not automatically archived because of a technical issue," said White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino.

"But given the complex nature of this issue, it might take us a little while to identify those. We do, however, know that most - all of those e-mails should be available on backup tapes. And so we'll continue to look at it."

This issue is separate from the White House acknowledgment that aides to President Bush have improperly used e-mail accounts created by the Republican Party to conduct official White House business, and that an undetermined number of these e-mails have been lost.

Separately, Perino has confirmed that White House e-mails could have been lost accidentally when staffers' accounts were converted to Microsoft Outlook from Lotus Notes in the early years of the administration. She wouldn't rule out there were perhaps 5 million e-mails lost, as one watchdog group has suggested.

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