Three cheers for Judge John Facciola! He has ordered BushCo to provide proof that the missing emails exist.
He has given them five business days to come up with proof "whether the millions of e-mails from 2003 to 2005 that have been deleted from White House servers in fact exist on back-up tapes."
BushCo has been dancing around this issue for years now. They have consistently refused to answer the question by tossing out that good ol "Executive Priviledge" bullshit. The fabulous folks at CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) have been bull-dogging the living shit out of BushCo about the missing emails with various court cases they have brought, regarding the Firing of the USA's and originally the PlameGate debacle. From the Jurist writeup:
Facciola's Tuesday ruling in The National Security Archive v. Executive Office of the President, consolidated with a lawsuit from CREW, requires the White House to reveal whether the back-up tapes are catalogued, labeled or otherwise identified to indicate the period of time they cover and the data they contain.
The order came in advance of a ruling on motions from CREW and the National Security Archive to expedite discovery to determine what relevant email still exists. The US Department of Justice has been unresponsive about what back-up tapes the White House possesses, although it has said that the White House has maintained all back-up tapes since CREW filed suit. The issue of missing e-mails has been an ongoing controversy in the Bush administration, arising first during the CIA leak investigation, and again last year during controversy over the firings of eight US Attorneys. AP has more.
The court order can be read here.