In dismissing the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said she concluded the White House's Office of Administration, which held the records, wasn't subject to the Freedom of Information Act, The Washington Post reported.
She said she agreed with the office's argument that it does not meet a key requirement be subject to FOIA, concluding the Office of Administration doesn't employ "the type of substantial independent authority that the D.C. Circuit has found sufficient to make an (executive office of the president) component an agency under the FOIA."
The group filing the lawsuit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said it would appeal.
"We are disappointed in the ruling and believe the judge reached the wrong legal conclusion," CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement. "The Bush administration is using the legal system to prevent the American people from discovering the truth about the millions of
missing White House e-mails."
Until CREW asked for the documents, Sloan said, the office frequently processed FOIA requests.
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