More on WH Statement on e-mails

United We Stand Against Obama SPAM

United We Stand Against Obama SPAM

The e-mail statement (see post below) was scrubbed for at least a full day by senior White House officials. White House internet experts reviewed procedures for an unspecified period of time and a White House official said no statement would have been released if the White House had determined the unsolicited e-mails simply arrived via easily traceable forwarding third-party referrals outside the White House website. The statement acknowledges e-mail addresses landed on the White House distribution list without the recipient’s permission and that steps – as yet undefined – will be taken to remedy this problem.  

Fox on Friday filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the list of e-mail recipients who received Thursday’s health care talking points memo from senior adviser David Axelrod.  That request is pending.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs approved the statement for release about 7:30 p.m. EDT.  Work began on the statement no later than mid-day Saturday.

White House officials say they don’t want the e-mail controversy to deepen. “How does that help us,” one official asked. “We don’t want to send e-mails to people who don’t want them. We want to send e-mails to people who do want them and there are lots of them. But there is no benefit to us at all in sending e-mails that people don’t want.”

In addition to the statement, Fox asked Nick Shapiro, White House Spokesman for New Media, these questions:



1. Does the WH spam any communication for any purpose. If not, does it follow a specific policy – either internal or external (meaning statute) – that guides adherence to the no spam policy?

Shapiro: Answered in the quote: We only email addresses received through Our operating guidance is the privacy policy published on the website.


2. How does the WH enforce or monitor adherence to its no spam policy?

Shapiro: As the quote said, “We are implementing measures to make subscribing to emails clearer, including preventing advocacy organizations from signing people up to our lists without their permission when they deliver petition signatures and other messages on individual’s behalf.”


3. Does the White House buy any e-mail lists for any communication purposes?

Shapiro: Again, answered in the quote. No.

4. Does the White House have any contractual or informal relationship with any Internet Service Provide to distribute White House communications via pop-up or similar types of web ads in which the WH communication is itself the pop-up content?

Shapiro: Absolutely Not


4. Does or will the WH going forward actively discourage outside groups from signing people up for WH communication without their permission?

Shapiro: Answered in the quote

5. Will the WH disable its 3rd-party e-mail device so that, in the future, 3rd parties will not be allowed to sign up others for WH communication without their permission?

Shapiro: Answered in the quote

6. Under what provision of law is or internal WH policy is the WH prohibited from reviewing private e-mails already on the WH list from being forensically checked to determine how it became a part of the WH e-mail list in the first place?

Shapiro: We are not prevented from reviewing our own systems – just providing that to outside groups per our White House privacy policy, published online at on January 20, 2009.

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