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UPDATED! Glitches mar EPA release of first batch of 'Windsorgate' emails

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Photo - Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced earlier this month that she is leaving the post she held throughout President Obama's first term in the White House. AP Photo
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced earlier this month that she is leaving the post she held throughout President Obama's first term in the White House. AP Photo
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Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency posted a file late today containing approximately 2,100 of a promised first tranche of 3,000 "Windsorgate" emails sent by and to the agency's administrator, Lisa Jackson.

Jackson admitted last month to using the non de plume "Richard Windsor" on a government email account. She said the name came from her dog and that she only used the account for internal messaging within EPA.

It is against federal law for government officials to use email accounts bearing fake names to conduct official business.

Technical glitches marred the release, however, as a link on the EPA web site to the emails initially would not work. Later in the afternoon, it would only open to a cover letter explaining that only 2,100 emails were being released today instead of the promised 3,000.

The agency must make public all 12,000 of the controversial emails and had agreed to do so in four tranches, with today being the first release.

Andre Belknap, an EPA assistant press secretary, told The Washington Examiner, her agency was experiencing "technical difficulties with the link."

Late this afternoon, the link began to function properly and can now be viewed here. Readers must scroll down quite a ways to the 12th entry on the page.

Meanwhile, a few discs of the emails were obtained by parties to the litigation that resulted in the court order for the documents' release, but apparently there is no order such as a date sequence or size metric by which the materials were organized.

The absence of such a sequence or metric would make it much more difficult to assess the materials, particularly as to whether they are responsive to either the Freedom of Information Act request filed last year by Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) that prompted the controversy or the federal court that ruled in Hormer's favor last month and directed EPA to make the documents public.

A timeline of the events leading up to today's EPA posting can be seen on CEI's web site. Previous Examiner coverage of Windsorgate developments can be viewed here, here and here.

UPDATE: Horner thinks EPA 'gravely compounded unlawful activity'

The cover letter accompanying EPA's posting included an assertion that "the Administrator uses one secondary official account to conduct EPA business" and claimed that the emails released today were among those covered by the court's order concerning "Richard Windsor" emails by Jackson.

"In fact, the record is far more clear the Administrator likely has two such secondary or 'alias' accounts," Horner said. including "one as previous administrators have used, showing her name in the sent to/from box, and one that uses the false identity 'Richard Windsor,' which neither Jackson nor EPA disputes is her account and which obviously does not reflect the administrator’s name."

The result, Horner said, is "in short, this response is deeply troubling and seems to have gravely compounded the unlawful activity we have exposed involving a false identity assumed for federal recordkeeping purposes."

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