Bush: ‘I Was Fearful of Congressional Intrusion into My Emails’

By Melanie Arter | April 25, 2013 | 2:07 PM EDT

Former President George W. Bush (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Former President George W. Bush said Wednesday that as president, he was fearful of congressional intrusion into his emails.

Historians will learn “that I didn’t email anybody when I was president,” Bush said in an interview with C-SPAN. “I was fearful of congressional intrusion into my emails, so it was just kind of sad really, because a lot of history’s lost when presidents are nervous about their personal papers being subpoenaed.”

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“Mr. President, as you look back at the material – millions of pages – you’re really the first email president. What will future historians learn when they come here?” C-SPAN asked the former president a day before the unveiling of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

“They’ll learn that I had a great administration full of—I say great, great people in my administration – people that were there to serve not me or the Republican Party per say but to serve the country. I’m looking forward to reading some of the emails myself. No telling what’s in them,” Bush said.

“Historians will see that I had a very deliberative process on making tough decisions,” Bush said, “that sadly I was a war-time president, and I took my duties as commander-in-chief, particularly the duties of honoring those who wear the uniform very seriously.”

Bush said he was “loath” to commit troops into combat, but once he did, he “supported them to the max.”

And historians will have a lot of material at their disposal, Bush said.

“It’s amazing how good NARA is,” he said, referring to the National Archives and Records Administration, which holds the records for the U.S. government.

“There’s 25,000 boxes of paper, and a billion, I guess. I don’t know how many emails, maybe a billion. I don’t know how they’re going to work it out. I really don’t,” Bush said.

The library holds “over 29,000 cubic feet of textual records,” which equals over 70 million pages, as well as “1200 cubic feet of audiovisual records.”

It also has the “largest electronic collection in the presidential library system” – about “80 terabytes of electronic records,” which includes “over 200 million email messages and nearly 4 million photographs.”

“This is new for archives, for archivists to have to sort and store emails compared to papers, which up until just recently it was always just papers that came to every administration, to every archive, but now it’s very different, and they themselves are working to figure out the best ways to sort and store emails,” said former first lady Laura Bush, who is also a former librarian.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on the campus of SMU, Mrs. Bush’s alma mater.