Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 25, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

UNDER THE CUSHIONS? IN AN OLD SHOE CLOSET?....A few weeks ago Patrick Fitzgerald revealed that a bunch of email from Vice President Dick Cheney's office had mysteriously disappeared. Apparently the White House decided to look a little harder for it:

[Scooter Libby's] defense was told that the White House had recently located and turned over about 250 pages of e-mails from the vice president's office. Fitzgerald, in a letter last month to the defense, had cautioned Libby's lawyers that some e-mails might be missing because the White House's archiving system had failed.

Generally speaking, the document management systems used to archive email are pretty straightforward to use. I'd sure love to hear an explanation of how these emails were "lost" and then "recovered" again.

Kevin Drum 12:22 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

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They just were. What's the problem?

Posted by: IOKIYAR on February 25, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Easiest answer is that a tape or other magnetic media from a daily backup sequence got misfiled or lost. Are all the e-mails from a particular time period? How many e-mails a day do you think go through Cheney's office?

A tape would be at least as easy to misplace as a set of billing files.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 25, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Dang...Cheney got it first. That's what I get for going for the painfully obvious.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 25, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

> Generally speaking, the document management
> systems used to archive email are pretty
> straightforward to use.

Guess you have never had to physically respond to such a request yourself.

1) E-mail archiving systems are an absolute pain in the butt, and unless _VERY_ well designed are not easy to use; certainly not easy to use well. From what I hear of White House IT across the last three administrations, it is not well designed to say the least.

2) When in receipt of a request from a US District Atty, every e-mail admin I have ever met will lock his absolute best people in the server room and tell them not to come out until every single message is accounted for and turned over. Of course, I don't have the ability to order up a presidential pardon.

3) HOWEVER: I warn people over and over that no matter how expensive and shiny your e-mail system, no matter how hot your sysadmin considers himself to be, once you have hit the SEND button your e-mail can be recovered sooner or later. No matter how hard you try, how many copies you delete, there will ALWAYS be a copy somewhere. I am guessing that Libby & Co. figured they were so clever they had gotten all the copies. Oops.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 25, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

exucse! deflect! deny! do anything but admit the obvious!

you Bush sycophants are disgusting

Posted by: cleek on February 25, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

> Easiest answer is that a tape or other
> magnetic media from a daily backup sequence
> got misfiled or lost.

As they say in the Oracle world, the ONLY job of the sysadmin is to get recovery right. The only job.

I currently work for a dinky little company and we send multiple copies of each day's backups to two separate locations, one deep inside a cave 150 miles from our nearest location. We also make on-line backups, weekly off-line backups, use multiple media, etc. And we would be considered amatuers by, say, my friend's financial services company.

But of course the Republicans brought mature, grown-up management practices to the White House. No stolen W keys for them. Just a few lost tapes with criminal felony evidence.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 25, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"""I'd sure love to hear an explanation of how these emails were "lost" and then "recovered" again."""

THAT'S AN EASY ONE...THE SAME WAY YOU LOST YOUR MARBLES AND THEN RECOVERED THEM AGAIN:

Kevin with LOST marbles: """a bunch of email from Vice President Dick Cheney's office had mysteriously disappeared."""

Kevin FOUND his marbles: ""Fitzgerald... cautioned Libby's lawyers that some e-mails might be missing because the White House's archiving system had failed.""


Kevin with LOST marbles: """a bunch of email from Vice President Dick Cheney's office had mysteriously disappeared."""

Kevin FOUND his marbles: ""Fitzgerald... cautioned Libby's lawyers that some e-mails might be missing because the White House's archiving system had failed.""

Kevin with LOST marbles: """a bunch of email from Vice President Dick Cheney's office had mysteriously disappeared."""

Kevin FOUND his marbles: ""Fitzgerald... cautioned Libby's lawyers that some e-mails might be missing because the White House's archiving system had failed.""

Gee, Kevin, solved your own riddle... the 'mysterious disappearance was due to an archiving system failure.

MOVE ON!

Posted by: Patton on February 25, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Send Bush to look for 'em, the same way he looked for the WMD around the White House by peering under the furniture. He's a flipping expert.

Posted by: G. Jones on February 25, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Generally speaking, the document management systems used to archive email are pretty straightforward to use.

Um, no they're not.

Over a period of 6 years during the Clinton investigation, lawyers investigating the Paula Jones case were frustrated at attempts to subpoena emails that had been lost due to archiving system malfunctions.

(no, I'm not saying that "Clinton did it so it must be okay" - I'm just saying that this has been an ongoing problem with the White House system, and apparently still has not been resolved).

Personally, I don't see why they don't just ask the NSA for the data. They obviously must have backup copies. TIA and all. Hell, they don't even need a warrant right? Because Bush said he wants to get to the bottom of this, and he's a man of his word, right?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on February 25, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds more like Patton lost his marbles.

Posted by: ogmb on February 25, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

She reached for the phone and accidently hit the delete button. It was 14 minutes later that she realized she had erased the most important of the e mails.

Posted by: Matt on February 25, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Now - if the White House uses a derivative of MS Outlook, it's possible for the central repository to have not been backed up properly and the files could have been lost.

But everyone on the To or From list, may have saved some of the messages to a Personal Folders file. (I don't know anything about the White House policy on that, or whether users have that much administrative control over their email setup). It's very possible that the central archiving system could have lost the messages, but some of them could be saved on user's desktops or on network shares in .pst mail archive files. Those, in turn, could have been backed up to tape separately, and maybe it would take longer to recover those. I don't really know.

I do know that where I work, it's policy to auto-delete all messages on the server after 60-days. There's a central backup system that keeps the backup copies of the files on tape - essentially for 50+ years. I copy all of my inbox and outbox messages to .pst files, every single message for the past 5 years.

Now - here are some potential scenarios for failure of the backup system:

- Backups were made, but the data on the tape was bad, media failure, etc. (the old mainframe rule of thumb was to make three separate physical copies did they do this? Who knows?)

- Backups were made, but the tape cataloging system mislabled the tape, or the tape was taken for offsite storage and misplaced, etc.

- Backups were made, but the tape cataloging system's database got corrupted - possibly had to be reinitialized, so all old tapes become unmanaged.

- Backups were made, tapes were cataloged, data is good; but the mail storage file was written by an older version of the software, and the newer version doesn't read the older version, or can't search it effectively, etc.

- Backups were made, but the tape cataloging system was deemed old, and got replaced, and the new version of the tape cataloging system doesn't read the old version (maybe it's a different brand, or maybe the vendor's just a butthead and doesn't provide the capability to import tapes made by other vendors' software - all tape backup software vendors ARE buttheads, I worked for one).

So any one of a jillion things could have gone wrong legitimately. You know me - I'm normally the FIRST person to suspect Cheney and Libby are part of some evil secret worldwide organization to funnel public tax money into Swiss bank accounts of Halliburton investors. But in this case, I'm too unfortunately familliar with how bad the state of tape backup and archiving and document management systems technology is, so I know that it's very plausible that they lost the data.

Just as an aside:
#1 reason for the state of crappy tape backup software industry?
The FTC allowed too many software companies to buy eachother until the industry became devoid of competition. There are TONS of orphaned solutions out there. And this is definately an area where you don't want orphaned software. Let alone hardware (ie. who manufactures your new blank tapes, if your tape drive vendor got bought and his products discontinued? - your tape drive may still be functional in 10 years, your tape may actually be readable in 10 years, but can you purchase, at any price, a computer that has the same SCSI-1 interface your tape drive uses, 10 years later? Can you purchase a computer that runs the same operating system and tape backup software, 10 years later? - - - this is a really fucking important industry, and they've utterly dropped the ball, and they've been given free reign by regulators to be as irresponsible as they like).

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on February 25, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

For Al and Tbrozs: we've heard about the Rose Firm billing records ceaselessly, for years and years. How big will this story regarding the e-mails be? I'll tell you: It will be a total non-story. See the difference in how such stories are handled? Ever wonder why there's such a big difference on how these sorts of stories are handled? Ever get the feeling you're being led around by the nose? Maybe that ring-thingy is a clue.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on February 25, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, you blast one 78-year-old man in the face, neck and chest with a shotgun at close range, and Karl suddenly and magically finds those lost emails implicating you in the Plame outing. The ones you'd thought he and Libby had 'disposed' of.

It's like you can't even get loaded and commit a dangerous, embarrassing hunting accident anymore. You never hear the end of it from your buddies.

Posted by: BobT on February 25, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Patton shush. the grownups are talking now.

Posted by: cleek on February 25, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Dang...Cheney got it first. That's what I get for going for the painfully obvious.

yeah, never too hard to predict what a couple of moronic wingnuts are going to say in response to every Bush/Cheney fuckup--CLINTON!!!

Posted by: haha on February 25, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

"""I'd sure love to hear an explanation of how these emails were "lost" and then "recovered" again."""

THAT'S AN EASY ONE...THE SAME WAY YOU LOST YOUR MARBLES AND THEN RECOVERED THEM AGAIN:

Posted by: Patton on February 25, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry guys, this is just tooooooo good to pass up - even if ogmb beats me to it.

Clearly, Patton simply has not recovered his/her lost marbles.

Patton, this is probably going to follow you for the rest of your life. Kind of like Dan Quayle's "A wasted mind is a terrible thing". It must be the Kool-Aid.

Posted by: jcricket on February 25, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

document management systems used to archive email are pretty straightforward to use.

Every computer system that I have ever worked on was liable to intermittent failures. There is no guarantee, for example, that the backup tapes are always filed in the correct order, even though that's easy to do.

Posted by: republicrat on February 25, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I know I don't know nuthin, cept someone called ' Harry'(?) was asked to let Dick know that these emails turned up in Gonzales office. That was a week or so's back. Sound right to youse?

Posted by: professor rat on February 25, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Wingnuts believe that the outing of Valerie Plame was (1) justified by her husband calling attention to the fact that the Niger claims were false and (2) not orchestrated by Cheney's office.

Wingnuts also believe that (3) Valerie Plame was not really covert, and that she was a partisan Democrat who therefore deserved to be outed, and that (4)the Niger claims were not really false, and that even if they were, (5) the ends justified the means, the ends in this case being the invasion of Iraq. THey also claim that (6) regardless of any of the above, Cheney can do whatever he wants to do, and to call it into question is to help the terrorists. (7) Oh, and Clinton this and Clinton that.

I believe this is an accurate summary, but if I am wrong about this please correct me. That seems to be the essence of their claims, and they speak mountains.

Posted by: Ba'al on February 25, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

exucse! deflect! deny! do anything but admit the obvious!

Nothing is more obvious than that the system didn't quite work. Plenty of people have commented on this. Most likely, as others have written, the emails in question had been "deleted", and it took a while to find them.

Posted by: republicrat on February 25, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Jose:

Nice to see you've gotten a different hobby.

Sure, this is a non-story. That's never stopped Kevin before. The whole billing records bit would be even more of a non-story, if it wasn't for the fact that Hillary might be a front-runner for 2008.

Osama_been's pretty much nailed it. Fortunately, I only have to deal with my own system for data backups. Three different places, on hard drives. My laptop is essentially a clone of my desktop unit, although it doesn't have the heavy-duty CAD applications. Gave up on tape a long time ago. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to anyone who has to deal with backups for an entire office.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 25, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ba'al: It's filed with the missing 17 minutes of the Nixon tapes...

Hope that clears things up.

Already beaten to the obvious gag: Have Dear Leader look under the table. Damn.

Posted by: CFShep on February 25, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

cheney: give it a fucking rest, already. your (and wingnuttia's) everlasting obsession with all things clinton is so beyond the expiration date.

"The final report does contain a tantalizing reference to the missing Rose billing records that caused all of Washington to swoon in January 1996, when they were found in the White House. The theory was that Mrs. Clinton had concealed her billing records because they would prove that she had guilty knowledge of swindles by McDougal and others. They proved the opposite, confirming her testimony (and reaffirming information previously available in other copies of the same records). There was no conceivable reason to hide them, and even less motive for producing them suddenly at the beginning of an election year.

But Starr's successor, Robert Ray, could not resist the impulse to impugn her reputation one last time. So he includes a reference to three witnesses who claimed to have seen Mrs. Clinton carrying a box of what "could have been" a "rolled-up sheaf" of billing records sometime in July 1995. Actually, only two of these individuals said they saw her carrying any papers, and none explained how they would have guessed what the billing record looked like."

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=5809&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

Posted by: linda on February 25, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Did they send along that funny, funny video of Bush looking around the Oval Office - "Nope, not under there...Not under there either"?

Aaah ... almost 2500 dead....good times.

Posted by: Robert Earle on February 25, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of shoe closets, things just keep going from bad to worse for Katherine Harris. The GOP's 2000 Florida recount heroine is facing almost certain defeat in her upcoming 2006 Senate race, a campaign her one-time Republican backers in DC pulled out all the stops to prevent. Now comes the news that Harris accepted $32,000 in illegal campaign contributions from Duke Cunningham's bagman, Mitchell Wade of defense contractor MZM.

For the full story, see:
"From Bad to Worse for Katherine Harris."

Posted by: AvengingAngel on February 25, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

You know, Barney is small enough to have sniffed them out from where-ever they were....maybe he should be compelled to testify to the Grand Jury.

Posted by: jcricket on February 25, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Okay. Lame. I take it back.

Posted by: jcricket on February 25, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

A tape would be at least as easy to misplace as a set of billing files.

Glad to know the administration (in this post- 9/11 world) isn't any better at keeping track of things than a small Arkansas law firm, even when there are applicable federal laws.

I feel safer already.

Posted by: Stephen on February 25, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

linda,

I, for one, mistrust "explanations" that anything has been "mislaid" in the White House, under any administration. That goes for the Rose Law Firm records as well as Cheney's email. In Hillary Clinton's case, we were apparently talking many boxes of stuff; how could she not have a clue where it was? In Cheney's case, isn't this all multiply backed up? I should hope so. And I trust (ha!) that everything else surrounding the White House works just as efficiently.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 25, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

"I'd sure love to hear an explanation of how these emails were "lost" and then "recovered" again."

Sorry if it has been already brought up, but, between the "and" and the "then" you forgot a "rinse, lather, rinse, repeat"

Posted by: Sky-Ho on February 25, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but this admistration, with their record, has no right to the 'benefit of the doubt' anymore. The system didn't work? Fine. Prove it.

Posted by: TomStewart on February 25, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

In unrelated (but too funny not to share) news, Dan Savage informs us that the expression "pearl necklace" is out and "Cheney" is in.

Posted by: shortstop on February 25, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

The whole billing records bit would be even more of a non-story, if it wasn't for the fact that Hillary might be a front-runner for 2008.

yeah, some documents that exonerate her are gonna be a big issue in '08--well, it'll be big with the brain dead partisan Repub morons who have always hated her and won't vote for her anyway, even if she does run.

Posted by: haha on February 25, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hypothetical explanation for how they were lost and then found again:

The Libby team got word that Fitzgerald had somehow gotten their hands on some of the key emails through an independent source, and suddenly realized that they were looking at (more) obstruction of justice/perjury beefs, Consequently, they miraculously decided to find the lost emails.

I eagerly await results of testing of this hypothesis.

Posted by: Ba'al on February 25, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter trolls:

Clinton got away with stuff we didn't like, so our guys can do whatever they want to do and never get caught.

(When they should all be Cheneyed)

Posted by: Kenji on February 25, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing is more obvious than that the system didn't quite work

indeed. though i suspect you're talking about a different 'system'.

Posted by: cleek on February 25, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

The lost Rose Law Firm records concerned a bogus issue (Whitewater) trumped up by WaPo and the NYT, among others. The current loss of records involved the indictment of one of aWol's inner circle.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on February 25, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

CFShep-

This reminds me of the Nixon tapes also. Years ago I remember thinking that it was a shame that no White House will ever be foolish enough to record their conversations - wicked or benign - due to the example of Nixon. It pleases me to think that these conversations would be 'auditable' by responsible adults.

But now we have email, and no administration can afford to jettison it.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on February 25, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum wrote:

I'd sure love to hear an explanation of how these emails were "lost" and then "recovered" again.

That's easy...Cheney and his lawyer were interrupted editing the emails for incriminating content by that guy who stepped out in front of Trigger Dick's shotgun...

Actually, I can't decide between 'Trigger Happy' Cheney, 'Trigger Dick', or 'Happy Dick'...so far;

- Dubya is 'Dubya'
- 'Scooter' is good enough,
- Bolton is 'Shaggy', 'cause he reminds me of an older version of the cartoon character with a moustache, and
- I was going to call Harriet Miers 'Man-Hands', but then I ran into this photo and this photo that show what close proximity to the Bush family will do to your looks...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 25, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin....

the real question is where are the emails that went missing from the executive offices of the President ---- which still appear to be missing....

see, Fitz wrote this in regard to the missing emails...

we advise you that we have learned that not all email of the Office of the Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system.

but, according to the reports of yesterday's hearings, only email from the OVP was turned over....


Posted by: p.lukasiak on February 25, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Davis X. Machina informed us a few weeks ago:

After the disappearing -- and recovered -- emails in the '90's, electronic documents originating in the White House were placed under the same preservation status as paper documents, including no destruction without the approval of the National Archives, which is probably why, in 2004, in an unprecidented fashion, that office was suddenly politicized.

The Nation tells us: "This would leave a Republican appointee [as national archivist] in charge of not only the 9/11 Commission archives but all other Bush White House documents."

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky, you are out of date. The Big New Thing in system administration is called "document retention policy". System administrators are now responsible for assuring that the old stuff is gone, not available for recovery. Since it's illegal to destroy potentially embarrassing stuff after the subpeona arrives, it's important to get rid of it as soon as the business no longer needs it.


Even if the company is clean, this still reduces costs from the inevitable class action shareholder lawsuits that happen every time a public company has a bad quarter: the vultures always subpeona everything in sight to try to make a case that the insiders knew something that they did not reveal soon enough.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 25, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

... and suddenly realized that they were looking at (more) obstruction of justice/perjury beefs, Consequently, they miraculously decided to find the lost emails.
Posted by: Ba'al on February 25, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

If it were MY system, not only would we have those messages, but we would have an audit trail of who sent them, when, who read them, who did not, who deleted them and when, and whether someone tried to cover up the fact that they deleted them.

These are capabilities present in MS Exchange and Windows, as well as Linux-based systems, if the integrator is worth his or her salt, they're turned on when the system is delivered. Yes, they require buttloads more hardware to use properly than the base system - but if you haven't built the system with enough hardware to handle these kinds of tasks, then the system was improperly designed. It's very common incompetence, but it's incompetence. It happens when some dumbass salesweasel tries to SWAG at a cost, and lowballs it to make a sale.

(and yes, these capabilities exist in the system on which the Diebold voting machines are based - they just aren't turned on; it's possible that the hardware isn't sufficient to handle the extra load of electronic auditing. - it's also possible that the Diebold engineers aren't sufficiently skilled to know how to use them).

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on February 25, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky, you are out of date. The Big New Thing in system administration is called "document retention policy". . . .
Posted by: Joe Buck on February 25, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome to the wonderful world of Sarbanes-Oxley. And yes, I think it's a good thing; a VERY GREAT thing. Other IT folks have done nothing but bitch and whine about it since it was passed. But before that, they were bitching and whining about their Enron shares.

Unfortunatley, it applies to publicly traded companies only. The White House is a privately-owned corporation.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on February 25, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

A few weeks ago Patrick Fitzgerald revealed that a bunch of email from Vice President Dick Cheney's office had mysteriously disappeared.

Well, I know what Fitzgerald *said*, but I am less sure what he "revealed". From the correspondence that started it all:

"We are aware of no evidence pertinent to the charges against defendant Libby which has been destroyed," Fitzgerald wrote in a letter to the defense team.

But the prosecutor added: "In an abundance of caution, we advise you that we have learned that not all e-mail of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system."

How did he know emails were not preserved through the normal process? Were emails missing? Or had the archivists delivered them, but months later and with red faces? How did Fitzgerald know none were pertinent to the charges against Libby?

And how do we know the White House "looked harder" (per Kevin) after Fitzgerald's letter? Maybe the archivists were already looking for emails when Fitzgerald sent that letter; maybe Fitzgerald had already received the missing 250 emails but didn't feel like sharing that fact.

Or maybe Fitzgerald made a lucky guess about unconventionally archived emails. But I have a hard time believing that someone told him emails had been archived irregularly, but that no one was trying to retrieve them.

The current news story certainly does not date the delivery of the emails.

Well, not everyone will be worried about a lack of facts.

Posted by: Tom Maguire on February 25, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

6 year record, no liberal has come up with a substantive argument...just more name calling.

NO WONDER YOU GUYS LOSE EVERY ELECTION.

Posted by: Patton on February 25, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

The only way this case can end is for Valerie Plame and her husband to apologize to the Vice President for hurting his felling and causing him so much trouble.

Posted by: lib on February 25, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Oh well. ' hurting his felling' might work too.

Posted by: lib on February 25, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Patton shush.

Posted by: cleek on February 25, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

> Cranky, you are out of date. The Big New Thing in
> system administration is called "document
> retention policy". System administrators are now
> responsible for assuring that the old stuff is
> gone, not available for recovery. Since it's
> illegal to destroy potentially embarrassing stuff
> after the subpeona arrives, it's important to get
> rid of it as soon as the business no longer needs
> it.

Well, since I was involved in electronic document retention policy discussions in 1992, I tend to think I know what it is ;-)

However, the key element of the retention _policy_ is the retention _period_. In the case of White House documents of ANY type, I believe that by law the retention period is "forever". Of course, we know what Mr. Cheney thinks about the rule of law.

However, even in a corporate setting where e-mail is defined as a "non-official document" and retention is set to 30 days with no archiving (as was the case in one place I set up), I STILL tell people that e-mail is forever. In the situation I describe I would bet 1/3 or more of your coworkers are forwarding all their e-mail to a gmail account, so they have a searchable archive past the official retention period. My memory is now to the point where if I didn't have a search function I couldn't work, and I suspect most knowledge workers today are the same.

If you don't want it on the front page of the National Enquirer or the New York Times, or both, don't put it in e-mail.

Cranky

PS Private gmail accounts aren't allowed? Ha ha ha ha ha HA HA ...ha. I have some bad news for you....

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 25, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Maguire on February 25, 2006 at 4:42 PM:

How did he (Fitz) know emails were not preserved through the normal process? Were emails missing?

Maybe Libby kept his copies of the email messages and Fitz is trying to confirm that they were sent by Happy Dick's office.

Cheney says 'Email? what email? There's no email. Then Cheney is hit by Fitz with a list of the specific messages sent and suddenly the email experiences an archiving issue. Just a thought.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 25, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Jason Leopold had an article last week on Truthout and Rawstory saying that Abu Gonzalez has the emails, it seems that there might be something to that story I'd say.

Posted by: jerry on February 25, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

wouldn't you like to know what those e-mails looked like BEFORE they had a month to scrub them?

And a prediction: Fitzgerald will soon complain of heavy (as opposed to extraordinary) redaction of the e-mails.

Posted by: secularhuman on February 25, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Rose Mary Woods in charge of email archives.

Posted by: DMark8 on February 25, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

All you have to do is ask yourself two questions...

1) How did Fitzgerald know the emails were missing and from which specific offices?

2) What would you do as an attorney who has essentially just been told the data recovery team is vigorously at work?

Posted by: justmy2 on February 25, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Rose Mary Woods in charge of White House email archives?

Posted by: DMark8 on February 25, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Here is one way professionals look at backing up computer based data

Of course that doesn`t say anything about the folks at the White House; they give amateurs a bad name

"Everyday reality now is a complete fiction, manufactured by the media landscape and we operate inside it." - JG Ballard

Posted by: daCascadian on February 25, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Maguire: How did he know emails were not preserved through the normal process?

justmy2: 1) How did Fitzgerald know the emails were missing and from which specific offices?

Maybe prosecution witnesses and Cheney's aides, John Hannah and/or David Wurmser, kept CYA copies or knew that emails were scrubbed.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

I am sure those e-mails will be located in the same area where Hillary finally found her records from the Rose Law Firm. Let's see, e-mails or legal records, which of the two would be more important to keep? hmmmm........

Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe those emails are stockpiled with Saddam's WMDs.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 26, 2006 at 5:52 AM | PERMALINK

I think it was Colonel Mustard in the study with the candlestick.

Look, the time for speculation has long since past. The left needs to organize large, continuous 24x7 protests outside the White House and demand the impeachment of George Bush and Richard Cheney. Torches and pitchforks optional.

It is time for these criminals to be called out!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 26, 2006 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK

"Everyday reality now is a complete fiction, manufactured by the media landscape and we operate inside it." - JG Ballard
Posted by: daCascadian

I just read that the real way the ports story came to Dear Leader's attention was that a WH staffer was listening to Michael Savage,

That's fairly scary just on the face of it.

"Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
- George Bernard Shaw.

Posted by: CFShep on February 26, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK
Probably lost in the same place those Rose law firm billing records were. Posted by: Cheney
I am sure those e-mails will be located in the same area where Hillary finally found her records from the Rose Law Firm Posted by: Jay
It's nice of you two geniuses to remind every one that those billing records proved Hillary's innocence. Posted by: Mike on February 26, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

If I were Fitz, I'd be particularly interested in emails that are still missing.

Posted by: Brian Boru on February 27, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

The explanation is: "We've had time to scrub the e-mails and remove anything that would help convict Libby or hurt Bush, Cheney, or Rove."

It's spelled . . .

o.s.t.r.u.c.t.i.o.n. .o.f. .j.u.s.t.i.c.e.

And it is GOP SOP.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 27, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK
Can you purchase a computer that runs the same operating system and tape backup software, 10 years later? - - - this is a really fucking important industry, and they've utterly dropped the ball, and they've been given free reign by regulators to be as irresponsible as they like).

I can run new versions of Linux or the BSDs on some ancient hardware.

I've got most of my personal email backed up since 1993, and I have a shell script that can recover stuff just fine.

At work, where we are forced to use Windows, it's a different story.

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