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Tilting at Windmills

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April 11, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE DOG DELETED MY EMAIL....Oh please:

The White House said Wednesday it had mishandled Republican Party-sponsored e-mail accounts used by nearly two dozen presidential aides, resulting in the loss of an undetermined number of e-mails concerning official White House business.

Congressional investigators looking into the administration's firing of eight federal prosecutors already had the nongovernmental e-mail accounts in their sights because some White House aides used them to help plan the U.S. attorneys' ouster.

....[Spokesman Scott] Stanzel said some e-mails have been lost because the White House lacked clear policies on complying with Presidential Records Act requirements....He could not say what had been lost, and said the White House is working to recover as many as they can.

High school English teachers have been on to this kind of excuse for the better part of a decade now. Does the White House seriously think we're going to buy this?

POSTSCRIPT: Of course, there are always the RNC servers themselves. They ought to have these emails archived. Right?

Kevin Drum 8:19 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (216)

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Comments

Uhuh, right, of course that's it, after all, they had no way of recognizing contemporaneously that such a problem could possibly occur, no indeedy. *heavy sarcasm dripping from each word*

Posted by: Scotian on April 11, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Well shit, that question kind of answers itself, doesn't it?

Posted by: nota bene on April 11, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

We need to impound the servers and someone outside the White House needs to try to recover the emails. This is serious bullshit.

Posted by: jhe on April 11, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

> Does the White House seriously think
> we're going to buy this?

It doesn't matter if _we_ buy it, only if the traditional media buys it. So far they have; I believe Time Magazine has made an explicit decision not to cover GonzoGate but the rest of the trads are just not digging in. No digging = no Watergate.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 11, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

No one could have seen this coming....

Posted by: Disputo on April 11, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Of course they think we're going to buy this.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on April 11, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

No problem. Congress should insist that a qualified data recovery firm be hired, to recover "accidentally" deleted mail off of their servers.

Posted by: Joe Buck on April 11, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it worked in the Padilla case. If you can "lose" evidence in the highest profile and most controversial "terrorism" case in the country, why not a few emails?

Posted by: 88 on April 11, 2007 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and in the meantime, any hard disks in use for mail in the affected period should be taken offline and put under lock and key until the data recovery firm can go at it.

Posted by: Joe Buck on April 11, 2007 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

there should be records on other servers, the recipients', for example.

Posted by: Boronx on April 11, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

I smell a "Deep Throat II" moment coming...

Posted by: elmo on April 11, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Do you have any actual evidence that there's malfeasance here, or are you just rumor-mongering?

Posted by: Al on April 11, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, if they can't run a war, recover from a hurricane, or remember why they fired 8 US attorneys, what makes you think they can operate a mail server?

They are incompetent, QED.

Posted by: anandine on April 11, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

"""Do you have any actual evidence that there's malfeasance here, or are you just rumor-mongering?"""
That is old fashioned spin and does not work anymore my friend. Rumors? The POTUS is the author of this story. It is the White House that makes this claim. And just for giggles..do you think a WH claim of losing Emails on the up and up?

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you drooling fucktard. This entire thread is about how the evidence has been DELETED. Get it?

Posted by: Pat on April 11, 2007 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

E mails are not stored on servers unless the users opt to leave them there. I take bets that option was never taken.

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Do you have any actual evidence that there's malfeasance here, or are you just rumor-mongering?" -- Al

It's the Bush Administration, so yeah, pretty much case closed. Even their attempts not to be corrupt ("we used RNC emails to avoid the appearance of impropriety in conducting political activity on government property") are thoroughly corrupt. It's literally metacorruption.

Posted by: jonas on April 11, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Get the backup tapes, and if need be take the disks themselves in bring in the forensic geeks.

Posted by: bubba on April 11, 2007 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Richard,

If the user does not opt to leave mail on the server, it is deleted after reading, but this does not make the data disappear. Data recovery firms can often recover deleted files; many kiddie porn cases have involved data recovery firms.

Posted by: Joe Buck on April 11, 2007 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

fucktard? What the hell is that? No my fucktard expert..this is not about evidence YET! Its just about mail. Until someone can make a credible claim that the mail has 'evidence' it is just mail. If events prove that evidence was in that mail then we fucktards will do what ever it is fucktards do when fucked. Fucktard? is that a Dr. Suess creation?

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

If the emails are still sitting on the servers waiting to be recovered, then the WH is truly incompetent. My bet is that the data has been thoroughly wiped.

Posted by: Disputo on April 11, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

The First Rule of Holes:

When you are in a hole, stop digging.

The Republicans have repeatedly violated the First Rule of Holes, this being the latest example. As an experienced litigator, I can guarantee you that when the e-mails are recovered (and they will be), we will be able to make a persuasive case that some information found therein is the "smoking gun" that demonstrates a Rove-led plot. If the stuff had not been deleted in the first place, it would have been much harder to make the case, even with the same underlying evidence.

Posted by: Ephus on April 11, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Buck...me thinks the GOP / RNC folks know what a digital shredder is. That crap is gone and no one is going to get it...remember the Katy Harris 'formats' in 2000..its gone.

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Does the White House seriously think we're going to buy this?"

No, but I suspect they also don't particularly care. It's just another way of telling Pat Leahy to go fuck himself -- not as direct as Cheney's way, but it does get the message across.

I'm surprised they didn't try to tell us it was all Rose Mary Woods's fault.

Posted by: Peter Principle on April 11, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK
Stanzel said some e-mails have been lost because the White House lacked clear policies on complying with Presidential Records Act requirements

Er, yeah. "We 'lost' the emails because we didn't have a policy of obeying the law". That's obviously true: if the emails that were required to be preserved were lost, a policy of obeying the law requiring them to be retained either didn't exist or wasn't implemented. However, that's not a justification...


Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK
Do you have any actual evidence that there's malfeasance here

You mean, aside from the White House's admission that it had no policy of obeying the law, resulting in a violation of the law?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, we sure saw this coming. Congress had better get those hard disks under lock and key pronto, before the disks get erased tomorrow morning by some strange electromagnetic phenomenon so that even retrieval experts can't rescue them.

Posted by: nepeta on April 11, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

yes, of course we knew this is coming.

How many laws does this administration have to break before they are held accountable?

Worst. Administration. Ever. (this is a recording)

Pricks, the lot of them. I am really looking forward to Hawk, Normy and the rest of the Clowns make any claims to the "party of responsibility and accountability"

They don't give a rats ass about congress, the constitution or this country.

Posted by: Simp on April 11, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Acting as if the "emails got deleted" line works, what a riot.

Hey, if they're not on the RNC server, they're on someone else's computer somewhere.

And it's a guarantee they're on the NSA server.

"Deleted emails..." No such thing, folks.

Posted by: Slothrop on April 11, 2007 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

What reason would the WH need to out source its e-mails? The obvious thought is to keep the word traffic out of official channels and the scrutiny such channels incur. Perhaps they just wanted to save the taxpayer a few bucks. Better just shut down the Iraq war and give every citizen in the USA a Blackberry...I think we come out on that one.

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

You know, this was so obviously going to happen. Why didn't the justice committee do whatever they needed to do (in a legal sense) to get those RNC computers protected as soon as they found out about their use in the USA purge. Lawyers will have to tell me how this could have been done.

Posted by: nepeta on April 11, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

whitehouse has rosemary woods moment.

Posted by: ruckfove on April 11, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

And it's a guarantee they're on the NSA server.

I'll give you that they are probably on a top secret server somewhere, but that ain't getting subpoenaed.

Posted by: Disputo on April 11, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

The "Evidential" White House

I wrote before that I had always believed there was some upper limit on weirdness but the current WH is proving me wrong! This is just too funny. Al's comment is actually dead on. You have all the defenders saying (paraphrased) "there is no credible (actual) evidence of wrongdoing(illegal activity, criminal activity, etc.)".

I think you see my point. No one (outside of the WSJ editorial board, I think) is saying that what the DOJ did was good, desirable or ethical, but rather that we don't have the EVIDENCE to prove that it was improper. It's like a kid standing next to an empty cooky jar and wiping the crumbs off his lips while he retorts to his mom, "You don't have any video record of my stealing the cookies, do you?".

And this is the administration that was going bring 'honor and integrity' back to Washington!

James M.

Posted by: James M. on April 11, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

me thinks the GOP / RNC folks know what a digital shredder is.

I would assume that the use of such a digital shredder on White House records would be proof positive of an effort to destroy such records in violation of the law.

I want to see all of the documents related to the decisions to use the non .gov accounts. Someone had to make that decision, and if the documents are destroyed, they can explain it under oath, in a public hearing, to Congress. Don't see how that decision is covered under Executive Priviledge.

Posted by: Wapiti on April 11, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

POSTSCRIPT: Of course, there are always the RNC servers themselves. They ought to have these emails archived. Right?

Um, I don't know how closely you've been following this, but the RNC has already said their servers routinely delete emails after 30 days. But don't worry! The RNC swears they're making an exception for these emails!

Posted by: Mr. P on April 11, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

whitehouse has rosemary woods moment.

Posted by: harpo on April 11, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

"""Hey, if they're not on the RNC server, they're on someone else's computer somewhere."""
I doubt it but: you would need at least one of those mails to do a thread chase and my guess is that chase happened a few days ago by the GOP'ers. Those mails have been wiped cleaner than a Princess's ass. Folks - no one believes these assholes anymore except the pathetic 30 percenter's. The mails don't need to happen. Bush has lost his groove and no one..NO ONE is going to believe that this is an honest mistake. Perhaps the unknown character of it will provoke human nature...and folks will just think the worst.
Look what these guys are resorting to... Sit back and get some popcorn. This is better than Kracken.

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

I thought that it was impossible to truly delete emails. How does that work?

Posted by: Susan on April 11, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

"""I would assume that the use of such a digital shredder on White House records would be proof positive of an effort to destroy such records in violation of the law."""
Nope Nope Nope...these mails were on private servers and their content will remain unknown. No way you can make that allegation unless you have one of those mails.
This is not a clever move by Rove and the bois. Sure they thought it was but they thought the flight suit, the stroll and a host of fake impressions were going to work. They aint got any mojo anymore. Rove actually never had any skill at all. Look at the box he has put Bush and the GOP in. Mails will not be found so American's will just have to imagine their content. I have my ideas..what about you?

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

They can subpoena the servers themselves, can't they?

Posted by: cld on April 11, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK
Why didn't the justice committee do whatever they needed to do (in a legal sense) to get those RNC computers protected as soon as they found out about their use in the USA purge.

They did.

The problem, however, is that they likely found out far too late. Of course, none of this would have been an issue if the White House wasn't breaking the law to start with.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

We would be completely happy to deliver the e-mails in question, except, by a tragic circumstance, they went down the wrong Internet tube and were permanently lost. Please consult our Internet expert, Ted Stevens, for an explanation.

--

Posted by: marquer on April 11, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

The key quote from the story:
"Even though that was changed in 2004, so that the White House staffers with those accounts were excluded from the RNC's automatic deletion policy, some of their e-mails were lost anyway when individual aides deleted their own files, Stanzel said."

So the retention policy was nothing, since anybody could just delete mails anyway.

Might be they are trying to confuse the issue, by referring only to the user visible deletion & purge standards, rather than the internal system policy.

Posted by: MobiusKlein on April 11, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK
I thought that it was impossible to truly delete emails.

It is difficult to do so in a way that guarantees that they won't be found by dedicated search and forensic analysis, both because actually deleting files is difficult, and because emails tend to travel over many systems, unencrypted, in their lifetime, giving lots of points from which they can be potentially recovered.

But when you want all of a particular person's email from a given server, if they have made a dedicated effort to erase it from the main server it is hosted on, the task of collecting all those emails and examining them is made far more difficult, and the probability of recovering all of them intact is not great, though a dedicated hunt with enough resources will probably find some of them, through some combination of looking elsewhere and forensic examination of the server. At least, that's my understanding.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

"""I can guarantee you that when the e-mails are recovered (and they will be),"""
You close to Florida? lets make a bet on that.
If you are an Attorney then you must appreciate what a dependent does with digital evidence that you DON'T KNOW ABOUT. He kills it then tells you what he needs to escape it being seen as something he hid. That means he gets rid of it in a manner that thwarts any forensic method known to retrieve it. If necessary he just sinks the hard drive into that Patomac.
The GOP'ers were in complete control here. They had days to get their stephford IT techs on this and you can bring a boat load of "attorney" stuff into the issue but they body is gone. You are going have to first prove a crime was committed and you aint got jack to do that. Yup it stinks to high hell around here but the shit is gone.

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Your link just takes me back to Kevin's post. I read the BG article and still don't see what I would have liked to have seen, i.e., that the RNC servers were put under subpoena or at least put under protection until the issue could be investigated further. Are we just miscommunicating?

Posted by: nepeta on April 11, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Forensic computer experts consistently state that, with the right effort, just about anything can be recovered from a hard drive. Even when things cannot be recovered, there are traces, bits, pieces, etc. there that, at a minimum, indicate the previous existence of the items and their characteristics. If this is really true, and it sure appears to be, then the clear cut violation of the Presidential Records Act serves as an unassailable predicate for the seizure of the appropriate computers and hard drives from the Administration. They should be so seized and analyzed; they will either show evidence that confirms the emails and documents in question were there and erased, including WHEN they were erased, or alternatively it will result in a finding that hard drives were replaced with clean ones in an attempt to obstruct justice (and an attendant conspiracy case that would boggle the mind). Substantive criminal evidence results either way, and the public is entitled to the discovery of that evidence. There is no legitimate basis for the Administration to refuse this either; the predicate crime has been directly admitted by them already, and this places the matter beyond executive privilege under Nixon v. US. This is simply not politics anymore, that canard is over; this is criminal behavior that strikes at the heart of our democracy, open and accountable government. The time has come to investigate and prosecute; end of story.

Posted by: bmaz on April 11, 2007 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Nope Nope Nope...these mails were on private servers and their content will remain unknown. No way you can make that allegation unless you have one of those mails.

Richard: I think that with one email (such as the ones that turned up at the DOJ document dump), Congress can say: "show us the archives where this record, that you are required to keep by law, exists."

Err. It's on the RNC server. Which was wiped.

"Who made the decision to archive it on the RNC server. Who made the decision to wipe it in violation of the law."

It can get ugly/entertaining pretty quickly. I think the RNC IT guys should avoid small planes.

Posted by: Wapiti on April 11, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Hubby just explained 'disk cleaners' to me. The cleaner goes over all info (stored in 0's and 1's) and changes them all to their opposite numbers. After a whole bunch of iterations no one can get to the original. BUT it is clearly evident that a disk has been 'cleaned' so at least the crime, in this case anyway, wouldn't be so easy to explain.

Posted by: nepeta on April 11, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

> just about anything can be recovered
> from a hard drive

Please describe your understanding of how a big email system works. Thanks.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 11, 2007 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

I came here about an hour ago and searched for "prosec" and "investi" and there was nothng since KD's post, no that there weren't some intimations, until now.

Yes! The RNC computers need to be sealed and there should be a complete investigation of the whole rotten bunch. There needs to be a special investigator leading to prosecution. In a nice way, of course.

I'm going off to e-mail my reps, senators and the judicial oversight committees. You?

Posted by: notthere on April 11, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

"""Richard: I think that with one email (such as the ones that turned up at the DOJ document dump), Congress can say: "show us the archives where this record, that you are required to keep by law, exists.""""
Huh? The RNC is not required to keep E mails 'by law' unless ordered not to destroy. The document dump may well point to mail but that mail is gone and if it was dumped prior to congressional order not to destroy..or after but in a way that spoofs earlier deletion..ITS GONE and no law can be pranced about to deal with it! RNC mail is private..like that mail we don't want the NSA snooping into..PRIVATE MAIL. My man, the gist of this thing is the WH used this mail system in order to avoid the scrutiny it's official channels are subjected to. See a bigger picture here? Why do you think the Judy Miller and the journalists were dragged into role playing positions in the Plame crap? Its the same thing. Journalists are granted certain privileges that Government Officials are not...like being able to hide sources and being largely unavailable to the courts. Thats why Judy and thats why RNC mail servers. Rove just thinks this stuff is cool ( using tools outside of official circles) and being of such a low brow intellect he does not see the possibility of being figured out.

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

"""Forensic computer experts consistently state that, with the right effort, just about anything can be recovered from a hard drive. Even when things cannot be recovered, there are traces, bits, pieces, etc. there that, at a minimum, indicate the previous existence of the items and their characteristics."""

http://www.top-shareware.net/secure-deletion.html

These work. But so does just cloning the hard drive with mails deleted and dumping the original hard drive into a dumpster.

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going off to e-mail my reps, senators and the judicial oversight committees. You?

Already did, and now I'm off to post about it and encourage everyone who stops by to do so too...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 11, 2007 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

For the curious.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_wiping

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

It will come down to 18 missing E- mails

Posted by: apeman on April 11, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Please describe your understanding of how a big email system works. Thanks.

It depends on a lot of things -- backup policies, and how full you run your disks. My brother does IT at UFla Med School, said that there was a Novell server that ran its free blocks FIFO, and with sufficient free space, he had online undelete going back about three months (before he even had to consider backups).

I know when we had a drive with some bad blocks, and only did a quick format (i.e., not detecting and avoiding the new bad blocks), we ran for months before we finally got around to using those bad blocks (when we were sad again).

If every last person involved knows what they're doing, then those files are gone, but all it takes is one accidentally preserved backup tape, or one laptop where the deleted bits aren't being wiped, and you've got your evidence. Of course, to be sure of finding it, they'd have to impound all the servers, as well as all the machines that were used to send email to the RNC. Might take a while to scan all those disks, too.

Posted by: dr2chase on April 11, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

If they just deleted the files, the data should be easy to recover. That is because when you deleat a file, you don't get rid of the data, only the name of the file.

To really erase the data you have to use a program that writes over it a number of times with random data. There is no reason for doing this unless you are trying to hide something.

Posted by: bobo the chimp on April 11, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

someone gonna be gettin a medal of freedom

Posted by: paulo on April 11, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Folks - no one believes these assholes anymore except the pathetic 30 percenter's. The mails don't need to happen. Bush has lost his groove and no one..NO ONE is going to believe that this is an

It's the cult of 'toughness'.

In November of 2000, remember, these were the people who were telling us that the GOP deserved to win because they were prepared to do anything to win.

These are the people who told us that democracy is for pussies.

honest mistake.

The 30-per-centers will point to this not as evidence of a crime, but as further evidence of Junta Boy and his handlers' fitness to govern.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on April 11, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

In outrage, I am just wondering if I should be going somewhere else?

GSA? Supreme Court? Who has oversight of the President staying within the law.

Tell me and I will write.

Posted by: notthere on April 11, 2007 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

fucktard? What the hell is that? No my fucktard expert..this is not about evidence YET! Its just about mail. Until someone can make a credible claim that the mail has 'evidence' it is just mail. If events prove that evidence was in that mail then we fucktards will do what ever it is fucktards do when fucked. Fucktard? is that a Dr. Suess creation?

Posted by: Richard on April 11, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Richie, I was talking to Al. But since you asked, a "fucktard" is what your mother always yells at me. Hmmm. [Deleted]

Posted by: Pat on April 11, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

> If they just deleted the files, the data
> should be easy to recover. That is because
> when you deleat a file, you don't get rid of
> the data, only the name of the file.

You might want to read

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filesystem
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storage_Area_Network
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undelete

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 11, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't every piece of email in the US now being sucked up into the NSA? Why can't we get it from there? (altho i bet we'll find GOP email wasn't being spied on)

They need to be found in contempt of Congress immediately, and they need to be arrested for destroying evidence.

Posted by: amberglow on April 11, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Tell me and I will write.

Might a suggest a letter to the editor?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 11, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK
Posted by: Pat on April 11, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Obstruction of justice and willful violation of the Presidential Records Act added to articles of impeachment. Ignorance is no excuse. I believe they coined that phrase. You knew this was coming. And how is it that Rove is not in prison already? He must have a file system like J Edgar Hoover. And of course the Imus lunacy is all the NSN is ranting about.

Impeach.

Posted by: Sparko on April 11, 2007 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Err MSM. As if it matters though. SOBs.
Couric caserole.

Posted by: Sparko on April 11, 2007 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

[Kevin is not the one moderating you. It's really simple - If you don't like it, don't post here.]

Posted by: Pat on April 11, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry. There'll be something else to indict, convict, and embalm these traitors with any second now. At the Bush level of absolute corruption, Rove can't fart without the compound breaking of more laws. Not that he gives a shit. He's too arrogant. But the clock is ticking. And everyone within smelling distance is going down. Turdblossom indeed.

Posted by: repug on April 11, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

LOOK -- over there -- the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby identified!!

Posted by: Doofus on April 11, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Is it censorship if the item had no intellectually redeeming value in the first place? Your complaints, Pat, are trees falling in a forrest that few here hear or care about.

Posted by: bmaz on April 11, 2007 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Please describe your understanding of how a big email system works. Thanks.

I would be glad to.

First of all, my downfall in 1994 started because we DID NOT DESTROY the Compaq servers in the server room of the company that I was managing. Number one was for applications, number two was for E-mail and number three was for limited data storage. Had we gotten a tip that the Feds were going to raid our offices and seize that server, along with several hundred boxes of documents, I would never have been a guest of the prison system or a convicted felon. I'm not proud of these things but because I simply don't care what any of you think of me, I will continue.

On the day we were raided, I was roaring drunk by 9 AM, I was making off-hours trades with our market partners in Japan, and I had three major acquisition/liquidation deals pending that would have cleared me a significant amount of income had we been able to bring in all of our low hanging fruit. Some firms are given 24-48 hour notices or tips that the Feds are going to turn them inside out. We received nothing of the sort. The business community let us down. I saw the first phalanx of Federals come through the lobby and I thought, well, they're going to take out the lawyers on the 8th floor who were defending the power company. This was the first time my instincts failed me. I turned over a few bookcases, jammed a desk against a glass door, moved as quickly as I could, to no avail. Despite the fact that I was able to take a fire axe to the server, and get off three or four significant chops at the equipment, a Federal investigator sent the hard drive to some company called "On Track" that restored the drive and was able to produce the files that ultimately incriminated me.

When the investigators go after the White House, I hope they remember that simply causing physical damage to the server is not enough. They need to burn the equipment, pour battery acid on it, and submerge it in a caustic substance. I highly doubt saltwater would do the trick.

This whole thing strikes me as another non-scandal in the making. Until someone can explain how using E-mail is a crime, I refuse to believe this is anything more than a bunch of liberals acting like they found another Fitzmas that never was.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 11, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, could you censor Pat? I want to see him cry.

Posted by: John Emerson on April 11, 2007 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

I think just to be fair the censor should sign their work, e.g.,

Deleted by Tinkerbelle.

Posted by: cld on April 11, 2007 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

bmaz on April 11, 2007 at 9:22 PM

I hope you are right and full speed ahead. Isn't it time for a special prosecutor?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 11, 2007 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Richie, I was talking to Al. But since you asked, a "fucktard" is what your mother always yells at me. Hmmm. [Deleted]

If that was what was left, I am terrified of what was actually deleted.

Who let the unhinged liberal have a computer? Are they giving them away free these days? Or did a truck full of them overturn outside of another trailer park?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 11, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks. But leave fake-Norman up.

Posted by: John Emerson on April 11, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, as a systems admin, I know I keep good backups. I bet the admins who run the RNC mail servers are a bunch of anal retentive bastards (like all sysadmin), and could very easily be THE WHISTLEBLOWER THIS COUNTRY NEEDS TO IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT. Please, please, I beg you, on behalf of humanity, come forward. Save the world from this guy.

Posted by: Jim on April 11, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

The House and Senate should subpoena the head of the NSA and tell him to bring with him ALL the emails from the GOP sites that they undoubtedly have recorded. No will not be an answer or budgets will get axed for NSA.

The Congress cannot tolerate this 'we lost it, I can't recall it, I have no conscious memory of ever having a memory of that' response from BushCo. Those who answer less than adequately should be impeached by the Congress (impeachment works for any officer of the US).

Posted by: JimPortlandOR on April 11, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13 - I think it just might be.
Norman Rogers - Without commenting on how deep or big the crime turns out to be in the end, the admission by the Administration today of the "gone" data is open and shut violation of the Presidential Records Act. You can quibble about how big a crime it is, but it is pretty clearly a crime.

Posted by: bmaz on April 11, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Man--I love the fake Norman. That was compelling Enron Freaking Kafka stuff.

I think we are at about the Inkitatus moment for Caligula W. Bush, aren't we? This whole disaster is getting a bit out of hand.

Posted by: Sparko on April 11, 2007 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

They emails had to disappear.
There really was no other option.

Otherwise the Bush crime family's naked hostility to democracy and democrats would have been utterly exposed.

Too bad.
It'd would have made great reading.

In fact, it would have made Nixon's paranoia seem benign.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on April 11, 2007 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Huh? The RNC is not required to keep E mails 'by law' unless ordered not to destroy.

Mar. 26, 2007, ThinkProgress:

Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) issued letters to the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Cheney ‘04 Campaign directing them to preserve all emails by and for White House officials, and to meet with the committee about the legal issues involved in conducting official government business using partisan email accounts.. From Waxman’s letter:
The e-mails of White House officials maintained on RNC e-mail accounts may be relevant to multiple congressional investigations. For this reason, the Committee directs you to preserve all e-mails sent or received by White House officials using e-mail accounts under your control.
In addition, the Committee requests that you or your designee meet with Committee staff during the week of April 2,2007, to discuss the following five matters:
– Who has access to the e-mail accounts maintained by the RNC; […]
– What steps have been taken to preserve the e-mail accounts maintained by the RNC that have been used by White House officials;
– What assurance can the RNC provide the Committee that no e-mails involving official White House business have been destroyed or altered.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 11, 2007 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

"On the day we were raided, I was roaring drunk by 9 AM, I was making off-hours trades with our market partners in Japan, and I had three major acquisition/liquidation deals pending that would have cleared me a significant amount of..."

Would somebody please cut Ward 9's internet connection?

Sheesh.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on April 11, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

All the geeky speculation is interesting, but I think it's beside the point.

-- Who would be doing the impounding and the forensics? Might it be, say, Alberto Gonzales' Justice Department?

-- How long would it take to actually impound all the equipment? How many subpoenas served? How many claims of privilege litigated?

-- And then what? What if a vaguely incriminating email is recovered? What then? Demands that Karl Rove resign? Claims of "politicization"?

-- Presuming something is discovered, how long would it take to organize an investigation, find targets, indict them, and prosecute and convict them?

The only practical route here is to make the COVER-UP a POLITICAL crime. Forget the evidence, forget the emails, forget the Hatch Act or the Presidential Records Act or any other Act. The cost is too high, and the benefit is too distant.

COVER-UP! COVER-UP! COVER-UP!

Posted by: bleh on April 11, 2007 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

The other day I suddenly realized who Norman actually is.

Won't say who. Just putting it out there.

Posted by: cld on April 11, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

e-mail is still a relatively new technology. Is unlikely that the law has completely caught up to it, so we can assume there's still some gray area there.

My cousins a Novel Networker. He says instances like this come up all the time at his company. People delete emails all the time. Theres a gray area.

Posted by: egbert on April 11, 2007 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Richard wrote: "Until someone can make a credible claim that the mail has 'evidence' it is just mail."

There is evidence that mail that went through the RNC servers was, in fact, pertinent to the investigation of the fired attorneys, since one of the document dumps from the Justice Department contained such mail.

"What reason would the WH need to out source its e-mails?"

There actually is a valid reason -- so that private and campaign mails go through private servers rather than government servers. That they set this up is not at all unusual. That they appear to have transacted so much government business through this system is.

"Huh? The RNC is not required to keep E mails 'by law' unless ordered not to destroy."

They are, in fact, required by law to keep official government e-mail intact.

Posted by: PaulB on April 11, 2007 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Without commenting on how deep or big the crime turns out to be in the end, the admission by the Administration today of the "gone" data is open and shut violation of the Presidential Records Act.

Hounding good people out of public service is a crime as well. Wonder when we'll start prosecuting it.

The other day I suddenly realized who Norman actually is.

I'm a good Republican and a member of several service organizations. I am a citizen and a patriot and an agent for truth. When you figure out who you are, throw it out there but don't share it.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 11, 2007 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Dear little egbert, as predictable as ever, writes: "e-mail is still a relatively new technology."

No, dear, it isn't. It's been around for decades. You really should try to keep up.

"Is unlikely that the law has completely caught up to it, so we can assume there's still some gray area there."

Alas, dear heart, you are, as usual, completely wrong. The law has, in fact, "caught up to it" and there is no gray area.

"My cousins a Novel Networker. He says instances like this come up all the time at his company. People delete emails all the time. Theres a gray area."

No, dear, there's not, but it's not too surprising that you're desperate to push this angle. Better luck next time.

Posted by: PaulB on April 11, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Dear little Normy, just as big a troll as ever, writes: "Hounding good people out of public service is a crime as well."

Dear heart, people who break the law and then break the law again in an attempt to hide the fact that they broke the law are, de facto, not "good people" who are performing good public service. As such, the sooner they are "hounded from public service," the better.

Posted by: PaulB on April 11, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Dear heart, people who break the law and then break the law again in an attempt to hide the fact that they broke the law are, de facto, not "good people" who are performing good public service. As such, the sooner they are "hounded from public service," the better.

Wait, love--weren't liberals crying in their drink over the "politics of personal destruction?" One man's "lawbreaker" is another man's President Clinton.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 11, 2007 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

cld, I have been trying to figure it out myself. email me your guess?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 11, 2007 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

cld, I have been trying to figure it out myself. email me your guess?

My guess is that the person doing Norman is Colonel Mustard in the Library with a candlestick...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 11, 2007 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Back in 2002, when Hans Blix, Mohamed El Baradei, IAEA, UNMOVIC & teams of UN weapons inspectors were unable to find ANY evidence of the Iraqi WMD stockpiles which the Bush Administration declared unequivocally were there, Donald Rumsfield famously pronounced:

"An absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This always seemed to me as elegant a piece of sophistry as Rumsfield's more famous "known-unknowns" haiku, if an utterly specious rationale for war. Nonetheless, given the suspiciously evident absence of documents re: USAs, it'd be poetic justice to repeat Rumsfield's dictum fairly often, to his cronies, about now. It'd be particuarly apt when noting each evidentiary absence: every missing e-mail, every deletion, each data shredding & all hard drive replacements.

Tellingly in this instance, the systematic absence of evidence provides damning evidence of conspiracy & obstruction.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on April 11, 2007 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

wow. that's the best Norman ever. Are you sure it's fake? will Real Norman emerge to duel fake Norman? Was Real Norman ever real? tune into this thread later to find out! and in the meantime, don't forget to email your congressional representatives about the current administrations deplorable attempts to subvert law and order in the pursuit of raw political power at any cost! Secrest out!

Posted by: URK on April 11, 2007 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, egbert - I see that you have gone beyond naming the voices in your head, and have started ascribing them spots on the family tree, and you are giving them little jobs, I see. That's nice.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 11, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers >"...weren't liberals crying in their drink over the "politics of personal destruction?"..."

All 3200+ American military deaths are part of said "politics of personal destruction" and, yes a**wipe, that IS going to be part of the settling up of accounts. You have NO clue as to what is coming down.

It is fairly certain that NSA has copies and I would bet that there are several "backups" stored away for "insurance" if you will.

You think the folks that "play" at that level behave in an amateur fashion ?

BWAAHA HAHAAHAAAAA

"...you cannot save your face and your ass at the same time..." - vachon@shadrach.net

Posted by: daCascadian on April 11, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Norm, whatever you do with that candlestick in the privacy of your own library is none of my concern...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 11, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

After URK's post at 11:21, I have the theme song to Soap running through my head.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 11, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

daCascadian - But these people do have their heads in their asses....

Posted by: bmaz on April 11, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Norm, whatever you do with that candlestick in the privacy of your own library is none of my concern...

How do you unhinged liberals always manage to turn innocuous comments into filth and degradation? Wait--I've got the answer. It has to be the Hormones.

Watching you moonbats celebrate a conviction for a crime that never was is hilarious. Fitzmas, Fitzmas, Fitzmas.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 11, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

dC - I said much the same thing on another topic earlier tonight in a post on my site.

There is a reckoning on its way was how I put it.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 11, 2007 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

egbert: "My cousins a Novel Networker. He says instances like this come up all the time at his company. People delete emails all the time. Theres a gray area."

Ah, egbert, you cheap and slutty Republican troll -- the only "gray area" is between your pointy ears.

If there's an excuse to be offered by this ongoing bait-and-switch RICO violation known as the Bush White House -- no matter how implausible, and no matter how unreliable -- you're right there with your mouth agape to swallow it, just like the proverbial sloppy-drunk sorority girl at a "Freshman Rush Weekend" on Fraternity Row.

Your dubious talent for excusing the egregious and ignoring the obvious might account for your breed's current popularity amongst your fellow sorry-assed wingers in D.C., but also renders you nothing more than one pathetic excuse for an American.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, Belting Trolls Over the Right-Field Fence and Out of the Park on April 11, 2007 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Norman, I'm not insulted when you call me Hormonal. That, at least, has the advantage of being true...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 11, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Norm, it's the destruction of the personnel I have such a big god-damned problem with.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 11, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

There's been a good deal of speculation that a competent IT professional could have got enough of these emails sufficiently wiped that it would be difficult to reconstruct some/most of them, which may be true. The assumption here is that Rove and those closest to him would have access to personnel not only possessing that level of expertise, but also willing to throw in with a very serious conspiracy to obstruct justice, knowing all the legal jeopardy that comes with it. Remember also that if the data really is wiped, it'll be extremely obvious that an affirmative effort was made to do so, and any IT people with the capacity to wipe it will be in front of some major investigations.

The bottom line is I'm dubious that this same bunch of clowns that gave us an unbroken string of policy disasters over the past six years are suddenly going to become skilled forensic data disposal experts. They're not that smart, and even if they were they wouldn't have the expertise available among people willing to be part of the conspiracy.

I think they're claiming the emails are lost as a delaying tactic, knowing eventually all this shit is going to come out, but hoping to run out the clock so they can be as close as possible to the end of the administration before it does. In any case, given the likely amount of outright criminality that the full emails will show, there's no way they're going to easily give up the data. Whether there's any hope of winning or not, they're stave off defeat as long as they can.

The animal is trapped and cornered. It's baring its teeth and making as much scary noise as it can, but everybody knows the end is not far off.

Posted by: jimBOB on April 11, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

As an intern here at Washington Monthly I can tell you the Norman issue has been a vexing one for us. At first we put up with his boasting and bragging and unseemly revelations about his personal affairs in the name of free speech. But after a while it got bothersome and distracted from productive discussion so we banned him from the threads, which many people remember.

But then after a time he returned and started posting again, just as bold as ever, and our further attempts to ban him failed. No matter how many times we banned him he'd return with the same IP address and continue chattering away about the depth of his portfolio or his Latin pool boy.

This was perplexing, and the Washington Monthly IT staff had no explanation. How could this individual be defeating our filters? Finally out of desperation we began coordinating with various service providers to determine how and where the posts were coming from not only to stop Norman but plug this security leak and to prevent potential abuse by other posters.

We finally traced the origin of the IP address with the help of Verizon, who provided us with the address. So one rainy evening just as dusk was settling in we set off in the gloom with our umbrellas down Wall Street in New York City, until we came to the corner of Broadway. The Verizon techs told us that corner was where the signal was originating from. We headed toward historic Trinity Church, favorite haunt of privateers from Captain Kidd to Gordon Gecko, a place where those who'd devoted their lives to the getting of wealth could go to salve their conscience and portray themselves as respectable members of society. We walked around the church until one of us noticed a cable box on the side of a building with something hanging from it. As we got closer we noticed it was a fiber optic strand, and it was not only hanging but appeared to go directly into the ground.

We looked around and suddenly realized with a shock where we were...for we were in the cemetary of Trinity Church, final resting place to pirates and tycoons and captains of industry, and the loose fiber optic cable that is the origin of the Norman posts went directly into the ground between the grave markers....

Posted by: Moderator #37 on April 11, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

bmaz >"...But these people do have their heads in their asses...."

Self evident that they ARE amateurs.

I was thinking of the folks at the NSA and related organizations; few, if any, amateurs in those ranks.

HE HE HE HE HE

ROFLMAO

BGRS(aka G.C.) >"...it's the destruction of the personnel..."

Indeed it is, all those faithful trusting souls

“Once you start a project, amazing people start to join” - Major Nate Allen

Posted by: daCascadian on April 11, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

i've been saying this for days now on comment threads:

they're conducting business from blackberries. this means that it traveled over the cellular network. law enforcement is routinely able to get old sms and location data from cell phone providers. check with them.

Posted by: rageahol on April 11, 2007 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Moderator 37,

What?

Did you copy that straight off the dustjacket of the film "National Treasure?"

And, please. The loonies Charles Peters is paying to work in downtown DC are usually face down in a pool of their own crusted vomit at this hour, shades of having the beer bong explode during those parties at college where everyone ended up with peanuts stuck to their flesh when they woke up on the linoleum.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 12, 2007 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

...Theres(sic) a gray area.

Posted by: egbert on April 11, 2007 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Donald's wrong, of course. If there was a gray area between your ears you wouldn't write the dross you do. And you never fail to write doo.

Posted by: notthere on April 12, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

jimBOB >"...The animal is trapped and cornered. It's baring its teeth and making as much scary noise as it can, but everybody knows the end is not far off."

So true.

Now the job is to close the circle ever so slowly, taking all the time necessary to do the correct things so the complete mess is cleaned up with no loose ends. Patience is the key.

"The first lesson of democracy is not to hold the public in contempt." - Ronnie Earle

Posted by: daCascadian on April 12, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Norman...was that where you were working after your experience with the 1961 Yale women's basketball team? The one that didn't exist back then?

Posted by: jrw on April 12, 2007 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Kurt Vonnegut has died.

I'll leave you moonbats with that somber thought.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 12, 2007 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Sunnuvabitch.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 12, 2007 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

"The bottom line is I'm dubious that this same bunch of clowns that gave us an unbroken string of policy disasters over the past six years are suddenly going to become skilled forensic data disposal experts. They're not that smart, and even if they were they wouldn't have the expertise available among people willing to be part of the conspiracy." - JimBOB

I'm sure they can hire the expertise from whatever dark alley they choose. Let's hope their disk cleaning has been as sloppy and as obvious an inside job as their Niger forgery was.

Posted by: nepeta on April 12, 2007 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

BG/RS-now I have that theme in my head too.

And
Vonnegut passed and i have to hear it from Norman? Ahh...I'm too sad to even Smartass about that.


Posted by: URK on April 12, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

"“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

From God Bless You Mr. Rosewater.

We could do worse than to follow this advice...

Posted by: URK on April 12, 2007 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Someone should call Steve Ellis at +1.202-863-8670 or his sysadmin at -8651 to ask:

   	Domain Name: GWB43.COM
   	Registrant: 
   	Republican National Committee 
   	310 First Street SE
   	Washington, DC 20003
   	Administrative Contact, Technical Contact :
   	Republican National Committee 
   	dns@RNCHQ.ORG
   	310 First Street SE
   	Washington, DC 20003
   	US
   	Phone: 202-863-8500
   	Fax: 202-863-8851

Domain Name:RNCHQ.ORG
Created On:02-Jul-1996 04:00:00 UTC
Registrant Name:Republican National Committee
Registrant Street1:310 First Street SE
Registrant Email:dns@rnchq.org
Admin ID:6248954-NSI
Admin Name:Steve Ellis
Admin Phone:+1.202-863-8670
Tech Phone:+1.202-863-8651
Name Server:NS1.CHA.SMARTECHCORP.NET
Name Server:A.NS.TRESPASSERS-W.NET

Posted by: J on April 12, 2007 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Damn. Vonnegut dead and Cheney lives.

Damn.

Posted by: Disputo on April 12, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

BGRS AKA GC,

Sorry, but I had barely recovered from having sprained a nerve while taking a really huge dump in the pool to see if I couldn't get the boy to finger the innocent I knew he wanted to accuse when some representatives of the Fox network showed up and demanded access to my personal discretion.

I, of course, was coy. After all these years TV holds no fear nor temptation for me.

Their concern, I soon saw, was legitimate, and had the ring of cash; it seems one of their barrel-balled operatives had come loose from the pier and was threatening to bring himself to the attention of their insurance company.

That is, he was burning down the intertubes. Even more alarmingly, he had given up drink --cold sober. With a computer.

After many years in the executive wash room I couldn't help but be moved by the natural gravity of these people and their situation, and reminded also of the many times when I, too, could have used a friendly hand in those cold grey cubicles.

So, we'll see how well the charge card works for a few months, then, perhaps, revisit the question.

(But I do hear he's been buying up hurricane ravaged vacation land.)

Posted by: cld on April 12, 2007 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

IMO the whole scheme was designed not to archive anything, this may be the only fact discovered at the RNC by Congressional investigators.

Posted by: jerry on April 12, 2007 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

My cousins a Novel Networker.

Is that anything like a book club?

Posted by: Gregory on April 12, 2007 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Time to send in the FBI forensic data team.

Posted by: The Fool on April 12, 2007 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Sending e-mails to your various representatives is a fine idea, but also send one to the top.

The address is:

RICO
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 12, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

As little Shrub told his school 'marm, "Laura said to tell you that Barney has a v-o-r-a-c-i-o-u-s appetite - Geez, glad she wrote that down for me" - "Maybe, Harriet will tell me what it means"

Posted by: stupid git on April 12, 2007 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

> The assumption here is that Rove and those
> closest to him would have access to personnel
> not only possessing that level of expertise,
> but also willing to throw in with a very serious
> conspiracy to obstruct justice, knowing all the
> legal jeopardy that comes with it.

First of all, you can hire very knowledgable and experienced people to do just about anything somewhere in the world. I am sure Blackwater has top-level data people who could do this, and there are many to be found in Russia, Bulgaria, etc.

Second, these people don't think they are doing anything illegal. They think they are on a crusade (carefully chosen word) to readjust and rebalance government in the face of a liberal onslaught. Their good and righteous deeds will be undone if the evil (literally) liberals discover them too soon, so they are just taking the precautions that any Roman Christian would have taken.

Finally, e-mail administrators usually do not have access to their clients' mailboxes. If the RNC has a stated data retention policy that says e-mail is purged in 30 days (as many organizations do), and their clients have stated that they do not send e-mail subject to the Executive Records Act from their accounts, the e-mail administrators can just say "_I_ followed the law".

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 12, 2007 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

It was just in article on company email policies by Mathew Ingram in the Toronto Globe and Mail this morning that Bush has sent exactly 0 emails since 2001. Only other guy who did the same was Bernie Ebbers. Didn't work for him either.

0 emails! Not even, "Hi, Mom". The guy is corr-upt.

Posted by: Bob M on April 12, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Cranky,

We couldn't have said it any better

Posted by: Liddy, Erlichman and Halderman on April 12, 2007 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

First of all, you can hire very knowledgable and experienced people to do just about anything somewhere in the world.

If you know where to find them. We're talking Regent University graduates and such running all this. Also, it's not just a matter of wiping the data - you have to cover up the fact that you wiped the data, which is even harder.

Second, these people don't think they are doing anything illegal.

I think the whole reason they are trying to conceal their emails is because they know what they are doing stinks to high heaven, and that if it comes out they could go to jail. They may think they have some fundy-based moral justification, but they know that legally they're on real thin ice.

As to the final point, as many have noted above, a simple purge policy wouldn't be sufficient to wipe all the data. You'd need to actively wipe both data and metadata in multiple locations if you want to hide from a forensic investigation.

Posted by: jimBOB on April 12, 2007 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

> If you know where to find them. We're
> talking Regent University graduates
> and such running all this.

I doubt that very much. Rove, his staff, and his entourage may be evil but they are not stupid, and I would be willing to bet they get the right tools for the right job. Goodling may have been the right tool for Dept of Justice personnel vetting, but behind the scenes I think they have a very sophisticated operation staffed by very smart and experienced people. Evil, but smart.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 12, 2007 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Stanzel said some e-mails have been lost because the White House lacked clear policies on complying with Presidential Records Act requirements

Late to the game here, but isn't the Presidential Records Act in itself the clear policy?

Posted by: Stefan on April 12, 2007 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

they'll recover everything from the RNC servers folks.

cmdicely once would have given a good analysis on this...in the days before he went off the deep end.

as someone who has dealt extensively with document discovery, I can tell you that although every large organization or business (like the WH) has a document retention policy...none of them are perfect. the obvious surmise here is that the document retention policy was promulgated in one office (by relatively low-level legal people) which would have been almost certainly unaware of the use of RNC servers by high-level aides.

so far, what we've seen is pretty much analogous to every large scale electronic discovery that I've ever been involved in. you go to the client and say "here are the doc requests, here's what we've agreed to give them"....then you put together a filter list of key words and e-mail accounts and pull those files. you also try and pull the individual hard drives of the key individuals.
then you have a bunch of low-level attorneys review the stuff...most of which will turn out to be non-responsive. then you produce it.

then the other side comes back and asserts that you're hiding stuff...cause so and so also used hotmail and so and so used to use a different computer (which the client didn't bother to mention). you go the client and it turns out that that earlier computer had been recycled into use and their IT department doesn't have the foggiest clue who's using it now.

that's the way this stuff works folks, and there's usually nothing nefarious about it.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

ah, I know you don't do litigation.

no, the PRA is not a document retention policy.

a document retention policy is a specific guideline for employees on how to comply with the governing law. you really can't expect every secretary to understand the legalese. so, instead, you put together a policy that says you must archive one copy of every doc in this category and must not delete this category, etc.

electronic documents are always a bit of a puzzle. especially dynamic relational databases. and older attorneys (the partners actually runnign this stuff) almost never understand how these databases work and why they don't fit into traditional discovery format.

the definition of "business record" is also not clear-cut and often the subject of hearings within the discovery process.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

I would be willing to bet they get the right tools for the right job.

I'll take that bet. The talent pool to run the RNC is exactly the same one they tapped to staff the CPA in Baghdad, and that was supposed to be one of the administration's top priorities. These guys know how to run a dirty campaign, but as to actually executing anything difficult, I have yet to see them demonstrate any degree of competence.

Posted by: jimBOB on April 12, 2007 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Wow - two Nathan posts that I agree with 80%. Any sign of ice forming on the River Styx?

My disagreement is this: the letter and spirit of the Executive Records Act were specifically designed to prevent the scenario that is currently unfolding. I don't think you can plausibly argue that some brand-new low-level staffer wrote a brand-new data retention policy just for the W Bush Administration that just happened to (a) discard all previous policies since Bush the First (b) violate the Executive Records Act (c) upend all standard New Federal Employee Training requirements.

Also, isn't the Army Signal Corps responsible for electronic security in the White House? I would think their officers' rotation schedule would not coincide with elections; what do those officers have to say?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 12, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, there are always the RNC servers themselves.

Server meet Mr. Really Large Magnet.

Posted by: ckelly on April 12, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

cranky, I'm not suggesting that.

but was the use of the RNC accounts not envisioned in the existing document retention policy? I think that's quite likely.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

but isn't the Presidential Records Act in itself the clear policy?

It's really more of a "guideline"

Posted by: Pirate on April 12, 2007 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Bullshit. Bullfuckingshit.

As an attorney, no records deletion can stand legal scrutiny unless it is a corporate policy of purging all emails after they reach a certain age. Only that sort of policy can withstand a charge of obstruction of justice or willfull spoilation or destruction of evidence. If some emails survived and some were deleted, then it was willful.

If the WH sent emails through the RNC servers, then they had an obligation to inquire with the RNC to make sure that those emails were saved. If the WH knew or didn't care if the RNC had a global records purging system then the WH is on the wrong side of conspiracy to violate the presidential records act. Pick your poison.

Impeach Bush AND Cheney simultaneously.

FYI, no conection to Ann.

Posted by: coltergeist on April 12, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

put differently:

a. virtually every corporation bans the use of non-corporate e-mail accounts for corporate business.

b. people do it anyway.

c. this always poses immense difficulties in the document production process.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

coltergeist is simply wrong.

once there is a possibility of litigation, then documents must be preserved....although like I said, dynamic relational databases just don't work that way (but that's not what we're talking about here).

beyond that, there are specific record keeping requirements in specific contexts (as in this case...which technically isn't a litigation and not subject to the standard rules of civil procedure as far as I can see).

if I had to speculate, the use of RNC e-mail accounts was either against official policy...or simply not contemplated by existing policy (probably the latter). it would be the job of the WH records office to ensure that policies were followed...my guess is that they weren't even aware the RNC accounts were being used.

nevertheless, they should be able to recover the RNC e-mails over the next week or so.

now if someone was using a yahoo account...or somesuch...now you have problems.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Nathan,
I agree with your 11:04, except (1) this was the Office of the President (2) in the post-Watergate era (3) under the Executive Records Act (4) and I don't know, but am willing to wager 10% of a paycheck, that there is required training in records retention for all new Executive Branch employees (e.g. Karl Rove and his chief-of-staff).

It is beyond belief that people who claim to be intelligent, educated, and experienced enough to staff a US Presidental Administration would just "forget" about 1-4 above.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 12, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

> ...or simply not contemplated by existing
> policy (probably the latter).

I agree that Congress needs to subpoena those policies ASAP, along with previous versions from the Clinton and Bush I Administrations.

However, I strongly suggest that the policy is

"all executive records must be preserved",
not
"all e-mails in the Stupid System must be kept (wink, wink)".

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 12, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

cranky,

higher-up-people in any organization never pay personal attention to document retention policies...they just hand it off to their secretary and say "take care of this."

the problems always start when said executive never bothers to mention to his secretary (usually not wilfully) that he occasionally uses his aol account for business.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

cranky:

1. document retention policies are always one of the first things requested in discovery. I'm sure it was. (older doc retention policies are probably not responsive.)

2. I don't doubt that it's quite possible that one or more of the people using RNC accounts was doing so as a way of avoiding doc retention...but I do think that probably some were doing it for convenience. mixed motives most likely.

3. the reason why doc retention policies go on for pages of specifics is because the definitions of "executive", "records" and "preserved" are not clear-cut.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

the problems always start when said executive never bothers to mention to his secretary (usually not wilfully) that he occasionally uses his aol account for business.

Are you insane? The Feds look at everything. They get court orders to look at everything. Prosecuting mob members, for example, shows they don't care how one tries to hide their communications--they'll get everything from a judge. They don't differentiate between the telephones one uses, do they? They don't differentiate between the office phone, the home phone, the business cell phone or the privately owned cell phone, do they?

You're a preposterous little fool.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 12, 2007 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

furthermore, older doc retention policies (i.e. Bush I's and Clinton's) almost certainly did not cover electronic documents very well. a lot has happened in the legal world to clarify the definition of "document" only in the past couple years.

heck, e-mail usage wasn't even widespread until the late 90's.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

High school English teachers have been on to this kind of excuse for the better part of a decade now

Make that "better part of a century."

Posted by: erm on April 12, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers, we're talking about civil litigation...which you know nothing about. so back off.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

but I do think that probably some were doing it for convenience.

Karl found using his RNC mail "more convenient" 98% of the time. Right.

Posted by: jimBOB on April 12, 2007 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

heck, e-mail usage wasn't even widespread until the late 90's.

Yes, you are insane.

The Feds seized 16,000 E-mails from me--all from 1994. There were 21,000 E-mails from 1993.

E-mail was widespread in the early to mid-1990s. I began using various forms of E-mail well before 1990. Can't anyone play this game?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 12, 2007 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Although this story will likely be getting a lot of play in the days to come, I'd still encourage anyone to contact their congressmen and keep the heat on.

Posted by: eisenreich on April 12, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers, we're talking about civil litigation...which you know nothing about. so back off.

Excuse me, but "civil litigation" is the very least of the problems faced by the good people in the White House right now.

We're actually talking substantive knowledge of actual policies and we're talking about a thing foreign to you called "reality."

Telling me to back off is so infantile, sir. Can I expect a little "push back?" Are you gonna cite your law degree now? Barrister, you know far less than you think, and probably no more than a bug on my windshield.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 12, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Want to find them e-mails,Charge Rove for somthing, not sure what yet,And make sure the only way to clear his ass is if he only had those e-mails,Presto there they where all the time.To simple.

Posted by: john john on April 12, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Norman Your with the Mob cool,Hey i,ve been chatting with people from the Mob.Hey mom i got connects with the Mob,this is so cool.My English paper is going to get an "A".

Posted by: john john on April 12, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

jimBOB:

I have no clue what Rove's motives were. but it's pretty common for people not to want to give up their old email accounts...especially when they're continuing the same line of work. in fact, the very fact that Rove used his RNC account almost exclusively is exonerating. (one or two of you is bright enough to figure out why.)

as for Norman Rogers, most people were not using email in the early to mid-90's. period. many executives today still do not (they have their secretaries print out emails that they receive)

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

What a fascinating thread for so many reasons, not least Norman's glorious contribution at 10:29 last night, and a great Nathan/ny patriot embarrassment in the making. Oh, and everything else being discussed, too.

What's going to happen when everyone ever connected with RNC IT gets subpoenaed? What will those fine folks have to say when their own asses are on the line?

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

OK, now I see why cmdicely and I were having problems communicating upthread. When I suggested that Waxman and Leahy should have gotten 'protection' for those RNC servers as soon as they got wind of their use by WH aides, I didn't mean writing a letter requesting that all e-mail be preserved. I meant some sort of real 'physical' protection. These guys can deal with an obstruction charge (or would it just be contempt of congress?). Another low-level employee takes the fall.

Posted by: nepeta on April 12, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

The RNC servers have to have them archived better, cuz there's campaign donor gold in them thar e-mails.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on April 12, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

"we're talking about civil litigation"

Then why does it sound like the Mob in the Pizza Connection?

Posted by: Bob M on April 12, 2007 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

the very fact that Rove used his RNC account almost exclusively is exonerating.

You owe me a new keyboard.

Posted by: jimBOB on April 12, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK
…I began using various forms of E-mail well before 1990. Can't anyone play this game? Norman Rogers at 11:24 AM
Unfortunately, you have a history of lying

... * Commercial Email. In 1988, Vinton Cerf arranged for the connection of MCI Mail to the NSFNET through the Corporation for the National Research Initiative (CNRI) for "experimental use", providing the first sanctioned commercial use of the Internet. Shortly thereafter, in 1989, the Compuserve mail system also connected to the NSFNET, through the Ohio State University network.
* Online Services. In 1993, the large network service providers America Online and Delphi started to connect their proprietary email systems to the Internet, beginning the large scale adoption of Internet email as a global standard….

http://www.livinginternet.com/e/ei.htm

…, the very fact that Rove used his RNC account almost exclusively is exonerating….Nathan at 11:33 AM

The law is clear and the fact that the RNC made special computers and accounts available to the Bush administration proves that false. The was a clear attempt to circumvent the law.

Posted by: Mike on April 12, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney is alive? This is news. How do you define life?

Posted by: Stewart Dean on April 12, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

OK, Nathan, here you go. From Froomkin:

Said Stanzel: "I guess the bottom line is that our policy at the White House was not clear enough for employees."
But when I asked Stanzel to read out loud the White House e-mail policy, it seemed clear enough to me: "Federal law requires the preservation of electronic communications sent or received by White House staff," says the handbook that all staffers are given and expected to read and comply with.
"As a result, personnel working on behalf of the EOP [Executive Office of the President] are expected to only use government-provided e-mail services for all official communication."
The handbook further explains: "The official EOP e-mail system is designed to automatically comply with records management requirements."
And if that wasn't clear enough, the handbook notes -- as was the case in the Clinton administration -- that "commercial or free e-mail sites and chat rooms are blocked from the EOP network to help staff members ensure compliance and to prevent the circumvention of the records management requirements."

Clear enough for you?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 12, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Leahy calls lie to White House claims of lost email
"You can't erase e-mails, not today. They've gone through too many servers," said Leahy, D-Vt. "Those e-mails are there, they just don't want to produce them. We'll subpoena them if necessary."…

Posted by: Mike on April 12, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

"As a result, personnel working on behalf of the EOP [Executive Office of the President] are expected to only use government-provided e-mail services for all official communication."

Well, there's your problem right there. In Bushspeak, "official" means "stuff we don't mind people finding out about" and "unofficial" means "everything else, or 95 percent of what we do all day."

You just have to be hip to the tribal lexicon.

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

cranky:

you'll note that I suggested up the thread that WH personnel were probably prohibited from using non government e-mail. that explains why the WH records office wasn't archiving the non-government email usage...they didn't know about it.

so, yes, it means going to the RNC servers..as I suggested. I'll also note that the DOJ can't just walk over to the RNC...this will have to be negotiated with attorneys for the RNC...filters will have to be selected and the RNC attorneys will have to review the e-mails..etc.

It's gonna take a little while (in the legal world this would take 6 months to 2 years...I imagine that they'll do this in a week or so).

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

you don't get why this (sort-of) exonerates Rove. (he's clearly in violation of WH policies...but that doesn't appear to be a criminal offense.)

put simply...the fact that all of his e-mail routinely went through his RNC account indicates that he simply used it for convenience (his address book, old emails, etc.)...after all, Rove has always been a Republican political operative...and his job was fundamentally the same after the election as before.

now, someone who used WH email 99% of the time and then only sent emails in one specific category through the RNC account....well, that's circumstantial evidence that they were trying to hide those e-mails.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, goody..."expert" analysis from Nathan! Bonus: He criticizes cmdicely and Stefan's legal acumen! It's too rich!

Posted by: Gregory on April 12, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

> you'll note that I suggested up the thread
> that WH personnel were probably prohibited from
> using non government e-mail. that explains why the
> WH records office wasn't archiving the
> non-government email usage...they didn't know
> about it.
>
> so, yes, it means going to the RNC servers..

Nathan,
Smooth slide past the violation of federal law (with no excuse due to the written policy) by the EOP employees there! Slick...

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 12, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

OK, Nathan, here you go. From Froomkin:

Excellent reporting by Froomkin. The other journalists on that conference call should be shamed they weren't the ones to ask those key questions. But then again, I suppose stenography is intellectually taxing...

Posted by: Gregory on April 12, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

as for Norman Rogers, most people were not using email in the early to mid-90's. period.

???

I just said that we were using E-mail. Within the company that managed, there was E-mail for every full time employee and it was used extensively to communicate. Further, we exchanged E-mails with clientele. What planet are you people living on? I used E-mail PRIOR to 1990. Is there any limit to the lying insanity of modern liberals? And when are you going to APOLOGIZE for lumping me in with the people who were defending that cretin Don Imus? You're the only one who has a track record of "lying," sir.

many executives today still do not (they have their secretaries print out emails that they receive)

You're ridiculous. As if you would know what anyone at the Executive level would actually do.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 12, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

of course, where this gets interesting is that I'm not aware offhand that the RNC is legally obligated to check its servers for a Congressional, non-criminal investigation.

cranky: its clear that some WH personnel violated records legislation. you're correct, as I noted. does anyone know what, if any, penalties, etc. may apply?

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

after all, Rove has always been a Republican political operative...and his job was fundamentally the same after the election as before.

Right-o! So let's say this actually has a mitigating effect on Rove's legal culpability in flouting the PRA (I'm not sure what excuse the others think they'll be using). What will this "But I was only being political 'cause that's who I am!" defense do for the WH/DOJ assertion that the US attorney firings, which are in fact what's being investigated here, weren't political?

Recognizing that some of these issues relate purely to legality while others are simple matters of public trust and party credibility, not to mention the old question of protecting the integrity of the justice system, I'd say: Gosh, it certainly is going to be hard for the White House to wrap up all these ugly dangling ends in a single, all-purpose bow of explanation.

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Gonzales: "The firings were not political."

Gonzales: "We had to use RNC e-mail because the firings were political."

Liar, liar, pants on fire . . .

Posted by: anonymous on April 12, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: I generally agree.

as a sidenote, I'm not saying that Rove will avoid legal culpability because he sent virtually all of his e-mails through his RNC account (though it might help in terms of any statutory rens mea requirement), what I'm saying is that it is exonerating in that it evinces that Rove himself was using the RNC account for convenience and not for some other nefarious reason. if he was trying to hide something he wouldn't have been using his RNC account for all of his email...that just implies "hey, everyone I work with already has my e-mail address so why should I change it?"

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

of course, if was to predict the ultimate course of this while thing:

the result will be the resignation of Gonzalez and a couple other DOJ officials (which has already started).

of course some of the firings were political (a couple appear to have been genuinely performance related). problem is, that's legal.

you're not gonna get Rove. (I'm not quite sure what the ire is with Rove...he's not Cheney. he's not setting policy..at least no more than Dick Morris was...he's just a very competent political operative...you're wasting time hating him.)

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

This sure makes it obvious (as if it wasn't before) that the Minions of Rove see no distinction at all between governing and getting re-elected.

AND it makes it obvious that the decisionmaking on the US Attys was political, even to them, since they used the system they had put in place to keep political actions from being taken on government equipment.

"there should be records on other servers, the recipients', for example."

I do believe that this is how they found out about the use of the RNC servers: emails they got from the DOJ were sent from the RNC servers. The problem is in getting the emails sent both from and TO RNC accounts, i.e. Rove to what's-her-face at the DOJ who took the Fifth and had to quit.

"The RNC is not required to keep E mails 'by law' unless ordered not to destroy."

Maybe not, but Presidential Assistant Karl Rove IS required by law to keep his emails related to offical government business. Now was the firing of the US Atty's "official government business"? See the above: no, it was not. It was POLITICAL business which is why it was being conducted over the RNC computers. This just makes it a little difficult for the White House to argue there was nothing policital about these firings.

Now, they MUST argue that the firings WERE political. Not that there's anything wrong with that (tm).

I see Shortstop just made this same point while I was reading through the comments and waiting to post until I had done so.

Good minds think alike!

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 12, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK
of course, where this gets interesting is that I'm not aware offhand that the RNC is legally obligated to check its servers for a Congressional, non-criminal investigation.

All Congressional investigations are, by definition, non-criminal, as only the executive branch conducts criminal prosecutions. The power of Congress to compel testimony and production, and the penalties for failure, are well established. The RNC has no valid claim that I can see of special immunity that I can see, off the top of my head, applying here. What, precisely, leads you to question the obligation of the RNC here?

its clear that some WH personnel violated records legislation. you're correct, as I noted. does anyone know what, if any, penalties, etc. may apply?

The legislation itself puts the responsibility on the President for retention, including establishment of necessary policies (see 44 USC § 2203). No penalty appears to be specified in statute for failure, but then that's not surprising since, while someone else might violate policies promulgated by the President in pursuit of his duties under the law, it is pretty hard for anyone but the President to actually violate the statute, and legal (vs. political) remedies would be largely ineffective, there.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 12, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

but was the use of the RNC accounts not envisioned in the existing document retention policy? I think that's quite likely.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Wrong.

According to White House Spokesman Scott Stanzel, quoted here, policy was exceedingly clear with regard to RNC and other accounts:

"Federal law requires the preservation of electronic communications sent or received by White House staff," says the handbook that all staffers are given and expected to read and comply with.

"As a result, personnel working on behalf of the EOP [Executive Office of the President] are expected to only use government-provided e-mail services for all official communication."

The handbook further explains: "The official EOP e-mail system is designed to automatically comply with records management requirements."

And if that wasn't clear enough, the handbook notes -- as was the case in the Clinton administration -- that "commercial or free e-mail sites and chat rooms are blocked from the EOP network to help staff members ensure compliance and to prevent the circumvention of the records management requirements."

Compliance is so vital that non-official email is actually blocked by the White House, and yet Rove and others went to extraordinary trouble to use it anyway.

Contrary to exonerating Rove, that shows just what lengths he went to in order to avoid potential scrutiny of his communications by legitimate authorities.

Posted by: trex on April 12, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK
of course some of the firings were political (a couple appear to have been genuinely performance related). problem is, that's legal.

Lying, under oath, to Congress about it, however, is not.

(Also, the specific political reasons may be illegal, even though replacing a US attorney for political reasons is not categorically illegal.)

Posted by: cmdicely on April 12, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: problem is, that's legal.

Sorry, but it is not legal, at least for some political reasons, such as obstructing cases against Republicans and improperly prosecuting cases against innocent Democrats.

It is also unethcial for any of the prosecuting attorneys involved.

Posted by: anonymous on April 12, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

From the WH press briefing this AM:

"Since 2004, the RNC has had a policy of excluding White House staff from their automatic deletion policy, which means that the RNC every 30 days has automatic deletion policy. Since 2004, it's our understanding, that White House staff who have political email accounts provided by the RNC have been excluded from that policy. And in terms of the double delete, what you're talking about is the user's ability, if they are sitting at their laptop, and decide that, 'gosh, I've got a hundred emails here that I just -- are cluttering up my inbox, I want to put them in the deleted file, and I right-click the deleted items to empty my deleted file.' It's possible, possible, that those records could have been lost...."

more here: Talking Points Memo

So, if WH staff e-mail had been excluded from the RNC 30 day delete policy, why isn't the e-mail on the servers?

Posted by: nepeta on April 12, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan/ny patriot: of course, if [I] was to predict the ultimate course of this while thing:

Those who don't remember, much less feel appropriate embarrassment, for the past...

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, they apparently haven't checked the RNC servers yet.

trex: reread, your cut and paste job doesn't say what you think it says. hotmail, gmail, yahoo, aol, etc. were firewalled from the WH. RNC accounts were not...specifically to avoid violating the Hatch Act.

more importantly, cmdicely has verified that there are no criminal penalties. the WH per se, did its job, they promulgated a document retention policy that covered all emails. if an individual violated this policy, the only penalty appears to be the possibility that the President may fire him/her for doing so.

as usual, cmdicely relies upon halftruths and misreadings to pretend that I'm wrong while he in fact agrees with me.

it was not illegal, period, for some U.S. attorneys to be fired for political reasons.

it is both true and banal that it is theoretically conceivable (albeit no proof has been found) that someone could have been fired for illegal reasons that were also political. but the mere fact that the justification for the termination of an executive branch employee is political is never illegal.

certainly, lying to Congress is an offense of course. like I said, I imagine that Gonzalez will resign when all is said and done.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop:

I confess that I don't get your "NY patriot" reference...care to explain?


I, of course, predicted the entire course of the Plame affair, with virtually 100% accuracy. is that what you're referring to?

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

trex: reread, your cut and paste job doesn't say what you think it says. hotmail, gmail, yahoo, aol, etc. were firewalled from the WH. RNC accounts were not...specifically to avoid violating the Hatch Act.

I think you're missing the part where Rove was given a Blackberry and a laptop in order to avoid violating the Hatch Act, and the other part where as the Deputy Chief of Staff, head of the Office of Strategic Initiatives and head of the Office of Political Liason his emails were required to be preserved.

And they weren't.

Karl Rove wasn't aware of document retention policy and the Presidential Records Act? For a big city lawyer you sound like you're straight off the turnip truck. All these guys do all day is sit around and devise ways to act outside the rules in total secrecy with total impunity.

Posted by: trex on April 12, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

trex:

um, no one has alleged that Rove's emails haven't been preserved.

it looks like we have a classic case of BDS here.

Posted by: Nathan on April 12, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

um, no one has alleged that Rove's emails haven't been preserved.

Yes, no one except the Bush administration:

Administration officials told the press yesterday that some of the lost emails may have been from White House senior adviser Karl Rove.
Posted by: trex on April 12, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

All these guys do all day is sit around and devise ways to act outside the rules in total secrecy with total impunity.

And all Nathan does all day is sit around and say the mendacity, incompetence, and corruption of the modern Republican party is just fine by him.

Notice Nathan's obstinate refusal to acknowledge that the White house's behavior doesn't have to be criminal to be an outrageous scandal. Nathan's palpable l;ack of outrage speaks for itself. Nathan's record of falsehood and idiocy in these threads (Nathan, ol' buddy, I wouldn't cite your record here if I were you; that you do is yet another reason I pity your clients speaks for itself. Last but not least, Nathan's invocation of the BS term "BDS" speaks for itself, and vanishes any remaining notion that Nathan is an honest commentator.

The only Bush Derangement on record here, Nathan ol' buddy, is your own in continuing to carry water for these pricks. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on April 12, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

its clear that some WH personnel violated records legislation. you're correct, as I noted. does anyone know what, if any, penalties, etc. may apply?

I smell a Medal of Freedumb!!

Posted by: ckelly on April 12, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Some insight into the Hatch Act excuse for using RNC email from Daniel Shulman's article in Mother Jones:

The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity while on the job. But, according to two lawyers I spoke with, both of them well versed in the details of that law, this rationale doesn't entirely hold water. A lawyer who works for the Office of Special Counsel, the agency charged with investigating Hatch Act violations, told me that Senate-confirmed presidential appointees as well as staffers whose salaries are paid from an appropriation for the Executive Office of the President are exempt from some of the strictures of that law and are allowed to engage in political activity. (No federal employee, however, is allowed to fundraise on the job, or solicit or discourage the political activity of people with business before their agencies.) And even if they weren't exempt, simply using a non-government email account wouldn't make any difference, the lawyer explained. "Using my personal account or some other email account that's not a federal email account would not remove me from the prohibition if I'm still either on duty or in a federal building."
Posted by: trex on April 12, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

daCascadian on April 11, 2007 at 11:23 PM
daCascadian on April 12, 2007 at 12:09 AM

Got it! Renders this entire discussion moot in many ways....except knowing that the RICO presidency will fall providing that patience and prudence is applied with a certain... I'll say no more. Heh.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 12, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Also, FWIW, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) is reporting that White House insiders have informed them that 5 million emails have disappeared from White House servers over the past three years, with no attempts to retrieve them.

5 million.

If true, I wonder how many of those related to current and future Congressional investigations of misconduct and possible criminal violations by this White House? Guess we'll never know.

You know, you just can't violate the Presidential Records Act enough if you're the Bush administration. Not to mention a few other Acts, Laws, and Articles.

Posted by: trex on April 12, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Norman,

Fair is fair in civil litigation - Nathan saw that ambulance leaving the scene of that bananna peel first.

Let Whiplash Willy have his day.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 12, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

White House loses five million emails.

Posted by: cld on April 12, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan is suffering from BIS (Bush Infatuation Syndrome) still, I see.

Posted by: anonymous on April 12, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

if I had to speculate, the use of RNC e-mail accounts was either against official policy...or simply not contemplated by existing policy (probably the latter). it would be the job of the WH records office to ensure that policies were followed...my guess is that they weren't even aware the RNC accounts were being used.

Nathan, I suggest you familiarize yourself with the basic reporting that has already been done on this subject, then your entire argument wouldn't be based upon wildly incorrect speculation.

Eg, the politicos in the WH using GWB43.com emails from the RNC were provided laptops by the RNC for exclusive use for their non-gvmtl work. Obviously, from the emails that have already been made public, this was not followed.

Posted by: Disputo on April 12, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

So, if, as mentioned above, the President is the only person who may be found in violation of the record's keeping act, is this not grounds enough, yet again, to impeach him?

They either lost these emails through criminal intent or negligence gone cosmic.

Posted by: cld on April 12, 2007 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

> more importantly, cmdicely has verified
> that there are no criminal penalties.

I doubt your interpretation, but granting it "arguendo": are you saying it is fine by you if employees of the Office of the President violate clear and unambigious Federal statutes, as long as that statute doesn't specify a specific penalty? Does this go along with "bringing dignity back to the White House"?

Also, there is that little issue of Karl Rove's salary and the 98% of his e-mail on RNC-owned servers. Was he spending 98% of his time in the office doing Republican Party work? Hmm - I think there is a law WITH penalties covering that one...

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 12, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

What is their defense in this? "Man, we are just complete fuckups, you know us, heh heh."?

Posted by: cld on April 12, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

I am just wonderting .....
... with all the relevant emails gone, and the derth of paper correspondance what
is chimpy going to fill his library with?

Looks like the building will only have to
be as big as a johnny on the spot!

Posted by: Optical Weenie on April 12, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm old enough to remember when the 18-Minute-Gap appeared. I don't remember if the headline was full-page or just a several columns, but it was big and it was above the fold on A1. The effect was similar to a car wreck with smoldering fire... when the gas tank suddenly lets go.

Scanning quickly across the online dailies and network news feeds today... I don't see anything remotely similar.

"A republic, if you can keep it."

We are f*cked.

Eddy


Posted by: Eddy Kilowatt on April 12, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Also, there is that little issue of Karl Rove's salary and the 98% of his e-mail on RNC-owned servers. Was he spending 98% of his time in the office doing Republican Party work? Hmm - I think there is a law WITH penalties covering that one...

That's a question I want answered. Didn't Gore once catch hell for making fund-raising calls from his VP office instead of walking across the street and using a DNC telephone? I don't care if the politicos in the WH are communicating RNC biz with RNC email accts using RNC owned laptops -- if they are doing this while in the westwing, they are on the public's dime.

Posted by: Disputo on April 12, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

with all the relevant emails gone, and the derth of paper correspondance what is chimpy going to fill his library with?

Haven't you heard? It will be primarily a wingnut think tank.

Posted by: Disputo on April 12, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan: I, of course, predicted the entire course of the Plame affair, with virtually 100% accuracy.

Prove it. With links. I dare you.

I, of course, have links and your posts ready to show that you are full of shit. For example, you were wrong about this:

4. This does explain why the Senate was rather incredulous that she didn't have a role in her husband going to Niger. If she was indeed head of operations for the JTF on Iraq WMD she would have had a part in that decision by definition.Posted by: Nathan on September 6, 2006 at 11:32 AM
Now would you like for me to post Valerie's sworn testimony to Congress about who the decision maker was (and it wasn't Valerie)?

And you, Nathan, also posted this:

john john, she hadn't been a NOC in years. Nathan on January 23, 2007 at 7:11 PM
You were wrong, Nathan. To the contrary, during her sworn testimony to Congress, Plame affirmed her covert status:
“In the run-up to the war with Iraq, I worked in the Counterproliferation Division of the CIA, still as a covert officer whose affiliation with the CIA was classified."
... and then she added this caveat, information that shows your previous claim that she had not been overseas as a NOC to be false:
“While I helped to manage and run secret worldwide operations against this WMD target from CIA headquarters in Washington, I also traveled to foreign countries on secret missions to find vital intelligence.”
Now run along back to your Rent-A-Shyster gig. Your words and assertions have been proven to be worthless virtually 100% of the time.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 12, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

I see Nathan is desperately spinning for Bushco yet again, doesn't the person running that alias understand by now that they have no credibility whatsoever thanks to their past record? Good grief, I mean this has lost even its comic relief value as miniscule as that was. Now Nathan is trying to claim accuracy in the Plame affair in his commenting on it as opposed to documented verified reality/facts? Wow, even for Nathan that is brazen, but then with those that know no shame that is no surprise, especially given his habit of getting personal when he cannot beat them with his screaming (since he rarely if ever has facts on his side to begin with let alone reasonable deductions and conclusions from aforementioned facts) that they are wrong because he and those he trusts to know what they are talking about (despite in some cases clearly having nowhere near the standing/credibility/resume to merit such regard) say so.

As to the issue this thread is about, I summed it up in my first comment at the beginning of this thread. This was clearly designed as an end run around records being kept to clearly protect "questionable" (to use the mildest most polite term possible to describe what I believe those docs to actually contain) conduct from examination once Bushco was out of office. These "accidentally lost" e-mails are no such thing, the only question in my mind is are they truly lost thanks to the dedicated attempts to erase/scrub them from all servers/hard drives that Congress knows to go after or are they still there but simply being held back for as long as possible to try and run out the clock. This is not a traditional political party running this WH as Americans have known such, no this is more as many have described it a criminal organization or worse resembling the old Soviet Communist party approach to running a country just not as far developed as they were in the USSR. Not that this isn't where the permanent GOP majority ultimately had to go, in a real democracy no party/group maintains power indefinitely the fickle public always wants change after a while even if only for the sake of change itself. I would say this is especially true of Americans, or I would have anyways before 2000, which shows just how much my own faith in the average American has been diminished.

Posted by: Scotian on April 12, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Now, let's be fair. Nathan did get one or two things right in the Plame affair, even if it was closer to 10 percent than 100. (Sadly, for him, numbers are finite. Like law, math was never his strong point.)

But let's say you had gotten most of the Plame business right, Nathan. From Brokeback box office to election results, you've gotten every other prediction/sweeping pronouncement you've made here wrong. Every single one. It defies odds.

How do you market yourself to potential clients?

"Nathan P. Barrister: He's never won a single case, but he prevailed on a couple of motions once!"

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

(Sadly for him...
Not: Sadly, for him...)

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK
more importantly, cmdicely has verified that there are no criminal penalties.

If you read what I actually wrote, "verified" is quite an overstatement.

the WH per se, did its job, they promulgated a document retention policy that covered all emails.

Wrong. The "White House", per se, has no job under the law. The President's obligation under the law is to take all steps necessary to ensure that documents are retained as required by the law. If the documents are not, in fact, retained, the President cannot, logically, have taken all necessary steps to ensure their retention, and therefore cannot have done his job as required by the law.

No, as to whether this failure is one for which Congress' power to impose sanctions ought to be exercised is, of course, a matter of debate. But what is manifestly clear and admits no reasonable debate is that the President failed in his obligation under the law.

as usual, cmdicely relies upon halftruths and misreadings to pretend that I'm wrong while he in fact agrees with me.

I have no idea on what point you think I agree with you, I have presented (and certainly you have identified no half truths), and I really can't understand your bizarre, but longstanding obsession for insisting I agree with you. Really, its creepy. Its like you are so obsessed with my opinion that you have a deep seated psychological need for to believe you have some kind of validation through my secret endorsement of your beliefs.

Please, get help.

it was not illegal, period, for some U.S. attorneys to be fired for political reasons.

You keep beating this strawman. The problem, Nathan, is that no one is claiming that it is illegal for U.S. attorney to be fired for "political reasons", as such. So you are desperately flogging a point that is not in dispute.

What people are claiming is that, among other things:
(1) Senior officials at the Justice Department, including Gonzales, appear to have knowingly made false statements about the firings under oath to Congress, which is illegal (criminal, even),
(2) There is reason to believe that the specific political reasons that some of the attorneys were fired were illegal, potentially criminal, and at least ethically dubious, which appearance is reinforced by the evidence supporting (1), above,
(3) There appears to be a deliberate, systematic, evasion of the Presidential Records Act that has come to light in the process of the investigation into (1) and (2) that interferes with the gathering of evidence sought in that investigation.

Now, some aspects of the conduct under investigation have at least the appearance of illegality. Some are merely apparently improper or unethical. Congress, however, is not a law enforcement agency. Its investigatory role when it comes to nonfeasance, misfeasance, or malfeasance is not limited to conditions which violate the Constitution or statute (indeed, one of its purposes is to identify conduct that calls for the need for new or modified statutes). Furthermore, to the extent it has the authority, in addition to changing the law, to apply sanctions, those sanctions are not available only where there is a penalty, criminal or otherwise, in the law.

Your rather tiresome attempt to focus on something which no one has claimed is criminal, and to attempt to dismiss the entire affair on the basis that that factor is not criminal is—while typical of your attempts to minimize the misconduct of this administration in the past here—utterly irrelevant to the actual issues involved here.

it is both true and banal that it is theoretically conceivable (albeit no proof has been found) that someone could have been fired for illegal reasons that were also political.

There certainly is not inconsiderable evidence from which one might infer a number of specific illegal purposes in some of the firings. It probably falls short of being "proof", but then this is the beginning of an investigation, and much of the important evidence is apparently, so far, unavailable because of the illegal destruction of official executive records by—and this is according to the explanation offered by the Administration and RNC mind you—senior members of the White House staff.

but the mere fact that the justification for the termination of an executive branch employee is political is never illegal.

This is, of course, inaccurate as stated: the termination of executive branch civil service employees for political reasons is often illegal. Yes, the bare fact that political appointees are terminated for political reasons is not illegal. This would be a compelling argument to offer if anyone was arguing the opposite. Unfortunately for Nathan, they aren't.

certainly, lying to Congress is an offense of course.

Since a large part of this investigation is about apparent lying to Congress and about responsibility for that (its not just illegal to be the one to lie directly to Congress, after all), I don't know why you act as if that is a small and tangential concession.

like I said, I imagine that Gonzalez will resign when all is said and done.

Hardly a point on which there is much disagreement, almost everyone outside of the administration seems to agree that that is likely. So?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 12, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: I really can't understand your bizarre, but longstanding obsession for insisting I agree with you

It's especially bizarre considering that Nathan attributed to you a point of apparent disagreement out of thin air, and then, challenged to support this assertion, insisted you'd said it, then said -- hi,ho! -- that you'd commented on a thread in which someone expressed that opinion, so you must hold it too.

Most revealing about that incident, as again here, is the extent Nathan will go to avoid admitting he's wrong. Which is sad, considering how often -- constantly, really -- he is wrong.

And he dissed your legal acumen in this thread, cmdicely -- that really is too rich. Shame on you, Nathan.

Posted by: Gregory on April 12, 2007 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan is also one of those folks who routinely insists that if it cannot be conclusively proved in a court of law, there's nothing there. In reality, there are at least three levels of bad conduct:

1. Conduct that is unethical but that is not illegal.

2. Conduct that is illegal but that probably cannot be conclusively be proved in a court of law.

3. Conduct that is provably illegal.

By focusing on level 3, Nathan ignores the very real problems of levels 1 and 2. Even if the Bush administration has not acted illegally, something that is highly doubtful given what we know and what we can deduce from the available evidence, it has nonetheless acted unethically and, therefore, deserves the condemnation that it is getting.

Posted by: PaulB on April 13, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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