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April 11, 2007

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All the more reason they should testify. In public. Under oath.

There must have been something really juicy in those emails to be worth the political damage of deleting them.

The AP says that under Clinton, people had separate equipment, but not separate accounts...

You know there's a sharp reporter on the case when they start out by answering the first question on everybody's mind: DID CLINTON DO IT TOO??? :)

Man. I hope they don't expect people to refrain from mocking this.

Mocking this would undermine faith in the president, which would undermine our troops, silly.

Does anyone believe the email actually did get lost? I sure don't. Not this early into the first real oversight they've ever had, not when they've been dragging their feet so hard about getting evidence to Congress. It seems much more likely that they stalled in order to buy time to do a sweep through the email.

And if I'm reading this correctly, they're not even claiming that the computer just kinda ate the data, they're claiming that some of their people didn't grasp that the records-retention rule applied to these "personal" accounts. Great.

Aren't a bunch of the computer-savvy folks at Redstate Republican Party operatives and water-carriers?

Maybe they could help the White House ferret out those emails, especially the ones sent to the Redstate servers.

We'll be reading these emails 30 years from now as they dribble out of the "CrushMyEnemies" wing of the Bush II Presidential Library.

I hope they aren't as anti-Semitic as Nixon's and God help us if these clowns follow women's college basketball.

Well, they'll have their own radio shows, like Gordon Liddy.

Yes, we should mock, as long as it doesn't take time and resources away from impeachment.

so, the RNC doesn't keep any backups ? time to fire the IT guy, if he couldn't do that part of his job.

We'll be reading these emails 30 years from now as they dribble out of the "CrushMyEnemies" wing of the Bush II Presidential Library.

I hope they aren't as anti-Semitic as Nixon's and God help us if these clowns follow women's college basketball.

Nixon did write a mean e-mail, didn't he?

Even if somehow the RNC database is nonrecoverable, nothing is stopping Congress from demanding the email database from every person in an address book in the Whitehouse, at least for email from the senders effected. A "lost database" is a great excuse for a much wider search through the email accounts of anyone connected to the database.

And you thought only the trip to China was ahead of its time.

I'm not sure about the suggested better system. Is it really better for them to be using government e-mail addresses and mail servers for their political communications, when it's not okay for them to use government workstations or phones? Of course a bigger question is how much time they're spending on campaigning rather than governing. Why should Karl Rove be paid with taxpayers' money at all?

cleek writes: "so, the RNC doesn't keep any backups ? time to fire the IT guy, if he couldn't do that part of his job."

Trust me. He'd be fired if he *had* kept backups. That's the whole point of aggressive non-retention policies.

Data storage is such a problem under Bush. That lost video of Padilla's last interrogation ... the audio of Mr. Slahi down at Gitmo, just when the events transpired which he alleged were actually his being tortured ... and now those e-mails.

Whatcha wanna bet that a good IT guy could find some stuff on those hard drives?

As a general rule, never accept this excuse. It's pretty much impossible to delete every copy of an email once it has been sent. And the wonderful thing about computers is that they are forensic paradise - if you really wanted to find it, a qualified geek could do it at most within a day.

Who here remembers Rose Mary Woods and her role in accidentally erasing a portion of the Nixon tapes?

My money is on lying.

The White House incompetents apparently think that just deleting the e-mails that they sent illegally on GOP or other servers will magically make them all go away. Get a couple of BOFHs out there to track them down. The "lost" emails might be quite interesting, maybe even an electronic Deep Throat.


Who wants to bet that the rnc mailserver is rosemary.rnc.org

It's pretty much impossible to delete every copy of an email once it has been sent.

Unless you set ALL of your clients up so they don't save the email locally. Even then it's hard. Point being, they are lying AND have put policies in place to keep the emails under wraps.

I'm still pretty shocked at this new turn of events. The details of the scandal will really determine how bad this one gets.

Funny, this is the same thing that sunk Ollie North and co. if I remember correctly.

Funny, this is the same thing that sunk Ollie North and co. if I remember correctly.

How do you shred an e-mail?

Inquiring (White House) minds want to know.

You hide them under your virtual Fawn Hall's clothes when she leaves her Second Life White House office.

Fawn Hall went to my high school, but it was a few years before I did.

There's another possible angle to the missing e-mails: Bush's Air Force One visit to Chattanooga on 2/21/07. The significance is that's where some of those e-mail servers live.

The visit was on fairly short notice -- about 2 weeks, according to TN law enforcement and the governor. Ie, around the time Depty. Atty. Genl. McNulty fanned the fire by claiming the AttorneyGate firings were "performance based". And Rove was apparently along for the ride -- if that wasn't photoshopped, too, some of the same people who co-host (or something) the servers were involved with a hoax involving Rove and their company logo.

Even if Rove wasn't there, Air Force One is a big jet, maybe someone else from the White House paid SmarTech or Coptix (the IT firms involved) a visit to verify how things were going, or direct how to proceed.

Lots of maybes, but worth pursuing I think.

If I were going down to do something physically to servers, wouldn't the very last thing I want to do be to arrange to fly on Air Force One, with the President on board, to do it?

I mean, there are easier ways to be inconspicuous.

But think of the style points!

Yes, Thomas, I think you're heading a little close to loony territory there. But we live in the era of Nielsen Hayden's Complaint.

You going to the march?

Is inconspicuous in the vocabulary of anyone in the White House?

OK, I know. But obviously, the trip was officially about something else -- the Bush health care voucher plan, as it happened. Turning it around, why go to Chattanooga, of all places, for that? I mean if the servers are there, and they suddenly decide to go there, doesn't that strike you as quite a coincidence?

Say you're Rove or some other major White House/GOP staffer, and you absolutely, positively needed to have a look for yourself at something or personally speak with someone in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I think you'd just about need an excuse like that trip to explain what the heck you're doing there, and not have your every move tracked by local journalists.

To me, Rove by himself in Chattanooga is "huh? what's up with that?". Rove with the president is not. He -- or other staffers at his level -- just don't have a way to be inconspicuous there.

It all fits, I tell you!

Re march: well, maybe - if you'll have me. :)

"Five Million Emails..."
/Dr Evil

    In a startling new revelation, CREW has also learned through two confidential sources that the Executive Office of the President (EOP) has lost over five million emails generated between March 2003 and October 2005. The White House counsel’s office was advised of these problems in 2005 and CREW has been told that the White House was given a plan of action to recover these emails, but to date nothing has been done to rectify this significant loss of records.

ovah heeyah

"OK, I know. But obviously, the trip was officially about something else -- the Bush health care voucher plan, as it happened. Turning it around, why go to Chattanooga, of all places, for that? I mean if the servers are there, and they suddenly decide to go there, doesn't that strike you as quite a coincidence?"

Absolutely not. The President commonly travels all over the country to make political points. Chattanooga is a large city, and it would be surprising for the President to not drop by at some point.

Servers also have to be someplace: someplace with access to an awful lot of cheap electricity, and allows for keeping the server farm cool; I'm quite sure the President has landed within fifty miles of a server farm innumerable times.

Now, if you'd asked me if I thought it possible or likely enough to be concerned about, that the White House might try to delete records in a deniable way, I'd say "yes, absolutely, fer sure!"

And if you asked me if the WH might send someone to a server farm, or other place, to try to do something about that, I'd say "you betcha, sure, I think that's entirely possible!"

But if you ask me, do I think a way to track that is by following the President's movements, I'd say that, while it's conceivable, a corollary would seem to be that the people in charge are the stupidest people in the history of covert actions evah.

Only someone with an IQ of about 50 would think it made sense to go down, on a covert, criminal, mission to Tennessee on freaking Air Force One, the most scrutinized way of travel in the world (okay, second to being on the space shuttle or a Russian spacecraft), rather than getting on the train, or most likely, taking a commercial flight (or possibly driving).

I can't imagine why anyone would do that, other than being missing of large chunks of their brain tissue, or an equivalent.

As I said: it's possible, because people do the stupidest things, at times, for various reasons, including arrogance, or a mistaken belief of some sort, and, of course, when speculating about mysteries or hypotheticals-that-might-be-real, there are always a variey of unknowns.

So it's possible. But it's literally the last place I'd think it made sense to investigate.

I'd look into White House slush funds, and any hints of any sort of sub rosa Plumbers Unit activity, first.

The most elementary lesson in Covert Activities 101 is to start with cut-outs. (Preferably they then create cut-outs, who do the same, and thus even the covert operators have several layers of insulation, as well as only communicating with their policy masters in covert ways.)

Similarly, trying to uncover Watergate wouldn't have been accomplished by watching Air Force One, or tracking the movements of the President, or of Haldeman and Ehrlichman, and neither would Iran-Contra have been found out that way, and those guys all did a terrible job of being covert. (Having your thugs, while doing black-bag jobs, carry address books with White House phone numbers in them: not a good idea.)

But who would suspect the president himself going to do the dirty job? Wouldn't that be the perfect cover? ;-) ;-)

"Say you're Rove or some other major White House/GOP staffer, and you absolutely, positively needed to have a look for yourself at something or personally speak with someone in Chattanooga, Tennessee."

Sorry, I sort of forgot the rest of your comment when I made the previous response.

I can sorta maybe barely kinda possibly imagine a mission on which only Karl Rove hisself has to go, because only he himself has the necessary Crucial Information to know which set of e-mails has to be deleted, and he can't give guidelines to anyone else....
you know, I'm trying, but it's pretty hard for me to see a way that makes sense, actually, I'm afraid.

I will allow that it's within the realm of possibility that there's conceivably some Magic McGuffin Information that Karl, and only Karl, can eliminate, and it's just impossible for anyone else to possess the necessary information as to what Must Be Done, but honestly, the odds of that being reality, and not a tv show, strike me as immensely incredible. Not impossible; just immensely incredible.

And the possibility that Karl must travel, himself, to Tennessee, for a conversation, and there is no other way he could communicate with that person: I can't figure out any way to make that make sense. Even a dying man could be brought an encrypted disposable cell-phone. The only explanations I can think of involve things like aliens, and alternate dimensions.

It's entirely possible I'm having a failure of imagination, to be sure. If anyone wants to suggest scenarios that they think plausible, please do so, by all means.

Seriously (and I'm not saying this is likely, but possible) they're all a bunch of arrogant clowns who might do almost anything without taking reasonable measures to cover it up? I can't come up with a story where Rove would have to travel on Air Force One personally to go do something nefarious, but that doesn't mean that he mightn't do it that way out of sheer indifference.

You might think that Cheney would have to be missing a piece of his brain to try that "zinger" during the debate, about never having met Edwards, knowing that he'd been on national television with the guy. Yet he not only tried it, he mostly succeeded. Commentators described it as a devastating line, and the fact that it was a blatant lie was mostly ignored.

"I can't come up with a story where Rove would have to travel on Air Force One personally to go do something nefarious, but that doesn't mean that he mightn't do it that way out of sheer indifference."

Yes, I agreed that it was possible, and mentioned as a possible reason, "arrogance."

oh, and speaking of 5,000,000 missing emails...

does anyone know if Fitzgerald is still technically "on the case" ? cause, i'm sure, were those emails to turn up, he'd be interested in looking at a few of them.

It might take someone of Rove's seniority to convince the hosting company to wipe this information. It is after all a pretty sketchy request, and I wouldn't be surprised if they secretly kept a backup for a rainy day.

Either way, there's more duplicates of these emails out there. There's the origin workstation, origin mailserver, potentially intermediate mailservers, destination mailserver, destination workstation. And potentially multiple automated backups of all those boxen. Many of the emails certainly went to multiple recipients.

Then there's handheld issues. Receiving/sending your emails on a Blackberry or somesuch device? More intermediaries.

Not to mention the NSA's copies of all the e-mail.

Kevin Drum is citing a report that the RNC has backups of all the missing emails, except for, umm, well they can't find Karl's.

With the previous emails related to the AG thing, it seems that folks like to blockquote entire emails and add a cheery 'Karl's idea sounds great!' So there should be lots of copies floating around.

As for Bush going down, perhaps he's gotten addicted to 24 or something like that, and the server folks were refusing, saying it was against the law, and it took Bush going down there and saying 'by the power vested in me by the people of the US, I order you to erase those emails damnit!' while the clock ticks and maybe Scooter Libby is being tortured in a DC court room. Meanwhile Jenna has her Argentinian boy-toy who is actually an AQ operative and Laura is threatening to topple the whole apple cart because the president has started drinking again and she's tired, damnit, of being left out of the loop.

All this sounds vaguely familiar and I'm not sure why...

5 million emails missing, and the problem known to White House counsel since 2005.

From citizensforethics.org :

"In a startling new revelation, CREW has also learned through two confidential sources that the Executive Office of the President (EOP) has lost over five million emails generated between March 2003 and October 2005. The White House counsel’s office was advised of these problems in 2005 and CREW has been told that the White House was given a plan of action to recover these emails, but to date nothing has been done to rectify this significant loss of records."

http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/27607

5 million emails missing, and the problem known to White House counsel since 2005.

They really, really never thought they'd lost the majority in Congress.

The fact that they did lose the majority is beginning to rank as one of our luckier historical accidents.

Only someone with an IQ of about 50 would think it made sense to go down, on a covert, criminal, mission to Tennessee on freaking Air Force One

Have you heard our president? I think 50 is pretty dang generous!

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