Skip to comments.White House aides' e-mail records gone (for 51 of the 88 White House officials - 8-o)
Posted on 06/18/2007 12:47:19 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - E-mail records are missing for 51 of the 88 White House officials who had electronic message accounts with the Republican National Committee, the House Oversight Committee said Monday.
The Bush administration may have committed "extensive" violations of a law requiring that certain records be preserved, said the committee's Democratic chairman, adding that the panel will deepen its probe into the use of political e-mail accounts.
The committee's interim report said the number of White House officials who had RNC e-mail accounts, and the number of messages they sent and received, were more extensive than previously realized.
The administration has said that about 50 White House officials had RNC e-mail accounts during Bush's presidency. But the House committee found at least 88.
The RNC has preserved e-mails from some of the heaviest users, including 140,216 messages sent or received by Bush's top political adviser in the White House, Karl Rove. However, "the RNC has preserved no e-mails for 51 officials," said the interim report, issued by committee chairman Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif.
The 51 include Ken Mehlman, a former White House political director who reportedly used his RNC account frequently, the report said.
"Given the heavy reliance by White House officials on RNC e-mail accounts, the high rank of the White House officials involved, and the large quantity of missing e-mails," the report said, "the potential violation of the Presidential Records Act may be extensive."
The records act requires presidents to assure that "the activities, deliberations, decisions, and policies that reflect the performance" of their duties are "adequately documented ... and maintained," the report said.
White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters he would not "respond specifically" to the committee's findings but said the RNC e-mail accounts "were designed precisely to avoid Hatch Act violations that prohibit the use of government assets for certain political activities." He added, "the RNC has had an e-mail preservation policy for White House staffers."
Congressional Democrats are investigating whether White House officials used RNC e-mail accounts to conduct overtly political, and perhaps improper, activities such as planning which U.S. prosecutors to fire and preparing partisan briefings for employees in federal agencies.
Waxman's committee is contacting numerous federal agencies to determine whether their records "contain some of the White House e-mails that have been destroyed by the RNC," the report said.
In a statement, Waxman called the panel's findings "should be a matter of grave concern for anyone who values open government." He said the committee will investigate "who knew about the violations of the Presidential Records Act, why they did not act earlier, and what e-mails can be salvaged from RNC, White House, and agency computer systems."
The report especially criticized Alberto Gonzales, now the attorney general, for actions when he headed the White House Counsel's office. There is evidence that under Gonzales the office "may have known that White House officials were using RNC e-mail accounts for official business, but took no action to preserve these presidential records," the report said.
Snow said of the claim: "That's an allegation. We'll respond to it in due course."
The report said the House committee may need to issue subpoenas "to obtain the cooperation of the Bush Cheney '04 campaign." It said the campaign acknowledges providing e-mail accounts "to 11 White House officials, but the campaign has unjustifiably refused to provide the committee with basic information about these accounts, such as the identity of the White House officials and the number of e-mails that have been preserved."
The House committee report said Rove's RNC e-mail account carried 75,374 messages to or from people with government, or .gov, accounts. It said the RNC has preserved 66,018 e-mails sent to or from former White House political affairs director Sara Taylor, and 35,198 sent to or from deputy director Scott Jennings.
"These e-mail accounts were used by White House officials for official purposes, such as communicating with federal agencies about federal appointments and policies," the report said.
It said the White House counsel in early 2001 "issued clear written policies" instructing staffers "to use only the official White House e-mail system for official communications and to retain any official e-mails they received on a nongovernmental account." Recent evidence "indicates that White House officials used their RNC e-mail accounts in a manner that circumvented these requirements," the report said.
so what else is new? :-}
The report: http://www.oversight.house.gov/
Check their socks. If there, no problem, just sloppy recordkeeping!! :)
I wonder how many Democrat members of the senate and house have DNC e-mail accounts? Oh, that doesn’t matter...
Is there a story here? Maybe I missed it.
Where was Batboy's concern for e-mail integrity during the Clintoons' Project X scandal?
“I wonder how many Democrat members of the senate and house have DNC e-mail accounts? Oh, that doesnt matter...”
Is there a law similar to the Presidential Records Act that applies to congress?
OMG, this could be hugh.
I would LOVE to know how they managed to destroy numerous emails on numerous computers without throwing the hard drives thereon into the Potomac. But since this report comes from Waxman, I am not sure they did.
And of course we can account for every email ever written in the Clinton White House. Heck, they even stole the computers.
.....you can bet they didn’t use the letter “W” too.
Oh No! Another Watergate missing tape scandal! This will feed the press for the next 8 years.
I wonder how many of those were Nigerian bank scams and Penis enlargement spam ads?
LOL! THAT is just AWESOME! (Did you do that yourself???)
Wow. An existing species of Demonratus Rodentius.
The use of RNC email accounts to conduct government business poses two potential problems for the Bush administration:
Firstly, such communications will not fall under executive privilege because the use of (potentially insecure) private or RNC email accounts indicates that the correspondents were not treating the business as privileged communications.
Secondly, to the extent that these email accounts were being used to conduct government business, the deletion of any emails to or from these accounts would be a violation of the Presidential Records Act.
This is what happened in the Clinton years:
Hall said Northrop Grumman e-mail expert Robert Haas told her and another witness in a late June 1998 meeting in her office that he stored the files on a zip disk. He told Congress another story, she says, to save his White House job.
Haas, while “pacing” in her office, told her and White House computer specialist Sharon Mitchell that he “feared for his life” and wanted to show a friend what he’d found while searching the trove of missing e-mail, Hall said.
He said he’d stumbled onto e-mails tied to Chinagate, Filegate and other White House scandals, Hall recounted.
Haas said the “results (of investigations) would be different and other people would go to jail” if investigators had the e-mails, she said.
Though he has denied being afraid for his life, Haas has accused two White House officials of threatening him with jail if he didn’t keep Project X secret.
The reason that this is an issue is because the WH and the RNC allowed it to become one like they have some of these other scandels. IF our side would for once play ball with these clowns and turnover stuff about DNC or Democrats and their “illegal” contacts, etc., Then maybe, just maybe Waxman would go back to his room.
I wonder if Rep. Waxman would let me have access to his emails and staff memos?
Things in the WH that mysteriously get deleted:
WH aides’ emails
18 1/2 minutes of tape
What are they hinding???? Is it an amnesty coverup????? Amnestygate anyone?????
While they’re at it, how about looking at all the Democrat emails, too, just in case.
Big deal! A few months ago all my emails disappeared from my “Sent” file. Where they went I have no clue.
has sandy burger been sighted around lately?
Huh, a Democrat stole it and they blame it on Republicans.
Wasn't that the excuse for the missing Gore email backups, that the servers were named with upper-case W's but the backups were looking for lower-case w's?
Of course, that was just in innocent oversight, while this is evidence of a massive cover-up.
Isn’t it odd, how the dimwits are still trying to blame the Repubs when they up to their necks in do do.
No it doesn't matter. I will not condone illegal or unethical behavior just because "everyone else does it". Since when are we content to accept the Dem's doctrine of relative filth which says anything is OK as long as someone else, somewhere, has done worse?
Just to see all the liberals go completely over the edge.
Hey, White House: get used to this. These jerkoff Democrats are barely getting started...they don't want to govern, they want to harass.
All the Lefties are going berserk over this.
Why oh why oh why does this administration keep handing live ammunition to the Democrats?
Simple. Until someone brought it to their attention, the RNC didn't have a "keep it forever" mail retention policy. Some messages expired and were thus deleted.
The White House email system, the one they're supposed to use to ensure compliance with the law, never deletes, or allows a user to delete, anything.
Hope the president tells them to shove it.
Of course if they're running Windows, which most of the government does, it wouldn't make any difference. Windows recognizes case, but it is not case-sensitive, "Whitewater" equals "whitewater."
Oh, THEY get those too?
I wonder why?
Even if they are deleted, they are still SOMEWHERE on the hard drive, as many a crook has learned to his dismay. Also, the Geek Squad charges fairly steep fees for “erasing” stuff from hard drives before used computers are sold or donated.
The basic answer is "it depends." Servers usually use arrays, which are more difficult to recover since you're searching for bits across disks. Depending on the usage, the data could have been overwritten several times already. In the end it depends on the specific case and how much time and money you're willing to spend recovering the data, and it can be a LOT, especially if you have to go the electron microscope route. There is academic research in this area to determine the wiping patterns that can best disrupt the magnetic fields, so it's getting harder.
Also, the Geek Squad charges fairly steep fees for erasing stuff from hard drives before used computers are sold or donated.
Funny, all they do is let a program run on your hard drive overnight. Even that isn't perfect though, although like above the time and money it would take to recover the data is insane.
May I suggest a free tool to do it yourself and save money, http://sourceforge.net/projects/eraser/. If you can make a boot floppy, wipe the whole thing with this http://sourceforge.net/projects/dban/.
Yes, I was thinking they might have been overwritten, but those guys have top of the line computers with huge hard drives. I am not a tech person, but I do know that I never email anything I would be ashamed to see on the front page of the Wash Post with my name on it.
How many of them were Viagra ads?
He said Karl Rove, not Bob Dole.