Skip to comments.White House: Computer hard drives tossed
Posted on 03/21/2008 7:37:36 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - Older White House computer hard drives have been destroyed, the White House disclosed to a federal court Friday in a controversy over millions of possibly missing e-mails from 2003 to 2005.
The White House revealed new information about how it handles its computers in an effort to persuade a federal magistrate it would be fruitless to undertake an e-mail recovery plan that the court proposed.
"When workstations are at the end of their lifecycle and retired ... the hard drives are generally sent offsite to another government entity for physical destruction," the White House said in a sworn declaration filed with U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola.
It has been the goal of a White House Office of Administration "refresh program" to replace one-third of its workstations every year in the Executive Office of the President, according to the declaration.
Some, but not necessarily all, of the data on old hard drives is moved to new computer hard drives, the declaration added.
In proposing an e-mail recovery plan Tuesday, Facciola expressed concern that a large volume of electronic messages may be missing from White House computer servers, as two private groups that are suing the White House allege.
Facciola proposed the drastic approach of going to individual workstations of White House computer users after the White House disclosed in January that it recycled its computer backup tapes before October 2003. Recycling taping over existing data raises the possibility that any missing e-mails may not be recoverable.
At a House committee hearing last month, a computer expert who previously worked at the White House called the e-mail system "primitive" and said it was set up in a way that created a high risk that data would be lost from White House servers where it was being archived.
Under pressure to provide details about its computer system, the White House told the congressional committee that it never completed work that began in 2003 on a planned records management and e-mail archiving system. The White House canceled the project in late 2006 and says it is still working on a new version.
In the absence of a permanent archiving system, the White House has been archiving e-mails on White House servers since early in the administration.
The White House says it does not know if any e-mails are missing, but is looking into the matter.
It would be costly and time-consuming for the White House to institute an e-mail retrieval program that entails pulling data off each individual workstation, the court papers filed Friday state.
i’m sure google has a copy of those emails somewhere.
Good. How about getting hard drives from Congress and dig through all their files and emails?
U.S. President George W. Bush (L) speaks about "The National President's Challenge" in the East Garden of the White House in Washington while Eli Manning, quarterback for the New York Giants football team, and fitness celebrity Denise Austin, listen March 20, 2008. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES)
It’s happened before. To bad Nixon slipped up...
(what I wish he said.)
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
I’m amazed that anyone is amazed that hard drives are destroyed. I’d destroy them too.
I’m glad the lessons of Nixon’s office tapes have not been lost on the Bush Administration. This data would simply have been fodder for more wasted time by the lowest-rated Congress in modern history.
Care to get into any specifics?
Yo! Most of them are Clinton holdovers.. thank you Algore.
Take your embarassment to the next National Security Breach that compromises this nation more than the WaPo, NYT, PSMNBC
I’m proud of them. I crack my old hard drives open and smash them with a hammer.
Denise Austin is hot for her age.
If you own a busniess and you have anything to do with HIPPA rules (you do if you offer employess heath insurance) and you just throw your computer in the trash and it is discovered by a third party and turned into the Feds or State, you’d get the book thrown at you.
What are you jabbering about? They cannot leave the hard drives around for every Hillary, Nancy and Harry to look through, copy, save, etc. For the sake of National Security the hard drives needed to be destroyed. They saved the e-mails. They said they destroyed the hard drives...did they also say they destroyed the back-ups? ;)
She used to serve in a similar fitness council role when GHW Bush was in office.. she’s probably mid 40 50ish now but looking good.
It might be against the law to destroy them - depending on the contents.
Boy, I wish I'd been there to hear that. I've heard buildings talk before, but it's been a long time since I took any drugs.
I used to open them to salvage the rare earth magnets inside.
Have you ever been in search of something to keep a heavy paper on the refrigerator? Look no more!
Oh, in case you don't know about rare earth magnets... they don't really stick to a refrigerator; its more like the refrigerator sticks to it; to separate, you steady the magnet and pull the frig away.
Now, c'mon; I KNOW that the White House SURELY backed up the data that was stored on those hard drives, and that the missing e-mails are located somewhere within the reach of the White House, right? I mean, they wouldn't just off and destroy the final repository of the e-mails in question would they? It couldn't POSSIBLY be a fruitless search now could it?
Failure to destroy them is definitely a violation of various privacy and national security laws.
I thought that everyone destroyed their old hard drives. Any time I’ve ever gotten a new PC, I’ve first taken and transferred some of my stuff to the new PC, left all the old junk, clutter, and old emails on the old drive. I then remove the drive from the chassis, take it outside and whop it a half dozen times with a 16 pound sledge. I don’t want some trash picker taking my old PC chasis out of the trash on trash day and browsing through my old bills, documents, and personal stuff. Even formatting the drive will not remove the files from a determined hacker. You have to physically destroy the drive.
Kiss your arse good bye, troll
I remember that just before W first took office he canceled his email accounts for this very reason. No ‘lectronic trail. Smart move.
Not if the emails were restricted to a LAN system restricted to the White House.
Good idea, but I'd settle for a sweep of their refrigirators to see how many keep more than $10,000 there.
Actually, you need a program that “wipes” the drive completely clear to prevent people from snooping on the drive. I believe there are programs out there that allow you to rewrite every sector with a single type of data (government rules require you do re-write every sector three times).
Did we get one? Cool!!!
I love trolling and hooking a trollfish,,, repeat offender , I’m sure. 8-)
same old story different administration. E-mails, what e-mails?
Dang, missed the zot.
The word “tossed” was carefully chosen by the thought shapers at AP to imply the White House night janitor just pitched them in the dumpster out back.
He was a sleeper. Low volume poster.
even better. :-)
btw, thanks everyone. You’re our eyes and ears.
Depends on how it was set up. The WH mail system has been a goat rope for many years.
great for science projects.
Dang, missed that one. Who knows we might have been related.
This is the Federal Court, not the Democrat party. The reason the court wants the data off the workstations is because the data is (apparently) deleted from the servers and the backup tapes have been "overwritten").
I realize that a lot of people here think it's just ducky that the current Administration is increasingly taking a "the law is what we say it is" approach to the courts and congress.
But as some of us were pointing out when many here wanted the then Republican majority in the senate to pull the trigger on the "nuclear option" on judges, what happens where their is a Democrat majority and/or President?
Fast forward to 2006, as it happened the first half of that political turnover happened just a few months later. Then, such tactics don't look so attractive. And "The Rule of Law" and "Separation of Powers" - long-term conservative bedrock principles some conservative were willing to discard for short term political gain - start to look like a Very Good Idea. i
I love those magnets. They keep screws off the floor and the old lady off my back.
It shouldn’t matter whether there’s a pubbie or a Dim in the WH - if the law says they have to archive the files, then they have to archive the files.
If they intentionally fail to archive files the law says they have to archive, then there is corruption in the WH. Whether the President is a Republican or a Democrat.
FR was founded on the principle of exposing corruption in government. Judging from some of the replies on this thread, it seems FR has a measure of corruption as well.
Physical destruction is REQUIRED.
And with good reason, and I don't mean to cover up misdeeds. But to protect vital and proprietary information.