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Judge Demands Information About Missing White House Emails 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-come-clean dept.
Lucas123 writes "A District Court judge has ordered the Executive Office of the President to tell the court by May 5 whether any e-mail server backup tapes were kept for a period from March to October 2003 to cover controversial issues such as reasons for starting the war in Iraq, the release of a former CIA operative's name and the US Department of Justice's actions. The White House has been working for months trying to fend off a lawsuit filed last May in federal court in Washington by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. The judge cited what he called an apparent contradiction by White House CIO Theresa Payton as to whether backup tapes had been preserved. He also recommended that White House employees be ordered to turn over any flash drives or other portable media that may contain e-mails. The White House missing email scandal has been developing for some time now."
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Judge Demands Information About Missing White House Emails

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  • Greg Palast? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 27, 2008 @09:36AM (#23213622)
    Greg Palast already published many of these emails in his last book Armed Madhouse. The whitehouse sent them to whitehouse.org instead of whitehouse.gov who then forwarded the mails to Palast. Check out the book and read them yourself. Why the U.S. Congress seems completely unaware of this book's existence is beyond me, but that one student who was tazered at the Kerry rally had one.
  • Re:For the Future... (Score:2, Informative)

    by dark_15 (962590) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @10:11AM (#23213786)
    There are Vendors such as Iron Mountain [ironmountain.com] that will do this. Of course it will be at the government 'discount' of twice the price as normal, but at least they be bound by contract to not tamper with tapes.
  • by Fuzzums (250400) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @10:45AM (#23213956) Homepage
    I can perfectly understand Iraq was all about securing oil reserves for the future. Same for Afghanistan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Afghanistan_Pipeline [wikipedia.org].

    Butwhat's wring about being honest about is, instead of coming up with lame excuses like "terrorism", "W's of MD" or "suffering people".

    Just say "Hey, we need to get rid of Sadam because we need his oil and he wouldn't let us have it". I'm sure we'll understand and see the reason in that.

    After all. Camels don't run on oil, so why would they need it anyway?
  • by denton420 (1235028) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:14PM (#23214660)
    Your reply brings up some valid points. Let me help you tie it up in a nice neat little package that will bring you back to your last question.

    http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/121004A.shtml [truthout.org]

    Here you are, there is just one of BILLIONS of examples of why this make sense, and why there is a big difference between the two.

    Oh and in case you were wondering, Dick and Bush have nothing to do with any of these companies getting billion dollar contracts. Anyone who tells you that is a democratic heathen.

  • That was actually a system problem that, rather importantly, did not ultimately result in any lost email.

    Read it carefully, it says the backup wasn't storing email 'properly', whatever that means. I suspect format problems, the email system at the time was using a VAX. So they couldn't just 'restore' the email, they had to munge it to make it usable in whatever format Congress thought it was supposed to be in.

    But in the end, all the email was recovered after a few months.

    It is rather funny to read Republican complaints about a delay of months in turning over email in an investigation about Hillary Clinton possibly lying about firing people in the WH travel office, who are part of the WH staff and can be fired at will.

    The WH claimed there were financial irregularities and that the FBI confirmed it, the people were quite correctly fired. The right claimed the Clintons made it up so family friends could take over or some really stupid nonsense, and used the FBI 'improperly'. The whole investigation was a precursor to Blowjobgate, where the Republicans do a bunch of investigating, throw wild accusations around, found nothing wrong, and finally get someone (Hillary, in this case) to state something (That she didn't have a lot to do with it.) and then investigate her for perjury. At worse, it was a little bit of attempted nepotism and then denial of said attempted nepotism...that showed up after it was realized that the WH travel office had been 'skimming'. Along with a bit of an overreaction of mass firing by the Clinton administration, which it corrected by rehiring the innocent people.

    Yet the GOP is now blithely accepting the total loss of emails in an investigation of the politicalization of the justice department, which is, if not illegal, at least worth investigating, unlike some supposed issues in the WH travel office. And constantly refusing to investigate anyone for lying to Congress, which the Bush WH has done so repeatedly. (The most obvious, but not only, time is in the lead-up to Iraq, and it's worth noting lying during the State of the Union counts as lying to Congress.) And refusing to investigate nepotism and conflicts of interests, of which the current Administration has a lot more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 27, 2008 @12:59PM (#23215070)
    "Oh and in case you were wondering, Dick and Bush have nothing to do with any of these companies getting billion dollar contracts. Anyone who tells you that is a democratic heathen."

    Uh, yeah, sure. It's nothing but irony that Halliburton and the Carlyle Group are neck deep in Iraq?

    And of course it's nothing but sound and patriotic business sense that Halliburton has been shown over and over to be supplying our troops with unsanitary water, food that isn't edible, or when it is edible and safe, overcharging like crazy for things like cream pies in a war zone. Or how about Halliburton drivers who refuse to drive supplies to troops because they are afraid of getting killed? This strands our troops.

    Oh, and Cheney's company recently moved its headquarters to the Middle East and continue to operate off shore in the Cayman Islands to dodge taxes.

    I'm sure that none of that matters to Dick Cheney - who still gets checks from Halliburton.

    Yeah, you are right. Those evil democratic heathens who dare to expose the connections between the Bush administration and all of the things getting our troops killed and maimed in Iraq. How dare they?
  • Re:public records? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 27, 2008 @01:13PM (#23215192)
    Here is a copy of the FOA

    That's a real interesting law there. Too bad it only deals with which government proceedings have to be made public, and has nothing to do with this particular issue of what must be recorded. Try Title 44, Chapter 22 [cornell.edu] (the Presidential Records Act), which requires that the executive branch maintain the executive branch's "Presidential records" meaning

    documentary materials, or any reasonably segregable portion thereof, created or received by the President, his immediate staff, or a unit or individual of the Executive Office of the President whose function is to advise and assist the President, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.
    where documentary material means

    all books, correspondence, memorandums, documents, papers, pamphlets, works of art, models, pictures, photographs, plats, maps, films, and motion pictures, including, but not limited to, audio, audiovisual, or other electronic or mechanical recordations.
    and yes, email is electronic correspondence. While one would assume that the Vice President would have been included in "his immediate staff" or an "individual of the Executive Office" that would "assist the President", SS 2207 specifically applies the law to the Vice President, probably to ensure that the law applies to the staff and assistants of the Vice President as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 27, 2008 @01:24PM (#23215288)
    Presidential Records Act specifically excludes records regarding the election process of themselves or other people, as long as those records don't involve the constitutional duty of the President or Vice President.
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode44/usc_sec_44_00002201----000-.html [cornell.edu]

    materials relating exclusively to the Presidentâ(TM)s own election to the office of the Presidency; and materials directly relating to the election of a particular individual or individuals to Federal, State, or local office, which have no relation to or direct effect upon the carrying out of constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode44/usc_sec_44_00002207----000-.html [cornell.edu]
    States that Vice Presidents' records are included in the Presidents' records and archived with them unless the archivist agrees otherwise.

    This would presumaly include election fundraising.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 27, 2008 @01:47PM (#23215474)
    Former CEO Cheney who is still being paid a salary and has thousands of stock options has no vested interest in the success of Haliburton? Really?
  • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @05:34PM (#23217262)
    That's because Social Security isn't really investing your money in anything. They're just taking money received from current workers and redistributing it to retired workers.

    That's a lie. Well, or maybe you were hoodwinked by liars to where you think that's the truth, but it isn't. They take in money, invest it, and pay out some. They take in more than they pay out. They have all the functions of a mutual fund, plus some, and function below the cost of a mutual fund. There is no shorfall in Social Security. They do invest your money (though it isn't earmarked with your specific name on it) and they pay out money. These are the functions of a mutual fund, and performed for much less than the cost of a private mutual fund.

    If a private company could "manage" a retirement fund without having to mess with the whole business of actually researching, buying, and selling stock and bonds, heck yeah it could do it a lot cheaper.

    The Social Security Administration does buy and sell bonds. That you think otherwise indicates that you have no idea how it functions. Listen less to conservative talk radio and learn on your own. It isn't a Ponzi scheme. In fact, your link says that people call it that but it doesn't actually fit the definition. Why not? Because the payouts are the same to the first person to join and the last, it isn't a pyramid that pays off the man at the top more than the last joiner. Also, the SSA does have assets in the form of T-bills. Yes, it's one branch of the government buying from another, but it's still a gain for the SSA and an actual investment held by many other investors. With a couple minor tweaks (very minor) SS could be made to be fully funded. It would take at least another generation or two, but making it fully funded is easy. Just mandate it. However, no politicial wants to touch it. That's why it is efficient with the money, politicians do not want to be associated with it at all. End it and you will be sentencing many seniors to death via starvation/neglect. Fix it properly (fully funded with opt-out private savings) and you are a communist trying to take more money from the working class (because getting it fully funded will cost more in the short term). Also, fully funding a fixed benefit plan is a probability game that many compnaies saw fail with the dot-com burst. Given enough time, fully funding a fixed-benefit program will necessarily result in failure. Making the payout variable will harm those that depend on a steady stream of income.

    Fixing it is easy, it's just impossible.
  • "Regulated Industry" (Score:3, Informative)

    by splutty (43475) on Monday April 28, 2008 @06:53AM (#23221676)

    Keeping email backups for 7 years a general policy is complete stupidity. Unless you're in a regulated industry, the sooner you purge them, the better.

    You know, you make this point as if it actually validates your post. Bit of a sad thing that it actually doesn't.

    The government is as much a 'regulated industry' as for example the financial world (in which you *have* to keep 7 years of backups of ALL your data, including email, RTPs, databases and everything pertaining to your functioning). This is not optional, this is not something you can make your own policy about, it's quite simply the law.

    Now. The law states that all communication within the government that is not explicitly marked top secret should be available to the public. Having a retention period after which this information gets deleted instead of archived is once again, simply against the law.

    If you make local retention policies, you better be *very* sure you're not destroying material that you should keep by law, since your company will really not survive a serious audit or lawsuit based on those materials (the penalties for not obeying these parts of the law are really rather severe)

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