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Obama Admin Fights Missing White House Email Lawsuit 345

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-happens-in-dc-stays-in-dc dept.
DesScorp writes "The AP reports that the Obama administration has picked up where the Bush administration left off on the missing White House email issue by trying to have a lawsuit dismissed that would have kept investigating whether or not email was still missing. Two advocacy groups suing the Executive Office of the President expressed disappointment with the Obama administration's actions. Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, noted that President Barack Obama on his first full day in office called for greater transparency in government. The Justice Department 'apparently never got the message' from Obama, Blanton said."
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Obama Admin Fights Missing White House Email Lawsuit

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  • CHANGE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @08:48AM (#26948159)

    I don't think people quite got what "YES WE CAN" really meant. They didn't read the "FUCK YOU OVER" at the end that was implied.

    • One month... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by copponex (13876) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @09:37AM (#26948379) Homepage

      The new Administration has fallen far short of a lot of people's expectations, including mine. Two points though. One, it's been only a month. And two, if you consider the situation that they have been handed, I think they are at least trying to do best that they can. I can't comment on the e-mail case specifically, but I have done a lot of reading on the black hole of illegally held terrorism suspects. In that case, they have two choices: bring lawsuits against a greater part of the current government and past governments involved, or do the right thing from here on out.

      Personally, I would love to see every senior officer kicked out in disgrace over what they have done to American principle. Even if it's often violated in secret, at least we could pretend that we had some moral standards. But when the President and Vice President are ordering torture, renditions, and even assassinations, the chain of command is simply doing it's job. If the new Administration spent years wringing the necks of officers following orders, would the chain of command still work?

      Perhaps if the economic situation weren't so bad, there could be a good year of congressional hearings, where dirty laundry is thrown on the table and people who deserve it are thrown in jail. And sure, the economic crisis may be something that the Obama Administration is intentionally overplaying in order to have some breathing room on everything else. They're not stupid, so they either believe the situation is that dire, or they are pretending to for political purposes.

      For the sake of argument, imagine if you bought out a poorly run company. You may find mountains of incriminating papers, a staff that was half corrupted, and accountants who deserve to be set on fire. But if you're to turn this company around, would the smart thing to do be to march them all into the street for a mob lynching, or quietly and over time reform the company without completely ruining it's reputation in the process? The absolutely right thing to do is probably bankrupt the company and start over. It may be that in the current steaming pile of shit situation that the Bush dynasty has left us, re-forming the government is correct, but reforming the government is prudent.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bechthros (714240)

        i mostly agree with you. i'm gonna godwin myself, though, and say that

        "But when the President and Vice President are ordering torture, renditions, and even assassinations, the chain of command is simply doing it's job."

        is exactly what all the nazis said at nuremburg. "i was just following orders." well, some orders are just evil. and it's every human being's responsibility to know that. if i showed up tomorrow and my boss said, "lock this guy up. don't let him see a lawyer. don't tell him what he's d

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by WNight (23683)

          I would NOT DO IT.

          Good.

          neither would you.

          Well, I've spent a while saying I wouldn't. Of course it won't be as obvious as you play it so we've got to keep our eyes open.

          But from the discussions about it here I have to assume that most people would be okay with it at least as long as they were assured it was legal.

          The problem is that like how in the global economy our government can't just print new money and have it accepted, they also can't just write off the guilt of a million deaths even if we all close our eyes to it.

          If we were to bet on t

      • Yes, creating the RAT board was certainly the best way to create honesty in government. Lets force our inspector generals to clear any controversial investigations with Congress and the RAT board. That's a good idea.
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Or as the joke went "Hope and Change: Obama hopes you don't notice the only change is from a Rep to a Dem in the White House." but I think Bill Hicks nailed [youtube.com] this one over a decade ago. Sadly cancer took him away from us too soon, because his wit could sure be used right about now.

      Pretty much the only "choice" we have in voting anymore is Coke VS Pepsi. Because both sides are bought before you ever get a chance to say anything. And the only problem with "The lesser of two evils" is you're always voting fo

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          What does that actually have to do with anything? McSame voted with the Shrub more than 95% of the time, and NObama is strictly following the party line. For your argument to mean anything they would have to actually be "mavericks" which I hate to tell you was just PR. Both the DNC and RNC are bought and paid for, and have been for quite a long time. That is why you will never see Kucinich or Paul given the nomination- they are simply not good "party" people and don't tow the line.

          I am going to make a pr

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)

      I don't think people quite got what "YES WE CAN" really meant. They didn't read the "FUCK YOU OVER" at the end that was implied.

      In other words, voting for change doesn't mean you get it. The one common aspect to most forms of intoxication is that eventually you have to come down from the high. Obama rapture is no exception.

  • Apparently (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 22, 2009 @08:50AM (#26948163)

    They didn't get the email.

  • missing emails .. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by viralMeme (1461143) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @08:55AM (#26948193)
    Does anyone seriously believe the excuses [washingtonpost.com] as to how the emails went 'missing'?. Even if they deleted the emails there would be numerous copies on the backup tapes.
    • Wow, good idea, except that was in TFA:
      Recently, the Bush White House said it had located 14 million e-mails that were misplaced and that the White House had restored hundreds of thousands of other e-mails from computer backup tapes. The steps the White House took are inadequate, one of the two groups, the National Security Archive, told a federal judge in court papers filed Friday.
      They even use "emails" as the plural "email" like you do.
    • by Aphoxema (1088507)

      Do you have any idea how much of a bitch it is to keep backups of gigabytes or terabytes of data constantly preserved and updated? How much time it takes to make an image and put it on tapes?

    • by Darkk (1296127)

      Kinda reminds me of Nixon days... Watergate mess.

      Everything do get backed up on tapes but they are recycled after so many days or months. So if the retention policy is every 3 months then it'll get recycled.

      When I was working for a large data center I created a backup policy as follows:

      Daily backups are kept 30 days.
      Weekend backups are kept 90 days.
      Month end backups are kept for 1 year.
      Year end backups are kept for 3 years.

      Problem with e-mails you can't rely on your backup software alone. You need another

  • by ionix5891 (1228718) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @09:06AM (#26948231)

    new government mascot [imagehost.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 22, 2009 @09:08AM (#26948237)
    Who would have to do the work hunting down the "missing" emails? If the task falls to Obama's staff who weren't even there during the whole Bush thing, then I can't really blame him. If you took on a new job, would you like to be told that rather than focus on the tasks that they were hired to do, instead your staff was going to have to digging around through your predecessors crap to try to find something that may or may not be there?
    • by plasmacutter (901737) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @09:20AM (#26948291)

      Who would have to do the work hunting down the "missing" emails? If the task falls to Obama's staff who weren't even there during the whole Bush thing, then I can't really blame him. If you took on a new job, would you like to be told that rather than focus on the tasks that they were hired to do, instead your staff was going to have to digging around through your predecessors crap to try to find something that may or may not be there?

      they can hire extra IT staff to do the job.

      See, job creation!

      • by Darkk (1296127)

        Actually the government needs to subpoena whoever is in charge of IT at that time.

        The new IT staff shouldn't be responsible of whatever happened during Bush's administration. They can try look for lost e-mails but there is no telling exactly what happened to them. I believe the deletions were on purpose to cover up whatever was going on at that time. The thing is they have to prove it.

        Even the exchange server keeps transaction logs. They too can be purged.

        I wish them luck finding the lost e-mails.

    • "Who would have to do the work hunting down the "missing" emails?"

      If there was openness and transparency in these things, then the person/s or organizations wanting the records in the first place could be enlisted to aid in their recovery thus freeing "your staff [from] digging around through your predecessors crap".

      Unless, of course, there's something there that you wish to hide.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by INT_QRK (1043164)
      I'm quite certain that President Obama and his staff recognize, now that they are in executive power, that any precedent weakening executive privilege (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_privilege) also weakens separation of powers, and would very likely come back on him in the future. In politics, what goes around very often comes back around. So, every opponent wants more "open" policy making, while every executive wants to be able to have his ducks in a row to fight once, rather that dying by a thous
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday February 22, 2009 @11:47AM (#26949185)

      Who would have to do the work hunting down the "missing" emails?

      Someone appointed/hired by Obama's administration.

      If the task falls to Obama's staff who weren't even there during the whole Bush thing, then I can't really blame him.

      If you were hired in the civilian sector and one of the things you sold yourself on to your new boss was your belief in email recovery, wouldn't you expect to be asked to do just that?

      If you took on a new job, would you like to be told that rather than focus on the tasks that they were hired to do, instead your staff was going to have to digging around through your predecessors crap to try to find something that may or may not be there?

      Get a job in IT. That's what I have to go through ALL THE TIME.

      What decisions were made.

      Why were those specific decisions made.

      How were they implemented.

      Why were they implemented in that specific way.

      And yes, a LOT of it DOES involve going through my predecessor's email and notes.

      If I am hired to recover the email, I work on recovering the email. Even if I have to recommend bringing in a recovery specialist. There are 300 million people in the USofA. It shouldn't be that difficult to find a few people to handle this. Instead, he's arguing against even TRYING.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jesterzog (189797)

      If the task falls to Obama's staff who weren't even there during the whole Bush thing, then I can't really blame him. If you took on a new job, would you like to be told that rather than focus on the tasks that they were hired to do, instead your staff was going to have to digging around through your predecessors crap to try to find something that may or may not be there?

      In principle I agree, but I'm confused about why partisan staff should be involved in this kind of thing in the first place.

      Surely someth

  • I dunno. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aaron_Pike (528044) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @09:22AM (#26948299) Homepage
    I kinda like leaving it the courts. If it does go to court and a decision is rendered, it might help stop future sneaky behavior. Wishful thinking, I know, but it'd offer better protection than just capitulating would.
  • by chill (34294) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @09:26AM (#26948321) Journal

    Now with tint control!

  • Here in Mexico... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday February 22, 2009 @09:39AM (#26948393) Homepage Journal

    we experienced something similar after an opposition party won the elections for the first time in 70 years. One would expect all corruption would be wiped out, but it didn't happen (mainly because the then candidate president promised not to fire people just because there was a change in the admin). It's OBVIOUS that when the bureaucrats notice they're gonna be watched, they start covering each other's asses.

    Why would the people in the Obama administration be any different?

    • an opposition party won the elections for the first time in 70 years. One would expect all corruption would be wiped out

      No, one would not.

      One would expect to be promised such things, but one should never expect a small event like an election to wipe out something as pervasive as corruption.
      ESPECIALLY in a place as thoroughly corrupt on all levels as Mexico.

      That's like saying that with a diagnosis of metastasizing cancer, one would expect total remission after the first treatment. One should not.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        ESPECIALLY in a place as thoroughly corrupt on all levels as Mexico.

        The simple truth is that the US is at least as corrupt as Mexico - War On Drugs, while we're the world's largest consumers. World's largest per-capita polluters. World's largest arms dealer (including the biological WMDs that Saddam used to have that we knew were over their expiry date.)

        In Mexico, the cops left the police force to join the drug producers. In the USA, the cops are part of the drug economy.

        • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @01:13PM (#26949955) Journal

          The simple truth is that the US is at least as corrupt as Mexico

          Wait a second. Do you seriously believe that? Can you so easily dismiss the corruption that permeates the Mexican society (yes, not only the political institutions)? It's a corruption so pervasive, people take it for granted and live by it.

          The USA certainly has the faults you listed, I won't deny any of those, but to say that it's more corrupted than Mexico?

          • The simple truth is that the US is at least as corrupt as Mexico

            Wait a second. Do you seriously believe that? Can you so easily dismiss the corruption that permeates the Mexican society (yes, not only the political institutions)? It's a corruption so pervasive, people take it for granted and live by it.

            The USA certainly has the faults you listed, I won't deny any of those, but to say that it's more corrupted than Mexico?

            Besides, if we were that corrupt we wouldn't even notice the wave of violence and corruption that's making it's way around the U.S. from our neighbor to the south. Matter of fact, most of us aren't noticing it, but that's only because our media isn't bothering to report it. I happen to have family in Arizona, not far from the border, and they have a very different story to tell.

            So, yes, comparing Mexico to the United States in that regard is ridiculous.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            The "bailout" (i.e. handout) is going to cost more than Mexico's entire GDP. I rest my fucking case.

  • The fact is... (Score:2, Interesting)


    if ANYONE had ANYTHING on Bush he would have been impeached a long time ago...
    This tells me that they are all corrupt, we NEED a viable third (or more) political party(ies)!
    Namely someone who respects the Constitution.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Every president since the concept of executive privilege has fought tooth and nail for it. This includes defending your predecessor's use of it. Regardless of intent, Obama could be hurt by a ruling against the previous administration.

  • by moxley (895517) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @11:07AM (#26948887)

    So basically, all of the the talk of transparency was lip service, either that - or they have been made aware of what the content of those emails will show.

    Obama is showing hypocrisy in record time, he's barely been in a month. It's not like he is reneging on a campaign promise, it sure makes it seem like practically his ENTIRE stated message about transparency in government was total bullshit.

    I wanted Ron Paul, and I think that anybody who understands how our government really functions these days, the constitution, the lessons of history as they relate to empires and our debt based Federal Reserve manipulated economy who got a chance to hear his message likely did too...

    Unfortunately I think the current state of the economy and it's effect on the day to day lives of most Americans is spec-fuckin-tacular compared to where it's headed - We're following the path of the Weimar Republic here, and guess how that turned out...

    I live right next door to independence hall - it's literally something I see when I walk outside of my home every morning; I see that, and the eternal flame which burns at the mass graves of al of the unknown revolutionary solders buried in Washington Sq ....it's really sad, and sadness is what I feel every time I see these reminders of our history and founding...our empire is crumbling and most of the people on the street don't even know what the word "empire" means and how it applies to America today and are more interested in some Hip Hop MTV retard beating his girlfriend or what happened on TV last night. We don't need to be an empire, empires always end one way.

    After Obama won (and out of him and McCain) I figured he would be better choice out of the two because at least he was saying he wanted to limit executive power and was all about openness, etc, etc ad infinitum - I knew the guy was a politician, but given the passion with which he seemed infused with he seemed to have some integrity....I guess we'll see how much he really does....

    Right now think the best thing people can do is support the states rights movement - 20 states are taking action to formally remind the federal government of the limits of their power under the 10th Amendment, 20 states are re-asserting sovereignty under the 10th amendment - There is some great stuff going on in New Hampshire also - it seems they really do want to 'live free or die' there...; PA rep Sam Rohrer is heavily active in promoting these resolutions , and it's very important:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8bbrXnYJOo [youtube.com]

    If you are concerned about what the federal government is doing - make sure to support the resolutions, in the state, in the house and senate by contacting your reps.

    • If you are concerned about what the federal government is doing

      Sorry, my state government (California) is busy with a financial rape rampage of epic proportion at the moment. They seem to think that one of the biggest and most regressive state tax increases in history is a real good idea in a dying economy, despite every single piece of empirical evidence being against them. We're adopting the NH motto of "Live Free or Die" although we're shortening it to simply "Die".

    • by Kirijini (214824) <[kirijini] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Sunday February 22, 2009 @01:28PM (#26950077)

      "Obama is showing hypocrisy in record time, he's barely been in a month. It's not like he is reneging on a campaign promise, it sure makes it seem like practically his ENTIRE stated message about transparency in government was total bullshit."

      Whoa whoa whoa, lets look at the actual facts before accusing Obama of "total bullshit."

      The reason this is in the news right now - ie, what actually happened recently - is that the National Security Archive (the good guys who are suing for the emails) filed a response to the Justice Department's motion to dismiss the suit. So what's in the news right now isn't about a recent Obama decision.

      The motion to dismiss was made on January 21st, which is right after the inauguration. Now, if Obama's absolute top priority was to change the government's position on defending against this suit, he could have ordered the justice department not to make the motion. But, what's much more likely, this motion was made by staff attorneys at the Justice Department, completing the job they were ordered to do earlier in January. It seems likely to me that they had finished drafting this motion to dismiss on the prior business day. Since the inauguration was holiday, and the day before that was MLK day, and before that the weekend... its likely the motion to dismiss was ready to be filed on January 16th, and that's when the lawyers' bosses ordered it done.

      Since Obama wasn't in charge of the Justice Department until Jan 21st, the day the motion was filed, it's very likely there's nothing he could have done to stop it - he, and his staff, probably didn't know the motion was ready and ordered to be filed, and probably hadn't replaced the drafting lawyers' bosses yet anyway.

      In fact, that the motion to dismiss was made the day after the inauguration makes it seem very likely that Bush holdovers were just doing everything they could, as fast as they could, to keep the cover up going.

      You should hold your outrage until Obama (who's been pretty damn busy - passing a 800B stimulus package in the first month is unprecedented, but more on point is is ordering all agencies to presume in favor of disclosure when making FOIA decisions) actually has a chance to take a stance in this case.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kiddailey (165202)

        Passing that 800B "stimulus" bill is more than enough reason to be outraged. Especially given the conditions under which it was pass: Less than 24 hours for the whole of the House to share and review (reportedly) only five copies of a partially handwritten bill that was over 1,000 pages long.

        Nobody read it. And, like Bush before him, Obama used FUD to push it through.

    • Obama is showing hypocrisy in record time, he's barely been in a month.

      He has barely been in a month. And inside that month, I've heard more final-sounding verdicts on his presidency than in any new president's time in the last 16 years of following politics. He's just another politician. He doesn't care about privacy. Or the constitution. Or transparency. His talk of bipartisanship is empty. He doesn't understand economics. He's vindicated Bush by having any measure of continuity. He's responsible for the

    • our empire is crumbling and most of the people on the street don't even know what the word "empire" means and how it applies to America today

      Neither do you, it seems. There are some people that could help define more precisely what an Empire is ... and is not. The Romans, Persians, even the Greeks: a more recent example would be our British friends. They really had that empire business down pat.

      Of course, most of them are dead and buried now: that's the usual fate of empires and empire builders. Now, if you're referring to economic hegemony I'd agree, but that's a very different matter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285)
      Lets get real here. Most of our problem come from the fact that for the past 12 years, greed and revenge has occupied the governments every working moment. The Clinton people were drunk on greed, and as soon as the republicans won the legislative branch they were drunk on revenge, spending nearly 100 million dollars to prove that he allowed waifs to give him blowjobs.

      This greed and revenge continued, with a unsupported war that is little other than a means to funnel government funds to the people who al

  • bait and switch....?

  • Meet your new boss... same as the old boss...

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @12:47PM (#26949717)

    I keep hearing about how Obama represents a "Mixed Bag".

    Whatever. The whole show keeps moving forward. Keep an eye out for the "Amero".

    And when the rocks start falling, people will be willing to follow this president to the shelters. Just remember, that barbed wire is for our protection. Don't be alarmed by the fact that it's facing inwards. I'm sure there will be a good rationalization for that.

    -FL

    • I keep hearing about how Obama represents a "Mixed Bag".

      Obama & Biden are more of a "salt and pepper" team, if you ask me.

  • let him get ahold of those who he had appointed in those posts. often tail wants to behave differently from what head wants.

  • ..that we can believe in.

  • US president promises change, turns out to be a douche just like the last one! more at 11.
  • by gabrieltss (64078) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @03:34PM (#26951061)

    Here we go again... Just another lie! Where is the transperency he promised? He made A LOT of promises and hasn't kept ONE yet.... The global elite really are pulling this guys strings worse than Bush....

    Can one of the Obaaaaaamanoids tell us ONE promise he made he has kept????

    This is starting to remind me of the Ministry song "Lies, Lies, Lies"..

    "America has been hijacked
    Not by Al Qaeda, not by Bin Laden
    But by a group of tyrants
    That should be of great concern to all Americans

    We're on a mission to bring out the facts
    You got your stories but they all have cracks
    Misinformation, lies and deceit
    What made you think that we were all asleep
    Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies X3
    Surpise surprise"

  • by californication (1145791) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @03:36PM (#26951081)
    Lynching Bush Administration worthless to Obama right now. Wait until 2010-2011, THEN let the dirt start to be dug up about Bush & Co. When the public finds out it was much worse than we though, it will hurt the Republicans that much more. Welcome to politics.

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