1. mamayaga says:

    Strictly speaking, federal agencies are not allowed to destroy any records unless their records retention policy says they may, and when it does allow destruction, it sets a time period for retaining different classes of records. Piddling little details like laws, regulations, policies and executive orders have never stopped this administration from doing whatever it damn well pleases, of course, but ignoring such things on a widespread scale is clear evidence of malfeasance at the least.

  2. freepatriot says:

    well, here’s how it’s gonna go folks:

    kkkarl says:

    nobody knew we were supposed to retain those documents

    I mean, some of the little people may have known, but nobody told us importatnt people anything like that

    then we find the tape of the meeting where kkkarl rove was told directly that he has a responsibility to preserve all documents, and Congressman Waxman publishes the terms of the document retention agreement signed by kkkarl rove

    then george bush accuses Democrats of playing politics

    anybody wanna bet against me ???

  3. pol says:

    Didn’t we question this agency’s modus operandi when it first cranked up? Emptywheel, do you think we can trust it now?

  4. John Lopresti says:

    Maybe the Hatch Act and civil service constructs are new to Rove. Senator Leahy had an announcement this week about discovered offsite server backups he says the administration admits finding but then, he wails, the administration is going to elicit a subpoena if it plans to continue to withhold the unscrubbed contents of those backups. This is a sole issue, and Leahy’s writing is more direct than the video clip, both at ThinkProg there.

  5. Jodi says:

    Document Retention, and NOT Document Retention,

    is a big issue in Government, and Big Business.

    The underlying theme though is to be very careful with what is put writing in an email, text mail, on a hard drive, in a letter, on a PDA/Smart Phone (more than a day or two) or anywhere something that the FCC, DOJ, or a hostile ligator might find useful against you.

    Witness the judicious use of the old word processors that print out a paper, but doesn’t keep a file. A normal computer can be configured to do that if you don’t have access to the old machinery. An old analog deskside fax can be a Godsend.

    Several layers of protection exist. You can have your own records, say on an external disk, a USB Flash drive, your brief case, your home office or some such. (A personal file.). (I prefer the USBs myself.)
    You can further reduce your personal target size with the judicious use of the phone, faxes over an analog phone line, or private conversations.

    I remember hearing from old hands about a CEO that had the FEDS come to his office and actually take away his desk blotter that had scribblings on it.

    Now does it mean if someone does these things, that a person is say a terrorist, or a criminal? No! It does mean that that person has painted a proper legally acquirable picture that will keep them out of the way of overzealous hostile scrutiny.

    Some in the Adminstration have avoided any problems by NOT emailing, and the only documents they produce are those that will be signed and they know may be made public.

    A paper napkin marked with a dry erase marker is ideally disposable.

    Of course stupid arrogant people, Republicans or Democrats, or Technocrats will do stupid things. Look at Jefferson! 95 thousand in the freezer. My god, doesn’t the man own a garden trowel?

    Of course with people working close to each other or with a close personal relationship, it is easy to say things with a smile, a nod, or a pat.

    I like the White/Colors Dry Erase board myself. Better than a flip chart usually. You know for brainstorming, and such.

    Notes should be controlled. ie. Only official, sanitized for posterity, notes are best.

  6. Anonymous says:

    EW, can this actually be the first moves in a very broad effort to CONCEAL government records? the bredth of the records ordered saved is remarkable. Either there are people turning on the Cult of Bush for own-ass preservation, or this is a fred feilding inspired push to conceal records from the beginning of the administration. It just feels wrong. The Cult of Bush has used the â€active investigation†tapdance to avoid comment and disclosure, I am wondering if Bloch isn’t the frontman in another scheme to do the same with records.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The two guys that are heading the investigation, Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine and the head of the Office of Professional Responsibility, H. Marshall Jarrett, are two straight arrows, just like Patrick Fitzgerald.

    Fine graduated from Harvard and was a Rhodes Scholar; and both were appointed to their position by former President Clinton.

    Wah, ha, ha, ha, ha.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The two guys that are heading the investigation, Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine and the head of the Office of Professional Responsibility, H. Marshall Jarrett are two straight arrows, just like Patrick Fitzgerald.

    Fine graduated from Harvard and was a Rhodes Scholar; and both were appointed to their spot by former President Clinton.

    Wah, ha, ha, ha, ha.

  9. Anonymous says:

    To follow up: Investigations, investigations, investigations coming out of the whazoo.

    From the Senate, House, Office of Professional Responsibility, Inspector General, the U.S. Office of Special Couunsel, and Lord knows who else will join in the fun before it’s all over.

  10. Paul in LA says:

    WHY is the OSC working for Bin Laden?

    • Don’t they understand that TOO MANY LIES have been told to go back and document them now?

    (tee-hee…marshmallow time)

  11. John Lopresti says:

    This may diverge from topicality slightly, yet, there are ways to remain both creative and licit, as that May 2007 document shows concerning ways the department of the interior can earmark land trades, a topic discussed on a nearby thread which Typepad seems to have ’lost’ April 22, 2007.

  12. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Every single day, millions of people use Google to search among billions of web links. Everyone — from grandmothers searching for geneology details to seven-year-olds searching for information about dinosaurs — finds most of what they seek. Yet the WH can’t locate its own emails and documents…?

    Searching is simple, and backup media is very cheap. For instance, a 128 MG flash drive sells for $60 USD at any Walmart or computer store. Milions of people use iPods, CDs, and DVDs to store backup files on portable media — yet the WH has no backed up copies of emails and documents? No CD-Roms? No backed up files on web servers…?

    In an era when copying files is simple, when searching the world requires only a few keystrokes, and when the costs of storing files is very cheap, it is simply not credible that the WH ’can’t locate’ old files.

    It’s simply not possible to be that ’incompetent’. There has to be some other explanation.
    In the 1990s, ’incompetence’ might have explained missing files and missing emails. In 2007, there are too many redundant systems, and too much cheap backup media, for the claim of ’incompetence’ to explain such a serious loss of data and information.

  13. sojourner says:

    Lizard @1808: I had the same reaction as you yesterday when I was first reading of it. It seems a way to paint everything with a broad brush, so that ’they’ can claim it is under investigation and cannot be revealed for that reason.

    I hope Mimi Shaeffer is correct — that the two persons leading the investigation are straight arrows, themselves. Of course, that is no protection, because we have seen how the DoJ leadership has circumvented various persons when deemed necessary.

    I skim through various sites and always save this one for last. This is where the serious reading happens for me However, Raw Story has an advance posting about an article to appear in the New York Times tomorrow, to the effect that Bush has been strangely silent about the subpoenas. According to the facts presented, it appears that he may have backed himself and Mr. Rove into a corner…

    The cracks that have been appearing in the administration’s facade are rapidly turning into outright fractures. I suspect it is just a matter of time before the fractures turn into real breaks — and someone is going to start spilling their guts. I wrote a note here the other night, and at some point tried to define what a â€patriot†is. To my way of thinking, someone spilling the beans when they know that something is just wrong, well, that is part of what patriotism is about. They put loyalty to country over loyalty to party.

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it will all work out well in the end…

  14. Frank Probst says:

    Hmmm. Doan didn’t exactly get the kid-glove treatment. It’s possible that this is an elaborate cover-up, but I’m not so sure. Bloch is in a very bad spot. He can try to provide cover for the USS Bush, but everyone knows that ship is going down, and if he’s caught giving cover, he’s going to go down with the ship. Or he can try to do his damn job, which very few people in this Administration seem to do. It’s possible (unlikely, but possible) that’s he’s trying to be the â€honest conservative†type that we keep hearing about.

  15. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Although this ’expansion’ could be a feint to cover Bu$hCo, it’s probably Phase III of a quiet grudge match that’s only now becoming publicly visible. The once-moderate Republicans of my acquaintance are either silent, terse, or dripping sarcasm about their former buddy GWB. The ex-military are visibly contemptuous.

    The alarming national debt, plus a soft mortgage market and rising foreclosures, plus energy prices is a nasty convergence. This could be like watching a quiet grudge match play out in slo-mo, with the old-line Republicans quietly supporting the Dems’ exposure of Bu$hCheney malfeasance.

    Superficially, it has the traditional Dem/Republican ’partisan’ appearance, but if I think about the quiet, terse, disgusted comments that I hear about national politics from some formerly ’moderate Republicans’ I know, it’s clear that this doesn’t run down the traditional partisan divide. We’re outside the box at this point.

    When Birnham Wood heads for Dunsinaine, there won’t be many left to protect MacCheney or MacBush.

  16. Uranus says:

    Failure to produce is obstruction of justice, as is the failure to respond to subpoenas. The claim the documents weren’t saved is a diversion, and irrelevant. And, there’s a 99.999% probability it’s also a lie. On this point, Congress has what it needs to drag offenders away in chains, if it will.

  17. Albert Fall says:

    Reader of Tea Leaves and Frank Probst:

    I think you both point to valuable elements of the dynamic we are seeing.

    With a Republican Congress that did no oversight, Bush could have squashed an internal agency investigation and Bloch would have had nowhere to turn. Now, his work is complementary to the work being done by the various investigatory committees. Bush and Rove have to make the political choice about whether they can ride out an investigation conducted by Bloch, or whether it costs them less politically to block it and take the heat with Congress.

    On the Republican side, there is the the traditinoal â€Republican values†crowd that thinks Bush is a failure by their government spending and limited government measurements. If the Dems rid them of Bush, they avoid internecine Republican warfare, enjoy his removal, and they bash the Dems as â€too political.â€

    However, the tradition Republican side has aided and abetted every depredation Bush committed. They have drunk too much Kool Aid too long to claim innocence in 2008.

  18. dougR says:

    Funny. I just watched â€All the President’s Men†on my local PBS affil. The constant, from then to now, is Republicans acting above and beyond the rule of law, constantly pushing the envelope of indecency and criminality, essentially setting up what amounts to a coup, in the deepest possible secrecy. Then, though, there was the Washington Post, and Woodward/Bernstein, who dug hard and long, 24-7, to get the facts. Now, the Post is run by that pathetic puddle of piss, Don Graham, and the White House reporters wait for their handouts from Tony Snow’s office and beg for scraps from the Crawford kitchen. Of course, back then, Nixon didn’t own the Supreme Court–but now, George Bush does. And that, I’m afraid, is where all of this is headed. The uncovering of Watergate seemed to turn on tenacious reporting and a few people in the center who were sickened at the criminality of Nixon’s enterprise, and were willing to spill. Sad to say that today not one of the Republican maggots that we’ve seen testifying, from Gonzalez to Goodling to Schlozman, seems to have a functioning moral compass or a conscience…or an inclination to admit (or even recognize) their wrongs.

    I didn’t mean this post to be a paean to Marcy and the rest of our lefty blog ilk, but I’m afraid that’s what it is. Woodward & Bernstein, THEN, had a hunger for the truth and literally didn’t sleep until they got it. Now, aside from Waas and Sy Hersh, the only place I see that any more is…here.

  19. badgervan says:

    Ten to one most of the records are long gone. Remember that Rent-a-Truck that was backed up to Cheney’s mansion a year or so ago?

  20. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Albert Fall, I think we’re in unmapped territory – politically, economically, environmentally.

    I actually know some of the Republican Old Guard, who spent the late 1960s and early 1970s passing landmark environmental legislation and buildng public infrastructure: dams, sewer systems, school systems, highways. They’ve voted Republican for many years, and their kids in the suburbs assumed that voting Repubican was the fiscally responsible, sensible, white collar, ’professional’ thing to do. But these days, they’re seething. (And I pray they see more clips of Lurita Doan, because she is a bureaucratic Katrina – insolent, rude, and evasive; they’d fire her ass in a heartbeat.)

    The Republican party appears to be undergoing a political meiosis. (FWIW: ’Meiosis’ is the process through which the two strands of DNA unravel as a cell prepares to divide; each ’half’ of the divided cell, or ’gamete’, contains one strand of DNA. A gamete then combines with another gamete [egg + sperm] and through that process, a new, unique DNA sequence is created as the gametes join their DNA strands). The Democratic Party underwent meiosis way back in the early 1970s, when labor split off from the anti-war, social activists.

    If I’m hearing correctly, it’s a safe bet that the split within the Republican party is now irreversable. The white collar, highly educated, non-evangelical, managerial people that I know (engineers, accountants, medical professionals, developers) are seething.

    They understand that if a business making bad decisions, you don’t toss good money after bad. You don’t let the company (or government) contrinue to make irresponsible decisions — you step in and ’restructure’. They understand that any jerk can play The Blame Game, so they don’t have patience for claims that investigations are simply ’political payback’. They see the economic and social impacts of corruption. They want this slo-motion train wreck cleaned up, because it’s impacting their business and personal decisions. Between energy costs, health care costs, a soft mortgage market, a damaged military, a damaged international reputation, and rising interest rates, they are contemptuous at the failures of national leadership (President and Congress).

    From what I can decipher, the Republican party appears to be well into its unraveling along economic, class, and religious lines. Something new is trying to emerge, although it’s unclear to me what it will look like — most likely a new kind of coalition. I do suspect that far more emphasis on biological integrity and environmental health will be key to it’s coherence. Along with a much greater emphasis on ’accountability’ that is more responsive and credible than expensive quadrennial elections.

  21. sojourner says:

    Great thoughts!

    [email protected]:55 — â€The white collar, highly educated, non-evangelical, managerial people that I know (engineers, accountants, medical professionals, developers) are seething.â€

    I fit right into your description, and I have been a moderate Republican for most of my life. I am totally appalled by what I see going on! There is so much to be angry about with Bush, Cheney and Rove that it is hard to pin it down to any one thing.

    My undergraduate degree was in Journalism from a large university. Although I never pursued a career in newspapers, I have thrilled to the stories of Woodward and Bernstein about Watergate. Good, solid reporting that stands the tests of time and the denials of the wrong-doers — that is what it should be about.

    Sadly, today, BushCo has managed to buy off much of the MSM through their boardrooms, and counter MSM organizations that do care through Fox and similar entities. Bushco will never admit to getting caught in an untruth — they just spin new lies, it seems, so that the public does not know who to believe.

    The one that really galls me — that I think may be helping to unravel the Republican fabric as it presently exists — is the absolute necessity to win at all cost. I have often commented to friends that I have never sensed such polarization in our country, and I think that winning at all costs is the root of that. It kills any chance for debate about issues, and is dictatorial in tone.

    I was reading a piece the other day, and I cannot remember all the details, but the upshot was that Bush’s people have begun trying to rewrite history. That makes me (and probably some others) a little crazy!

    I could go on and on, but your comments, I thought, were right on target…

  22. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Sojourner, I’ve written too much here today, but appreciate your kind remarks and wanted to acknowledge them. You give me hope that I’m not yet (tone) deaf

    I also know an individual who has worked for the Republican National Party more than once, and who attended Ike’s first inaugural and later worked for CREEP (when Nixon was running). If you want your ears to burn, talk to that guy — he perceives Bu$hCo as an absolute betrayal of what he worked for and helped to build. So I sense that you have lots of company.

    I’ve been more of a swing voter, but like a lot of others I share your angst.

  23. MarkH says:

    When the presidential elections are close and there are tens of millions who vote Republican I just can’t buy this idea that the Republican party is splitting up. Nope. There seems to be an unending string of young budding greedy criminal types just coming out of college and becoming the new Lurita â€Cookies†Doans or George W. Bushs or Karl Roves of the world.

    That’s probably the number one thing about this presidential administration which has troubled me. There are far too many people willing to go along with all this stuff and benefit from it despite it’s illegality and immorality and certainly unconstitutionality of it all.

    I mean, how can John Yoo spew garbage about Law being quaint and outdated? How can AG Gonzales continue to say â€I don’t recall.†without embarassment? How can Tim Griffin say he didn’t â€cage†anything after documents show he knew he did?

    How can these people continue to lie and conspire to destroy America without us worrying there is a neverending line of them out there in America, just waiting for a chance to get into government to steal their own booty and destroy America in the process?

  24. Albert Fall says:

    Happy Watergate break-in day.

    A few differences between Republican fracturing and Dem fracturing.

    I take to heart John Dean’s contention that there is a quarter of the population that leans toward authoritarianism, and they tend to be Republican and loyal followers….so that gives Reps a standing edge the Dems do not have.

    Also, there is a cadre of Republican campaigners who are focused, capable (albeit frequently racist and amoral/corrupt).

    The Dems fractured, but never had a core campaigning group that could still hold out the hope of winning elections.

    The fractures could ultimately mean less campaign money for Republican candidates, diminishing their winning percentage over time.

  25. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Albert Hall, I agree that there are differences in the characteristics of hard-core Dems and Repubs that give different temperaments and focus to each group.

    Like you, I’ve found insight in John Dean’s Conservatives Without Conscience. The current group really are authoritarians in a way that even Nixon never approached, and it really is ’worse than Watergate.’ There has been so much social, political, demographic, economic, technical, and cultural change over the past 40 years that the people least able to deal with change (i.e., authoritarian personalities) have reacted most strongly. Toss in a media that offers sound-bite imagery of pseudo ’leadership’ and you have a toxic mix.

    But the authoritarians have killed the Golden Goose of government, and as the costs become more evident to ’normal people’, support for their behavior is vanishing.