Tony Fratto Opens His Big Fat Mouth–and Waxman Responds

When I read Tony Fratto’s aggressive denials that the White House had lost millions of emails today …

Q Tony, on the subject, could you address the missing White House emails and the law suit? It is a subject of reports this morning. Are there in fact the emails missing? What’s the likelihood of their recovery versus the —

MR. FRATTO: I think our review of this, and you saw the court filing on this, and our declaration in response to the judge’s questions — I think to the best of what all the analysis we’ve been able to do, we have absolutely no reason to believe that any emails are missing; there’s no evidence of that. There’s no — we tried to reconstruct some of the work that went into a chart that was entered into court records and could not replicate that or could not authenticate the correctness of the data in that chart. And from everything that we can tell, our analysis of our backup systems, we have no reason to believe that any email at all are missing.

Q So where are they?

MR. FRATTO: Where are what?

Q Where are part of —

MR. FRATTO: Which email? Look, no one will tell you categorically about any system — any system, whether it’s your system at Bloomberg or our system here at the White House, past and present, categorically that data cannot be missing. All of our review of it and all of the our understanding of the way that the backup system works, it’s a backup system that captures existing data, it captures things that are stored and archived. We have no reason to believe that there’s any data missing at all — and we’ve certainly found no evidence of any data missing.

Q So that would mean that if you were asked, you would be in a position to comply with a request to produce those documents?

MR. FRATTO: Yes, which documents? I mean, if someone has a specific request for documents and they would like us to search for particular emails, of course we could search for emails — and we have. And we have been responsive to requests in the past.

Q And they have been produced? They do exist?

MR. FRATTO: We have produced emails upon request, either for our own internal review or sometimes in response to investigations that have taken place on the Hill. I mean, we have been able to go back and find email. The question is, have we been able to find a large mass of missing email? No, we have not located somewhere in the system the absence of something. We have not been able to note the absence of anything in our databases.*

Q You’re saying they’re there, you just haven’t located them yet?

MR. FRATTO: No, I’m saying we have no evidence that shows that anything at all is missing. And you’re saying, well, have you found the missing emails — and we say we have no evidence that anything is missing.

Q So you’re saying that would include emails that were erased from the Republican National Committee system that was used by some White House officials?

MR. FRATTO: I can’t speak to the RNC’s system of archiving and storing email. All I can tell you is that the email on the White House computers, we have no reason to believe that any email or other data are missing.

I said to myself, "Tony, you just got the White House in a heap of trouble with your big fat mouth." After all, I reasoned to myself, the White House has previously represented to people, including Patrick Fitzgerald, that they had lost email. That’s how they kept Jenny Mayfield and Cathie Martin out of jail for not turning over what appears to be email responsive to subpoena. So if you now say that there are no emails missing, it means all that legal testimony the White House has given–some of it under oath–is incorrect. If you say that, Tony, you’re just inviting someone to respond.

And respond Henry Waxman did.

Dear Mr. Fielding:

At today’s White House press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto was asked about allegations that White House e-mails have been lost from White House servers. He stated in response: “we have absolutely no reason to believe that any e-mails are missing.”

This statement is contrary to information that the White House provided to the Committee staff in a briefing on September 19, 2007. At this briefing, the White House showed staff a chart indicating that there were 473 days for which various entities in the Executive Office of the President had no archived e-mails. According to the chart, the days with no archived e-mails included:

For the White House Office: December 17, 2003, December 20, 2003, December 21, 2003, January 9, 2004, January 10, 2004, January 11, 2004, January 29, 2004, February 1, 2004, February 2, 2004, February 3, 2004, February 7, 2004, and February 8, 2004.

For the Office of the Vice President: September 12, 2003, October 1, 2003, October 2, 2003, October 3, 2003, October 5, 2003, January 29, 2004, January 30, 2004, January 31, 2004, February 7, 2004, February 8, 2004, February 15, 2005, February 16, 2005, February 17, 2005, May 21, 2005, May 22, 2005, May 23, 2005.

For the Council on Environmental Quality: 81 days, including the entire period between November 1, 2003 through January 11, 2004.

For the Council of Economic Advisers: 103 days, including the entire period between November 2, 2003 through January 11, 2004.

For the Office of Management and Budget: 59 days, including the entire period between November 1, 2003 through December 9, 2003.

For the U.S. Trade Representative: 73 days, including the entire period between February 11, 2004 through April 18, 2004.

The White House officials conducting the briefing took this chart with them. They also indicated that the White House was doing an additional analysis to determine whether the information in the chart was accurate. In a letter I sent to you on December 20, 2007, I asked for any new information or analyses about the problem of missing e-mails. I have not received a response to this letter.

Mr. Fratto’s statements have added to the considerable confusion that exists regarding the status of White House efforts to preserve e-mails. To help clarify the situation, I request your testimony and the testimony of Alan Swendiman, the Director of the Office of Administration, at a hearing on February 15, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

See, I told you you were going to get the White House in trouble. Poor Fred Fielding, who survived the 18 minute gap, is going to have to come and testify about why all the legal representations the White House made in the past about missing emails are no longer operative.


Update: Jeff says I can’t forget Tony’s asterisk.

*As has previously been stated in the Declaration filed with the court on January 15, 2008, "a chart was created by a former employee within OA that purports to identify certain dates and EOP components for which the chart’s creator appears to have concluded that certain EOP components were missing emails on certain dates in the 2003-2005 period." However, as we have also previously said, the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) "has reviewed the chart and has so far been unable to replicate its results or to affirm the correctness of the assumptions underlying it. Accordingly, th[e] [OCIO] has serious reservations about the reliability of the chart," which is why there is currently an independent effort to examine this issue further.

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92 replies
      • Jeff says:

        But so this is going to be the White House response to Waxman – that chart is inoperative, since they haven’t been able to reproduce its results. But how much do you want to bet one of the assumptions they haven’t been able to affirm is that if there were no email for a given day, that means the email was not properly archived?

        • emptywheel says:

          That’s why that Martin to Mayfield email is key. Presumably, they told Fitz it was not archived properly, right? So if they back Tony, they have to explain why they told Fitz what they did–and why he didn’t get the email (and the other 248 pages) we don’t know about.

          • Jeff says:

            Just to draw it out, and then ask a question: your point is that OVP has to rely on the notion that that October 1 2003 email and the rest that we have not seen but that Fitzgerald got were not archived properly, because otherwise they are on the hook for having unlawfully withheld them from Fitzgerald. OK. But the question is: is part of the White House’s point that “not archived properly” does not equal “missing” and they are claiming that emails are not missing? Thus, those 250 pages of email that Fitzgerald got in February 2006 may not have been archived properly, but they are not missing – since Fitzgerald got them!

            So one issue is: how did OVP come up with those previously missing emails? And does that mean that the rest can be found as well?

            Another issue is: was the chart that Waxman was shown in 2007 outdated, perhaps created in 2005 when the issue was discovered but made out of date by the efforts undertaken to get Fitzgerald his emails?

            Or is the White House really just playing semantic and other games?

            I am also curious, does the chart as summarized by Waxman mean there were no improperly archived emails for any period earlier in 2003, such as July?

            Finally, needless to say, those are some pretty suspicious dates for OVP in October 2003.

            • emptywheel says:

              Regarding earlier in 2003 (Jeebus, I was gonna do that tomorrow), this revelation would suggest that Rove’s missing emails were RNC emails, not EOP ones. Or deleted (though if that’s true, Henry’s only telling us some of the dates, and holding his big reveal for later). About OVP? Those emails might have been deleted. Or they might be RNC (we never got a full list of who in OVP had RNC accounts, but there were a perfect number of unnamed RNC email owners to believe it might be OVP).

              Or maybe we’ve gotten all the 2003 emails?

              But yes, the WH has to now say it was an archiving problem, not a deletion problem. It looks like Addingotn printed out the Martin Mayfield email from within the OVP server, so that says either from an archive that was restored or (more likely), from a hard drive.

              That doesn’t mean the emails have been deleted (except for Rove’s, which might be why WH risked Fratto running his mouth, to build a last firewall fofr Rove’s emails), but it does mean, as Fratto says, that they are recoverable IF you know they’re there.

              If they’ve foudn a way to make these recoevrable only if you know they’re there, it sure makes investigations difficult.

    • MadDog says:

      Don’t miss the asterix added to Fratto’s remarks.

      As in “we’re probably lying, but if you catch us out, we’ve got another whopper ready to go”?

    • Jeff says:

      Oops, still on break here, hence pretty exclusively on gmail not the other one, which is where I presume it is since I haven’t seen it. Will do.

  1. MadDog says:

    Tony “The Rat” Fratto’s remarks seem to be right in line with Rummy’s thinking:

    “Absence of knowledge is not knowledge of absence.”

    • emptywheel says:

      “Pig Missile” Perino.

      She’s in the Middle East with Bush. Always happens with this Administration–as soon as Bush leaves the country all hell breaks loose. Which, the rest of the world would like us to note, ought to be a lesson for us.

  2. phred says:

    The list of dates in Waxman’s letter are more specific than I expected, as in individual, non-contiguous days (e.g., Dec. 17, 2003, Dec. 20, 2003, etc.). Is that because information was specifically requested/subpoenaed for those dates, or did someone at the White House Office have a particular gift for spilling coffee on the backup system every few days?

    • emptywheel says:

      Trying to work on it (and waiting for the geeks in the crowd to offer suggestions). But I suspect these are the days for which all email from an office has been lost, which makes it clear that it has been lost.

      • MadDog says:

        Well, as a resident geek (in good standing one hopes *g*), my thoughts are that the system doing the archiving for WH email servers had a bunch of archiving jobs to run daily/nightly.

        These archiving jobs would individually point to specific organizational structures like the EOP, OVP, CEQ, CEA. OMB and USTR. Each specific job would then archive emails associated with each specific organization’s staff.

        I’m guessing that these jobs were failing to run or run properly, and that no one was assigned or if assigned, was not reviewing the output of these jobs to see that they completed successfully.

        Given the long, long duration of the failures (2003 through mid-2005), it is likely that either no one even knew (unlikely given the Clinton Admin history) or that no higher-ups gave a rat’s ass about these failures until retrieval efforts themselves failed after May 2005.

        This may fit EW with your timeline round about here:

        October 2005: White House Office of Administration discovers not all email has been archived properly.

        According to CREW’s sources, in October 2005, the Office of Administration (”OA”) discovered a problem with this email retention process. The OA undertook a detailed analysis of the issue, which revealed that between March 2003 and October 2005, there were hundreds of days in which emails were missing for one or more of the EOP components subject to PRA. The OA estimated that roughly over five million email messages were missing.

        OA briefs Harriet Miers and Patrick Fitzgerald on the email retention process. October 2005 is also the end-date of the period during which White House emails were not preserved properly.

        IT folks low down on the totem pole probably knew all about this archiving failure, but having previously been pissed on by the mucky-mucks higher up wrt to budgets to fix said problem, probably did what any good geek would do and say “Fuck it! Tain’t my problem. I’m going home and have a brew ’cause it’s gotta be Beer-Thirty somewhere.”

        • Redshift says:

          Kudos for constructing a scenario that might possibly fit their story, but I think you’re giving way too much credence to the details they’re spouting. This is an administration that illegally used outside mail servers to evade records requirements, so I don’t think there’s any reason to believe them when they say that backups from a particularly incriminating period got overwritten by accident.

          These were records that were required to be preserved by law, and that the administration clearly did not want anyone to see. I think it’s very unlikely that they got overwritten by accident because they couldn’t be bothered to supervise the IT work. If, for example, a company’s accounting records “got lost” or a law firm violated records retention regs and they tried to claim that the IT guys just screwed up, they’d be laughed out of court and then shut down.

          I think it’s more likely that they found some Republican IT consultants and asked them for a vaguely plausible scenario they could use as cover for the records they’d destroyed, in an effort to get people bogged down in the details of backup processes instead of talking about destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice.

          • MadDog says:

            I too, agree that this Administration has deliberately undertaken to bypass, ignore or otherwise evade the legal record-keeping requirements vis a vis stuff like RNC email accounts for 88+ White House Staff. Non-WH email accounts that were indeed used to conduct “government business”.

            Stuff like this is hard evidence of that approach:

            From: Abramoff, Jack (Dir-DC-Gov)
            sent: Friday. February 07,2003 1025 AM
            To: Ringi, Kevin (Shld-DC-Gov)
            Subject: Re: email on jena

            Damnit. It was sent to Susan on her rnc pager and was not supposed to go into the WH system.

            —Original Message—
            From: Ring, Kevin (Shld-DC-Gov)
            Sent Friday. February 07, 2003 10:26 AM
            To: Abramoff, Jack (Dir-DC-Gov)
            Subject: emailon jena

            Your email to Susan was forwarded to Ruben Barrales and on to Jen Farley, who read it to me last night. I don’t know what to think about this, but she said it is better not to put this stuff in writing in their email system because it might limit what they can do to help us, especially since there could be lawsuits. etc. Who knows? Just telling you know what she said. Anyway, I had called her to talk about Jena; She has not heard from anyone on the otherside of this issue.

            All of this is true and can’t be disavowed by this Administration by hemming, hawwing or their normal approach, outright lying.

            That said, I do believe that the WH EOP email archiving system was/is in poor shape and we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss this Administration’s usage of the problem to further their undeniable desires wrt to secrecy and unaccountability.

            It seems the WH EOP email archiving system and the lying liars in this Administration were made for each other.

            • Rayne says:

              …I do believe that the WH EOP email archiving system was/is in poor shape and we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss this Administration’s usage of the problem to further their undeniable desires wrt to secrecy and unaccountability.

              The more I think about this, the more it is a complete and utter stretch. I can’t convey how much of a stretch it is.

              Was there a vendor involved, like IBM or Dell? (probably IBM) Did the vendor have people who were either on site or on call, with appropriate security clearances? Why isn’t the vendor having a kizzy and running around in circles because one of their most important clients backup systems failed for one week, let alone more than a freaking month long over multiple departments?

              Was there an IT service provider, like CSC, IBM or EDS? (wouldn’t be surprised if it was IBM) Again, why isn’t this vendor running around in a freakout over the gross failure of its staff to provide contracted service? In a corporate enterprise, there’s absolutely no way that one day’s backup failure would go unnoticed and unremarked upon to a service provider.

              And then let’s look at the architecture. Let’s assume the EOP network doesn’t rely on virtualized storage, uses SCSI tape vaults attached to one Exchange server per organization, as outlined above (very inefficient in terms of cost, and technologically regressed, but we’re going to dumb down to give the EOP the widest latitude). How in the hell does an IT department manage to permit what looks like 3 separate tape vaults to fail within 24 hours of each other, and not restart again within 24 hours of each other — let along days, weeks, months in a failed state?

              This just stinks to high heaven. No freaking way in hell does this make sense.

              I like the cartoon greenbird pointed to: What the HELL is going on?!

              • MadDog says:

                The more I think about this, the more it is a complete and utter stretch. I can’t convey how much of a stretch it is.

                One of the reasons I don’t discount the “fucked up IT” scenario is buttressed by that GAO report of 2001 on the Clinton Administration that EW put in her timeline.

                In the end, I’m just saying that the mucky-mucks in the Junya Administration would only have cried “crocodile tears” when they found out that the WH email archiving system was crappola. I can’t imagine any of ‘em demanding that it be fixed. *g*

                • CTuttle says:

                  In the end, I’m just saying that the mucky-mucks in the Junya Administration would only have cried “crocodile tears” when they found out that the WH email archiving system was crappola. I can’t imagine any of ‘em demanding that it be fixed. *g*

                  Particularly, Darth Cheney… ‘Plausible Deniability’ anyone…?

                  • dude says:

                    It seems to me–the more I hear about the semantics of back-up and archive–Darth Cheney is going the opposite way: he is aiming for plausible credibility.

          • pinson says:

            I think you’ve got this exactly right:

            …it’s more likely that they found some Republican IT consultants and asked them for a vaguely plausible scenario they could use as cover for the records they’d destroyed, in an effort to get people bogged down in the details of backup processes instead of talking about destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice.

            They sat on their ultimate excuse (”Oh and by the way, we reused our backup tapes and that’s why emails are missing”) till midnight of the day they had to respond. This is the best they could come up with after years of stonewalling? And the “best practices” line isn’t just laughable, it’s preposterous. You’re mandated by law to preserve your data, and you erase it? Please. It’s quite obvious that the erasures were deliberate. Waxman’s got them by the short and curlies now.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              This administration is complicit in hacking election machines, so overwriting backup tapes, or writing bugs aimed at ‘disappearing’ specific emails (’starts with Di…’) wouldn’t be all that difficult for them. The curious question is ‘who got the contract to write those code insertions’? Does such a contract tie in with Mitchell Wade, or with any of the subcontractors linked to the Cunningham mess, or some pal of Dusty Foggo’s? Or to the firm that operated the RNC servers…?

              IMHO, the WH is willing to hide behind the storyline that they’re ‘incompetent’, b/c no one thinks of ‘incompetence’ as deliberate, premeditated evil. However, the patterns of missing information are too strange to derive from simple ‘incompetence’.

              The lack of redunancy — not only in the servers, but as Rayne points out in DOUBLE-CHECKING THE PROCEDURES — is simply not plausible. Sure looks like they’re trying to pawn off deliberate hacking and destruction under the guise of ‘incompetence’.

              That dog won’t hunt.

        • Rayne says:

          I beg to differ. If you read some of the hub-bub at TechRepublic (once you get past the partisan crap), you can see that the real professionals don’t buy for a second that this was an accident.

          This is supposed to be a government facility, outlined not only by stringently and annoyingly detailed process documentation, with double-checks at a minimum. “Industry best practices” would do that, and government operations that are hardened for security purposes and business continuity would certainly be all that and more.

          This was pointed and deliberate.

          The dates may also not coincide with any external date, but dates in which the administration was communicating internally — or with the RNC.

          Where’s the RNC’s emails, by the way?

          Oh, and I’d have to say it’s kind of quirky that there were 485 recorded contacts with the White House and Abramoff/lobbyists, and 473 days of missing emails. Wonder how many were overlaps in that 2003-2005 window?

          There’s also the squirrely bit about the helter-skelter archiving. In an enterprise, the Exchange servers might originally be set up with a population of a particular department on them, but it really depends on the organization and how anal they are. (As servers get full, people may be moved from server to server, too; let’s assume in this case that they aren’t full servers because of the recent migration from Lotus.) How is it that entire functions miss whole days of archiving for periods on end? How is it that nobody notices that very day?

          Working in one of those enterprise environments where we used “industry best practices”, if a tape drive failed, I got a page from a technician monitoring all the backups within minutes of the failure. A field service tech would be dispatched once remote diagnostics had reached the limits of their ability to resolve the problem; the field service tech would do further diagnostics and attempt a physical repair. If the field service tech couldn’t repair the drive, provisioning would be called to deploy a spare tape drive so that the backup could be run yet that night, with the failed machine removed for repairs or scrapped. The backup might also be reprogrammed to run on a different tape drive system if the architecture of the network allowed it (would the SAN permit remapping to a new virtual location on another networked storage device) — and reprogrammed back to the new tape drive or original virtual storage location. The backup is checked during and after completion against the previous backup (not bit-for-bit per se) to ensure that the new backup was successful.

          With that being a typical practice in an enterprise of 3000-6000 employees, how in the hell do entire months go by without email being archived?

          If that had happened on my watch in IT for more than a couple of days, I’d have been stripped of my badge and escorted firmly off the premises.

          Nope, not a little accident here. This was pointed and deliberate.

          • greenbird4751 says:

            my favorite new yorker magazine cartoonist, booth, created my favorite cartoon, the old coot with the bull terrier scratching wildly. the old coot, holding a newspaper, says something like: “what the HELL is going on?! does anybody know what the HELL is going on?! i want to know what the HELL is going on!!?”
            and this was from oh, 1999 or 2000…

            oh that richard clarke, writing “against all enemies”, and john dean, promising it is worse than watergate…

            rayne, you’re one of the good guys, and write really well. the usa ceo/coo is a miserable failure: strip him of his badge and kick him down the stairs and make him WALK back to crawford.

          • MadDog says:

            Then we’ll just agree to disagree slightly on the “possibility” that the WH IT organization is fucked up. *g*

            I too, work in a 1st Class IT organization. We support 25,000+ users world-wide, and we are highly rated by organizations that do such stuff, as well as by our peers.

            Having said that, I’ve have worked for or with many, many different IT organizations over my 25+ year career from the biggest in the world (like AT&T before the breakup), to the smallest “mom and pop” IT shops, and believe me, there a lots and lots of fucked up IT organizations that would send shivers down anyone’s spine.

            I’m certainly not trying to give Junya and Co. an out (nor am I suggesting anyone here is intimating that *g*), I’m just saying the way the failures look from the outside can lead one to a reasonable explanation of IT and people failure.

            That in no way demotes the deliberate and intentional plan to avoid scrutiny as undeniably practiced by many of the denizens of this Administration. I’m quite comfortable is saying that I believe they had this plan in place before the oath of office was ever administered.

            They just happened to luck out that the WH IT organization was a bumbling and perhaps, unwitting accomplice.

            • Rayne says:

              Wouldn’t be surprised if our paths had crossed, MD.

              And in my experience, I’ve even had the dubious pleasure of managing an acquisition project, where a small company of 5 sites was spun onto a Fortune 100 company.

              The names of the email servers this little company used still cracks me up to this day:

              Bubba.

              And BillyBob.

              Yeah. Try explaining how to map Bubba and BillyBob onto a state-of-the-art network…

              But those yahoos actually had good backups, differentials every day and fulls every weekend run on a small tape vault attached directly to Bubba and BillyBob.

              The archiving failure has nothing to do with the backup process. It’s got to be a human manipulation of output, whether tapes “lost” or “mis-filed” or deleted/overwritten.

              • MadDog says:

                The archiving failure has nothing to do with the backup process. It’s got to be a human manipulation of output, whether tapes “lost” or “mis-filed” or deleted/overwritten.

                The issue of re-using backup tapes just astonishes me.

                On the archiving issue, I think part of the problem is that sucker was not an “off-the-shelf” backup critter like Arcserve, but instead was a hacked customized interface built by a 3rd-party contractor (Northrop Grumman?).

                From that GAO report:

                Several factors contributed to the expected cost to restore omitted EOP e-mail records to ARMS, estimated by an EOP contractor to be $11.7 million:

                • An EOP support contractor’s performance of tape management and
                systems maintenance and documentation activities contributed to the
                increased size and scope of the tape restoration project. Specifically, the
                EOP’s assessments of contractor performance revealed that management
                of e-mail backup tapes was weak and that maintenance of e-mail systems
                and user accounts needed improvement. In addition, the automated link
                between the EOP’s e-mail system and ARMS was not documented as
                required. As a result, the EOP could not identify the specific tapes within
                its entire tape population that needed restoration and could not readily
                understand and optimize records management controls.

                • The EOP did not effectively monitor management of e-mail records. It did
                not include critical elements in its monitoring program, such as
                evaluations of the creation of records, maintenance and use of records,
                and records disposition. This increased the time needed to detect the
                Mail2 and Letter D malfunctions and added to the accumulation of backup
                tapes to be restored.

                • Scrutiny of the e-mail malfunctions and the EOP’s tape restoration
                practices by external authorities introduced additional project tasks,
                including contracts for independent verification and validation of the
                restoration process and for additional security over the project.

                This sounds to me much like institutional fucking up. Granted that it was in the Clinton Administration (at the tail end), but I’m guessing that the WH IT org didn’t suddenly grow some smarts when Junya and crew took over.

          • jdmckay says:

            beg to differ. If you read some of the hub-bub at TechRepublic (once you get past the partisan crap), you can see that the real professionals don’t buy for a second that this was an accident.

            (…)

            This was pointed and deliberate.

            Agree completely, as I’ve said previously on several preceeding threats.

            Oh, and I’d have to say it’s kind of quirky that there were 485 recorded contacts with the White House and Abramoff/lobbyists, and 473 days of missing emails. Wonder how many were overlaps in that 2003-2005 window?

            uh-huh.

            With that being a typical practice in an enterprise of 3000-6000 employees, how in the hell do entire months go by without email being archived?

            If that had happened on my watch in IT for more than a couple of days, I’d have been stripped of my badge and escorted firmly off the premises.

            Nope, not a little accident here. This was pointed and deliberate.

            Absolutely, 100% agree.

            IMO some of statements in last several days comments inaccurately suggest Exchange backup is a daunting task. A few relevant points:

            * Most of the M$ upgrades that came in yr 2000… operating system, office, exchange etc. were huge leaps in reliability, console management (eg: simple, reliable front ends or “windows” to manage “stuff”) as opposed to custom coded lower level utilities/hacks/ and such. So it was with Exchange. Not perfect, but (especially for Microsoft) a huge leap. Exchange has been damn reliable quite a while now.

            * There are a host of well established, proven a) 3rd party backup software vendors, b) offsite storage, and combinations of a) / b). Google “Exchange Backup”, you’ll get a long list. These 3rd party software solutions “hook” windows API (eg: tap into various/appropriate entry points in Exchange’s processes, grab the data, and redirect to whatever the job @ hand requires). These things mostly “plug in”, are proven, and cost effective. Even Microsoft offers their own off-site archiving service for Exchange, along with management/search & query consoles.

            * There’s huge # of professionals available who know this stuff inside & out. It’s not rocket science anymore, nor does it require huge investments (especially for operation size of WH… smallish) in $$ or IT/Development staffs.

            This kind of data loss just doesn’t happen… I completely agree w/you Rayne. This selective missing date’s mail is a feature, not a bug.

            Just who is this “independent” forensic person/group/co. that’s supposed to be figuring all this out, anyone know? Another Browny? I’d make a gentleman’s wager the deal was made w/a Bush “Ranger”.

          • bigbrother says:

            Madog’s parsing for the administration struck of key fro me too. I am not a tech, but I understand a service contract that is set to comply with the lega requirement of the law is a very sensistive responsibility on the contractor.
            The supervisor of the archiving would nave to answer to higher authority. The presidential record is important for a number of reasons.
            Rayne described industry standards are not going to allow consistant mistakes. Looks like a cover up, smells like a coverup barks like a coverup…is a coverup hense obstruction at the least.

  3. AZ Matt says:

    At least the Three Stooges did their routines for laughs. These guys are all slap and no stick.

    This statement is contrary to information that the White House provided to the Committee staff in a briefing on September 19, 2007.

    Arrogance at least is at work here but I think stupidity has out stripped it. I can’t believe Perino would have OK’ed Fratto’s statements. Why invite someone like Waxman to start digging even more?

    Thank you god/goddess for your strange sense of humor.

    • JodiDog says:

      Rayne,

      my point was that there wasn’t going to be any emails found. And especially the particular type (indicting) that you sought. I gave the logic for that. No one, anywhere, anytime seems to have had them.

      Now if it is because they never existed, I guess I will consider that to be close enough to be the same case.

      If it means that a search criteria hasn’t been defined properly, I would be skeptical. I am not sure what Fratto is saying really.

      As for the White House being in trouble, well you have the same old case where “he told me so,” I thought,” “to the best of my knowledge,” what the heck do I know?”

  4. emptywheel says:

    Incidentally, Keith Roberts, the guy who briefed Waxman on the missing emails, is the same guy who received email search requests from Addington.

    On May 29,2007, Keith Roberts, the Deputy General Counsel of the White House Office of Administration, and Emmet Flood, Special Counsel to the President, briefed Committee staff on the White House e-mail system and the missing e-mails. At the briefing, Mr. Roberts informed Committee staff that the White House had discovered in 2005 that an unknown number of e-mails may not have been preserved in the White House archive, as required by the Presidential Records Act. According to Mr. Roberts, the Offrce of the Chief Information Officer then conducted a review of the e-mail system to determine the scope of the potential loss. He said that this review apparently found some days with a very small number of preserved e-mails and some days with no e-mails preserved at all. He also stated that a report summarizing these findings had been presented to the White House Counsel’s offirce.

    • MadDog says:

      So at tommorrow’s press gaggle, Tony “The Rat” Fratto is gonna get a bunch of “liar, liar, pants on fire!” catcalls from the assembled press?

      Nah, I didn’t think so either.

  5. merkwurdiglieber says:

    You have to like the speed of Waxman’s response, his team was ready to
    go on that one. Great stuff.

    • emptywheel says:

      There was a day when I predicted Waxman would respond to something by 1PM that day, and I got the alert by 1:16. You can pretty much set a clock by Waxman.

      • Waccamaw says:

        There was a day when I predicted Waxman would respond to something by 1PM that day, and I got the alert by 1:16. You can pretty much set a clock by Waxman.

        Waxman’s staff should be the model by which competence is defined.

        Many thanks to all the wade-in-the-weeds brains and techno-geeks who’ve been posting/commenting on this subject; thank Dog y’all are on the sunshine side. *g*

  6. Mary says:

    Completely OT

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/p…..ntrassID=1

    Canada’s foreign ministry has put the United States and Israel on a watch list of countries where prisoners risk being tortured and also classifies some U.S. interrogation techniques as torture, according to a document obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

  7. Mary says:

    Not so OT

    Per Froomkin,
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..inionsbox1

    Writing in Government Executive, Jill R. Aitoro provides some background on archiving obligations and notes: “By Feb. 1, the National Archives and Records Administration and the White House must provide congressional watchdogs with an update on preparations for the transition of all presidential records to the National Archives by January 2009.”

    Mark your calendars.

  8. bobschacht says:

    Gotta run, but first to remind y’all of the tons of emails (if this is an exaggeration, its not by much) that John McCain got as chair of interior on the Abramoff scandal back when he was committee chair. Can those be subpoenaed to examine for missing emails?

    Bob in HI

  9. Hugh says:

    The Fratto comments could be real but you need to remember that Fratto is a clown, idiot and pure propagandist. Facts mean nothing to him. He repeats whatever the White House line is. I could see him saying that the White House has the emails it has and if it doesn’t have others, you can’t prove they exist.

  10. litigatormom says:

    Fratto’s statement could have been written by Donald Rumsfeld. “We have no reason to believe” there are missing e-mails actually means “we are not yet faced with indubitable, conclusive, no-getting-around-it evidence that the e-mails are lost, because we are still conducting an internal inquiry and as long as we are conducting an internal inquiry, it is possible that we will discover the missing e-mails under the President’s credenza, where he went looking for the weapons of mass destruction.” Look next for someone to claim that the Iraqis hid the missing e-mails in the Syrian desert.

    On a more serious note, the “we are still looking/investigating/trying to confirm” schtick is often what you hear lawyers say when they are scrambling to explain what is known in the law biz as “spoliation of evidence.” You try to delay the day of reckoning as long as possible by trying to find the missing suckers, or at least come up with a non-sanctionable explanation of how the stuff got lost. There is a growing tendency to slam both the parties and their counsel in civil cases really hard where documents have been destroyed or not preserved. In addition to monetary sanctions, in some cases judges have shifted the burden of proof against the party that destroyed/lost documents, or have even imposed a finding of liability with damages to be determined separately. Unfortunately, this isn’t the sort of lawsuit where such sanctions will get imposed.

    All of this is eerily similar to the post-Watergate parlor game called “why didn’t Nixon destroy the tapes?” Some have suggested that he didn’t remember how bad they were; others have suggested that he thought that they would actually vindicate him; still others have given him credit for not being willing to cross the line into outright destruction of evidence. Many Nixon supporters openly suggested that the tapes be burned before the Supreme Court could order their production, and others regretted, after the fact, that Nixon hadn’t had the nerve to do so.

    But OUR Imperial President, unlike the first, was not afraid to cross that line, it appears. Just as he learned the wrong lesson from the Vietnam War (”we only lost because the American people made us pull out”), King George learned the wrong lesson from Watergate (”the cover-up is better than the crime”).

    I never thought I would live through something worse than Watergate. Boy, was I wrong on that one.

  11. MadDog says:

    Jeebus, I think CIO of the Office of Administration, Theresa Payton must’ve been copying reading that GAO Report for her declaration:

    The EOP e-mail systems were periodically backed up, or copied, to tape media for use in the event of system failure and subsequent need to
    restore the system to full operation. In addition, Northrop Grumman
    followed a standard industry practice of economical tape recycling. This
    involved retaining the tapes for 3 weeks and then recycling them

    resulting in either overwriting the data on the tapes or destroying the used tape and replacing it with a new tape. Because the backup tapes contained copies of e-mail not processed to the ARMS records management
    database, the EOP stopped its normal practice of tape recycling from June
    1998, when the cause of the Mail2 malfunction was documented, until June
    1999, after the Letter D malfunction was repaired.

    (My Bold)

    Industry standard practice my ass!

    • Rayne says:

      My “industry best practice” might not have been “standard” — but it was the same at the Fortune 100 manufacturing company as it was at the Fortune 100 IT company to which they spun me off.

      – Diffs/Fulls into the man-sized fire safe every day
      – Copy of Monthly and last full to offsite storage (think it was Iron Mountain at the time)
      – Copy of Quarterly and last full to offsite
      – Multiple Quarterly and Y/E to fire safe on site, and multiples of same offsite
      – Depending on content, retention was 30 days to forever, with manufacturing logs being shortest and financials forever; had to consult a 4-inch thick manual as to retention periods

      And I never had any grousing from management about the cost of tapes; it was simply a necessity to have them. $60 a pop or so, if memory serves, really no big deal…so why is Grumman recycling them?

      I hear you about the condition of the EOP’s system as of 2001, but we don’t have any degree of specificity on how bad bad was, do we? We also know from GAO documents that they hardened all government IT infrastructure in the wake of 9/11 — so why the bullsh*t archiving failures?

      But you did notice the explanation in that GAO report you linked, about a contractor introducing a “bug” in the system that prevented archiving into ARMS any emails to persons whose name began with the letter D, yes?

      Perhaps a contractor conveniently introduced another bug…

      • MadDog says:

        But you did notice the explanation in that GAO report you linked, about a contractor introducing a “bug” in the system that prevented archiving into ARMS any emails to persons whose name began with the letter D, yes?

        Perhaps a contractor conveniently introduced another bug…

        The same bug?

        Let’s see now, who in the White House has a name that starts with “D”?

        • Rayne says:

          “Darth”?

          Heh.

          No, pick another bug, similar in nature…

          But mapping out the dates on a chart, it’s impossible for something similar to the D-bug to act so randomly, unless it was only acting on the last three servers’ backups and not on EO and OVP systems (then it would make more sense).

      • Neil says:

        And I never had any grousing from management about the cost of tapes; it was simply a necessity to have them. $60 a pop or so, if memory serves, really no big deal…so why is Grumman recycling them?

        We’re talking about a $60 million system Theresa’s predecessor implemented. $60 per tape is not even a question.

        Backups for disaster recovery purposes could be done with a three week (21 day) tape rotation given that an archiving system existed which journaled all outbound email that also was subject to backup sfor disaster recovery. Just sayin. It would not be a most failsafe solution but it would meet the requirements. For example, if a file was deleted for more than 21 days, it could not be recovered from either set of backup stapes, live or archive. Permenent retention of backup tapes is required to avoid that problem.

  12. DanC says:

    Fratto thinks he’s engaging in some kind of semantical/logical/rhetorical cleverness — “if A is missing, you can’t ask me to produce A, because the fact that A is missing means you don’t know it exists”. Like saying “What $10 that I owe you? I don’t know what you’re talking about, man, I don’t have $10.”

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Obfuscation like this, and more, we should expect to emerge daily from this White House. Confuse the shit out of everything. Like fish schooling so that no predator – a Congressional or special prosecutor’s investigation, for example – can get a sure enough handle on who, did what, when so as to secure a conviction.

    My response would be to refer to those whales that work together, surround a vast school and drive it to the surface, then gobble them up. Democrats, are you listening?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Obfuscation like this, and more, we should expect to emerge daily from this White House. Confuse the shit out of everything.

      Yup. It’s worked for them time and time again.
      That’s a mode they’re very good at.

      Which is why the tech blogs, the tech pubs, and bloggers are so critical in helping the MSM ignore all the breadcrumbs they’ve spread out to lead us all down rabbit-warrens. They love it when we ask the wrong questions and get lost among irrelevant weeds.

      And dmckay, I was wondering when the upgrades to those WH servers occurred; by 2003, my recollection is that things were pretty stable. I’m not surprised the Clinton WH had problems, b/c they were prior to major upgrades that IIRC occurred around 2000. And that was AFTER all the worries about making sure backup systems worked perfectly b/c of Y2K.

      In other words, I find it plausible (technically) that the Clinton WH experienced technical problems with backups.
      I do NOT find it plausible that those problems were still unaddressed after around fall 2000, or at the latest by spring 2001.

      • jdmckay says:

        I’m not surprised the Clinton WH had problems, b/c they were prior to major upgrades that IIRC occurred around 2000. And that was AFTER all the worries about making sure backup systems worked perfectly b/c of Y2K.

        IMO y2k issues had little to do w/it. Briefly, y2k issues involved re-writing software (code) so that it could handle 4 digit year as opposed to 2. The biggest challenge there was with critical legacy systems: eg. software that was no longer being supported for whatever reason (eg: company went out of biz or discontinued product, custom built stuff for banking/finance etc., air traffic control management, all kinds of DOD stuff…). Legacy software had to be either replaced, or fixed. Additionally, the data-stores (eg: mostly data bases) had to have their date fields (eg: “place” or conceptually, a “column” in database) expanded to 4 digits. Going through legacy code, especially in large systems, finding “routines” that handled dates and rewriting ‘em, testing etc…. in many cases it was a daunting task. Sometimes the source code was not available, thus compiled code had to be reverse engineered and/or variously “hacked”.

        WRT Lotus Notes, it was very much in active development & support, looming y2k issues had long been on horizon, and IBM was pretty much ready to go with appropriate updates. So I don’t think that would’ve been a big deal.

        Additionally, WH Operating System (OS) then (Clinton Years) most certainly was IBM’s UNIX, called: AIX. FWIW (point of interest for non-techies), SUN, IBM, HP all had their own branded, UNIX derivative. UNIX was/is the heavyweight, behemoth network OS: very solid, very reliable, and very very complicated. Competent UNIX administration required huge body of knowledge & expertise… 2-3 yrs on the job as “apprentice” would hardly get your feet wet. But UNIX backup strategies had been long in place (not so w/Windows at the time)… they were mature & solid. I don’t know details of who did what to that system, but off top of my head I’d guess that (as with soooo many Fed/State gov. projects) awarded contractors were “not up to speed”, for whatever reason.

        I mentioned regarding Windows OS(s) taking big leap in 2000… in a nutshell, here’s the deal: MS’s OS released that year called: Windows 2000 (W2k). It was issued in desktop & Network versions. Prior, we had Windows 95/98 for desktop, and Windows NT (WNT) for network. Early incarnations of WNT were buggy, unreliable. Network/Sys admins, among other things, had meaningful metrics for “uptime” & “downtime”… eg. establishing stats reflecting how often network had to be shutdown for maintenace, fixes, patches or whatever.

        Through most of WNT’s life (through version 4, with Service Packs (SP) 4) downtime was huge. For example, in mid/late 90s ISPs were still figuring out “the ropes”… how to setup infrastructure to manage their biz. Downtime stats for NT versions through 3 were way, way over UNIX (some Linux just starting to be used then as well). NT 4 was better, still very high downtime. SP3, and especially SP4 on NT4 really made huge strides, approaching acceptable downtime. This happened, as I recall, around late ‘98.

        So through all this, if a system needed high uptime rates and was “system-critical” as they say, UNIX was more or less only option.

        Not sure, but I believe IBM had a “LOTUS FOR WINDOWS”. If so, and if WH was running LOTUS on NT, then backup problems legitimately could be attributed to new/bad technology. If they ran on AIX, much more likely just bad design/coding quality.

        Release of W2k incorporated uptime reliability of NT-4 and then some, but also added a lot of pretty good management features as well. ISPs started hosting on it, Corp(s) began using it w/confidence… it was pretty damn solid. W2K was a major shift in corp IT, the beginning of a steady migration from “workhorse” network OSs from UNIX to Windows. Among the biggest reasons to make this move was far, far easier administration of these post ‘2000 MS operating systems as opposed to UNIX. The improvements in Exchange were similar in this transition period as well.

        So it wasn’t just year 2k problems. The leaps MS made in year 2000 really were huge, and it was beginning of a pivotal shift in design, OS, software (etc) for corporate.

        But OUTLOOK still sucks AFAIC. I had friends that worked @ MS on original OUTLOOK team. I was told OUTLOOK version 1 release came with over 3600 registered, un-addressed bugs in their internal system. From what I’ve seen, they still haven’t caught up.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, IBM had a Lotus for Windows. The corporation I worked for was standardized on Exchange on WinNT and Win2000, but one entire department standardized on Lotus because they needed the document management tools it provided. It was still run on WinNT/Win2000 servers, though. Believe me, that particular department would have had a cow and turned the entire corporation upside down if they had lost any emails or documentation during the Y2K or subsequent migration to Exchange and Domino (for continued document management). Just didn’t have the problem; we didn’t lose any data when we later upgraded the servers in 2002/2003, swapping out older systems for new ones.

          (Only place we ran UNIX was in research, for number crunching apps.)

          I still can’t find any good technical reason for any of this to have happened.

          The only other argument we’re not having yet is archiving versus backups; we come to a semantical argument here that “industry best practices” can’t resolve.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Jdm – thanks for an awesome comment.

          This jogged my recollection:

          I mentioned regarding Windows OS(s) taking big leap in 2000… in a nutshell, here’s the deal: MS’s OS released that year called: Windows 2000 (W2k).

          In the 1990s, between the emergence of the Web, the early days of eComm, the early days of distance learning (Blackboard Online), and the dotcom bust I saw some interesting things. And with eComm and distance learning, the risk of losing data was just huge — so backups and redundancies were a big focus. Server and network architecture aren’t my interest, nor my work, but I sure heard some frustated people in the 90s. Admins went overboard to save and back up just about everything, or so it seemed to me.

          My dim recollection is that after upgrades in 2000, people calmed down. Partly b/c they didn’t have to spend time in meetings answering questions related to Y2K, but also because the servers were more stable.

          However, all that worry was mostly background noise for me, because network architecture and server admin functions have never been my focus. Nevertheless, the emphasis on backups and storage procedures was/is important in anything I’ve done, so the WH claims about missing emails is simply not credible IMHO.

          Thank you for a very remarkable, and extremely informative comment.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Clearly, one of the defenses to prosecution the administration is relying on is incompetence. Every potential juror in America would believe it. But the “incompetence” suggested by these prolonged failures to implement an adequate permanent archiving system is exceptionally artful.

    This administration has outsourced everything of value to the private sector. Had it wanted to keep track of its records – as it is required to do by law – it wouldn’t have stopped using the existing, Clinton-adopted, system until it had an adequately tested replacement. Confusion and “lost property” is a smokescreen to hide what they’ve done. Yet it stopped using that system shortly after coming into office, as if it were a Democratic US Attorney holdover.

    I hope Congressional leaders are ready to fund and empower several special prosecutors. So many, in fact, they’ll need a special coordinating body. We could fund a big chunk of their work by requiring the DOJ to reclaim that $28 – 50 million to be paid to Ashcroft for “overseeing compliance” (an oxymoron in the GOP) in that NJ case.

  15. radiofreewill says:

    This is a re-post of a link I left on the earlier e-mail thread. It’s a link to a deposition given by Kathleen Gallant:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/fo…..2e228f.htm

    2. From January 12, 1998 through October 13,1998, I was the Associate Director for the Information Systems and Technology Division (IS&T) of the Executive Office of the President’s Office of Administration (OA). This position was a political appointment. Among my duties, I was responsible for the operational support for many of the computer systems for the EOP. I currently run an $85 million major business group of an information technology company in Northern Virginia with annual revenues of $500 million and approximately 4500 employees.

    It’s a good read for getting an idea of what the ’shop dynamics’ were like in the EOP IT Organization at the time. Unlike the 2001 GAO Report, which was limited to ‘just reporting the facts, and not commenting on individual motivations,’ Gallant’s depo shows the raw, and competing, motivations at work – and, I ask you – Doesn’t it seem crystal clear that the Administration Was Not interested in solving an archival blind-spot that kept chewing-up more PRA qualifying records with each passing day.

    And, allthough Gallant is speaking to e-mail problems with OVP in the Clinton/Gore Administration, it looks like Cheney and Company were Only Too Willing to Exploit the Bugs (Features) to Hide Records From Legal Discovery and Stall Until They Got Destroyed by the Tape Re-Cycling Daemon.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      That dodge is complete bullshit, and BushCheney should be ridiculed for even trying to claim that their backup issues are similar to Clinton’s. Three years in software is significant, and BushCheney’s situation is NOT equivilent to Clinton’s (!).

      In software terms, that’s like claiming that the Devonian Era was equivilent to the Jurassic.
      What a heap of insulting bullshit.

  16. BlueStateRedHead says:

    Breaking. There is a cloud over the vice president’s office secret service detail about the arrest of someone who approached the veep at a colorado ski resort to protest the war, was arrested and presto, three hours later, the charges disappeared, leaving the arresting officer (who was not present at the event) high and dry (and screwed, too, he has been reassigned to Guam) and the secret service sued.

    Papers just unsealed; NYT has all the transcripts to the contending mutually accusatory depositions.

    Marx, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01…..do.html?hp

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Thanks. Have to check it out. Similar arrests have plagued Cheney’s detail for years. He hates dealing with the hoi poloi, and despises publicly hearing criticism, however gentlemanly it may be expressed.

      About two years ago, I believe, he had a father arrested in a Denver park, in front of his young son, for having the temerity to politely but directly express skepticism about the VP’s remarks that day. Presumably, the police dealt with the child for several hours before saner local law enforcement heads prevailed, concluded there was nothing to prosecute, and released the man with an apology. Like Bush and cave bats, Cheney’s trail of poop just keeps growing.

      That behavior pattern also fits the system of “free speech zones” invented to keep a critical public out of eye sight and away from the cameras at ostensibly public speeches by the Shrubster and Darth.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The NYT article about Steven Howard’s arrest in Denver by Cheney’s detail is, in fact, the case I had remembered. Pretty shameful. Sad that it’s taken this long to get more public attention.

        I don’t think it’s an isolated incident, more a behavior pattern. It’s an expression of Cheney’s 1% rule: if the public looks at you without kowtowing, they’re a security risk. Sounds more like a Burmese junta than the American presidency, doesn’t it?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      This is the incident I referred to, but misremembered as taking place in Denver, not Beaver Creek. The Times reporter doesn’t convey the sense of having read the original reporting (the Rocky Mtn News, I think), or of having talked with the reporter(s) who did it.

      As I recollect it, the incident was in a public park. Cheney had stopped en route somewhere after a talk and was chatting with a small group of people. The atmosphere was so low-key that this man and his young son were able to walk up to the group and the father was able to come up to Cheney from behind and touch him on the shoulder to get his attention.

      My guess is that sent Cheney batshit. He read his SS detail the riot act, and one or more of them tried to cover their breach of security protocol by arresting the guy. (Certainly an easy story for a defense lawyer to sell.) My impression was that no one but Cheney would have considered the event an “assault”. He was not obstructed or interfered with, nor put in fear of imminent harm, nor told to go Cheney himself.

      The idea that a father, walking across his town park to take his young son to a local event, and having to pick up another son elsewhere shortly afterwards, would stop and give the VP a “punch” in the back – or that he spoke one or two sentences loudly and angrily enough so as to constitute an assault – would have been laughed out of court. Presumably, that’s why the local DA chose not to prosecute. The Times story charitably credits the VP as not wanting to prosecute. Bully for him.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In the private sector, permanent archiving is rare: Coke’s formula, for example, or more routinely, real estate records. Other records are destroyed according to varying schedules, though few businesses adequately deal with the multiplying layers of easily created, distributed and stored digital records.

    For the WH, permanent archiving is mandatory. It’s one of those reprehensible, Congressionally mandated things Cheney hates and thinks the president has inherent authority to ignore. (But Cheney wouldn’t be caught on record advocating it.) He hates records, they can only lead to trouble if anyone but he sees them, hence his Tweety-sized safe he keeps with him, as if it stored the launch codes. Cheney knows records can only lead to trouble. Like the company board minutes that mistakenly accurately record discussions about price collusion, or stealing a competitor’s new model plans, or firing someone solely because “he’s an asshole.” [Real events.]

    Dismembering or surgically gutting key sections of the WH recording and archiving systems had to be tops on Cheney’s To Do list. After all, this is a guy who thought Nixon was a “…ussy” for giving up his tapes and giving in too soon.

  18. nolo says:

    sorta o/t — but sorta not.

    for tomorrow’s nyt print edition,
    the front page will run the dick
    cheney arresting a dissenter at
    beaver creek post-story. so. . .

    my take on the dick, here:

    skiing at beaver creek — price: about $100;
    disagreeing with dick cheney while there — price:
    your liberty
    .

    as irony would have it, his secret
    service detail is now twisting in
    the wind (just like “scooter” libby!)
    for following what was very-likely
    his stupidly-unlawful arrest order.

    p e a c e

    to all. . . oh, and beaver creek?
    “not exactly roughing it. . .”

  19. BlueStateRedHead says:

    Beaver Creek, Denver Park, must be the altitude that exacerbates the attitude. Still, remember they got Al Capone on tax evasion …. nnd on that note The BlueState cals it a day.

  20. nolo says:

    DING — just right EoH.

    i actually think the event
    you’ve described as in denver
    is this guy — he was there for
    a recital for his son, as i re-
    call — and he was detained for
    about half-a-day. . . these
    tools are shameless — cheney
    just lets people twist for following
    his clearly unlawful orders. . .

    *deep breath; wiping foam from
    sides of my clenched jaws. . .*

    p e a c e

  21. CTuttle says:

    I was just watching Fratto’s performance at TP, and one thing that he kept repeating was; “There’s no evidence…!” Freudian slip…?

  22. radiofreewill says:

    If you follow down through Appendix 1 of the 2001 GAO Report, the Timeline, you can watch the Contractor, Northrop Grumman, identify ‘issues’ and try to deal with them.

    So, for instance, the Mail2 Server had Lotus Notes on it, configured with “Case Sensitivity” turned “on” – and 528 User IDs tied to the MAIL2 Back-up Domain – that weren’t getting backed-up at all.

    Then, a custom made back-up screen listing the letters of the alphabet, corresponding to Users on the System – leaves off ‘D’ and has 2 – ‘J’s’ – resulting in the non-archiving, and presumed loss, of all the ‘D’ User ID Records on Mail2.

    After funding requests for upgrades get denied, the IT Staff implements (’fails into’) a Local DLT Tape Back-Up and Re-cycling Program that ensured that No Data over 2 years old was saved, and due to some ‘random tape picking,’ even some Then-Recent Data got wiped out, too.

    So, NG identifies a problem that’s aggregating towards hundreds of thousands of e-mails getting lost – and, they Immediately fix it, right?

    Wrong! It appears that “case sensitivity” remained turned “on,” and the User IDs with the MAIL2 Back-up Domain stayed MAIL2, for months. The ‘D’ User ID Records were Gone, and the ‘fix’ for Mail2 was Nothing Less than the creation of a Heath-kit e-mail grinder, chewing away everything on Mail2 older than 2 years.

    In the Gallant depostion, she says the Contractors were ’scared’ to work on Mail2’s issues, because they had been threatened with Jail if they disclosed the Mail2 ‘problem’ to ‘unauthorized personnel.’

    So, in EOP, it seems, every problem has to be ’studied’ to see if it’s a ‘beneficial’ problem – like a quirky mail server that has the odd bug/feature of being able to set-up User IDs in Domains – that Never Get Backed-Up into the ARMS System, and that erases its tracks auto-magically.

    Politically, Mail2 could very well have been a prime example of a problem that people with vested interests weren’t in any hurry to ‘fix.’

    And One that Cheney would have wanted to replicate in its bugs/features for himself, but in an improved way. So, the RNC System was created and Rove was given Local and Server Delete (a SysAdmin function) privileges – the next incoming Administration would never get their hands on the RNC System, and Rove and Addingtoncould Privately Control all Search/Discovery Responses.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Your points make sense.

      JohnLopresti on a previous thread asks the same question that I left somewhere: anyone know whether the Mitchell Wade contract that was given when Cheney first took office (related to ‘office equipment’ or some such…?) would have allowed for that contract to cover any IT functions? Because Wade is connected with the USAG firings (Lam), and with Cunningham, defense contract fraud, and heaven only knows what else.

      Whether Rove had SysAdmin privileges is an important question, IMHO. It would also be useful to know who in the OVP had SysAdmin privileges.

  23. Mary says:

    Yawn – OT, but while I think of it. Lt. Cmdr. Swift was on Olberman tonight – primarily being asked about Canada putting the US on the state sponsors of torture list, but the conversation made it around to the destroyed torture tapes. He said something like, this is a case where the crime is worse than the coverup, but he also had a little spec that seemed to go to the timing of the destruction too. He indicated that, with the DTA, the military commissions, which had been halted, were about to restart and he indicated that there had been a lot of concern in Washington that the tapes would be put into evidence before the military commissions in proceedings there and be ruled to be torture – by lawyers and military judges who have, to date, seemed much less in awe of Bush and much less fearful of Cheney/Addington, than the ladderclimbers at DOJ.

    I’m not sure what I think – I kind of think there were a lot of different elements at work, but I do think it was the possibility of the tapes getting before someone other than a loyal Bushie, in a criminal context proceeding, where they would be ruled on for what they were – was the driving factor. And a similiar concern at DOJ, whose lawyers had solicited, reveled in, explicated and covered for the tortures and torturers, probably accounts for the silence from that front. If the DOJ lawyers were impressed into JAG, they would be the Sgt. Schulz corps.

    67 – In Evansville,IN (my hangout) we had this lone, sign carrying guy – a local environmentalist, who was arrested for just carrying his sign too close the the building where Cheney was speaking.

    http://indianalawblog.com/arch….._m_13.html

    In Evansville, it was just ridiculous. He was backed up and up until he was basically on the steps of our civic center and arrested there when he started to make the point that they were being ridiculous.

    For the lawyers, Blair won his 4th amendment case on Summary Judgment.

    The court also ruled that Evansville police lacked probable cause in arresting Blair, and granted summary judgment on his claim that Evansville police violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

    The downside for Evansville is that once the Judge ruled in Blair’s favor – – Cheney and his secret service crew were nowhere around on the damages front. Kind of like they won’t be around for the deficit bills, or the Iraq war clean up.

    … the reported unwillingness of the Secret Service to “back up” its demands for security measures that, according to a judge’s ruling, went far beyond what was required to protect Cheney during his 2002 visit to Evansville.

    A day after the judge ordered the city to pay damages, Evansville City Attorney David Jones said the Police Department can no longer afford to “provide any security for a president or vice president” who comes to Evansville.

    • skdadl says:

      Mary, in case you come back to read: That torture-watch list is one result of the Arar inquiry (O’Connor Commission), which made recommendations about training our diplomats in how to watch for abuse. Predictably, our craven current government is suddenly embarrassed that news of the list is out and has been trying to get the list back to redact details that may be embarrassing to our allies — ie, the U.S. Heh.

      In related news (related on the basis of our craven government), our defence minister and now our PM are running around trying to rationalize and minimize Robert Gates’s insults to NATO forces in the south of Afghanistan (that mainly means the Dutch, the Brits, and us) — see LA Times report on Wednesday. Gates himself is backpedalling; the Dutch are really annoyed, but we, as usual, are making excuses for BushCo. One ironic development, though: the “surge” of U.S. Marines being sent into Afghanistan is being divided up, 2,200 to the NATO forces in the south and 1,000 to Operation Enduring Freedom (the independent U.S. operation). And guess who the Marines’ NATO commander is going to be? A Canadian. Amusing Pentagon briefing.

  24. radiofreewill says:

    After reading the comments, don’t you guys and gals think that IT Services should be delivered to Government Employees, as Reliably as Money from an ATM?

    Fucking bulletproof – can’t mess with it – it does what it does – fully audited and redundantly architected – “Political Policy” and “Political Appointees” can’t Twiddle the System, By Design.

    Need to send an e-mail? Whammo! Reliable e-mailing.

    Properly Archived, fully auditable and searchable, throughout the data retention life-cycle, too.

    If it was left-up to the Geeks to deliver IT Services, and the Schemers were kept out of it, we wouldn’t be having these problems.

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Double yawn. Good link to the Evansville news article about the peaceful protester – a Pulitzer winner – winning his claim that the city police [and impliedly, the SS] violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights in forcing him outside their designated ”no protest” zone at a Cheney event, then arresting him for asking on what authority they did that. Kudos to the local ACLU attorneys who represented him. The money quote:

    [Evansville City Attorney David] Jones faulted the Secret Service, who devised the security plan for Cheney but failed to help Jones defend the city in a lawsuit brought after environmental activist John Blair was arrested for violating the Secret Service’s no-protest zone. Jones said the Secret Service refused to provide evidence, testimony and witnesses he needed to make the city’s case. Jones also said the Secret Service ”used” city police to provide costly security and then abandoned the city when problems arose. ”This is not fair,’’ said Jones. ”We’ve been used like a pair of work gloves and when we were no longer handy, we were just discarded.”

    [emph. added]

  26. RodUnderleaf says:

    Waxmans efforts simply reveal how easily is jerked around back and forth by minions of bush’s Iron Reality. Eventually Waxman will give up and start another investigation where nothing but weak charades are performed.

    It is really hard to take Waxman seriously when he slapped senseless with the lies of the administration. Bushco likes to change his reality every day. Will Waxman crack completely? He would probably trade places with Jose Padilla in a navy brig any day.

    Here is an example of Waxman getting completely slaughtered…



    .

  27. BayStateLibrul says:

    We need to appoint an Independent IT Forsenic Expert with full subpoena powers, and all rights to waive executive privilege.
    Final full report required in five days… reports to Waxman…
    Skills required: passion for technology, willingness to tell the truth, vision to restore justice and credibility, ability to run a lie detector system.
    Inquire within.

  28. JodiDog says:

    On Cheney

    if some man accosted me and touched me I would hope my security detail would swarm him and throw him to the ground at the very least, and preferably before he got that close to me.

    Likewise if someone did the same to Bush, Obama, Hillary, Edwards, Huckabee, McCain, Mitt.

    That is why these people are provided security details.
    The main fault I see with Cheney’s security detail is that this guy got through them close enough to touch Cheney.

    Suppose the man had had a knife, or a gun, or anthrax?

    • SeamusD says:

      You stupid twit, the guy was already talking to Cheney, and when he finished saying what he had to say, he merely patted Cheney’s shoulder, sorta like”no hard feelings, see ya later”, and walked away. No harm, no foul. You know, like normal people do!

      • JodiDog says:

        No so SeamusD.

        Why don’t you read the poor befuddled man’s own deposition?

        =http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/national/20080118_Steven_Howards.pdf

        (Sorry but normal html url doesn’t seem to work and neither will the tab up above.) So put the url in your browser WITHOUT the initial = sign.

        Allow some time for it is a long pdf file.

  29. bmaz says:

    Did Cheney order the action? I bet he did and that is one of the reasons he refuses in bad faith to respond to the legitimate discovery attempt by Howards. If so, I don’t understand why Cheney wasn’t sued as well.

    • jdmckay says:

      Hey, lookee here: The AP and NYT must be reading EW and her temporal masterpieces!

      hey hey… I’ve thought the same thing.

      Our major daily posted an OpED yesterday (Fri) w/similar theme (may have to watch an ad to get in):

      (…)
      The recycling, according to a White House aide’s sworn statement, was consistent with “industry best practices.” If the aide was referring to the president industry, the consistency that comes to mind is an 181/2-minute gap on the Nixon White House tapes subpoenaed by Watergate investigators.

      I’d point out any criticism of W’ from these guys is rare, rather they’ve consistently stovepiped right-wing talking points.

      However, same OpEd starts out with this:

      Oops! White House political chief Karl Rove used Republican National Committee e-mail instead of archived White House e-mail for some communications. Not really a problem, though, except for the special prosecutor looking into White House leakage of a CIA operative’s name.

      Not really a problem? I’ve penned a comment to ‘em, including (among other things) MadDog’s 1/17/08 post resurrecting the Abramoff/Kevin Ring email (thanks MD). Sometimes they print me, sometimes not.

      I’ve mean to ask about a repository (hopefully indexed w/dates and/or subject) for these types of things. I tried getting into FDL archive EW frequently links @ http://static1.firedoglake.com/28/files/(…), but access denied.

      Anyone know if there’s access to such a beast?… would enable me really elevate the efficacy for some of my “local communications” in these matters.

  30. JodiDog says:

    And by the way SeamusD, do “normal people” call others “stupid twit” like you do.

    If that is normal people, I am surprised that more don’t get arrested.

Comments are closed.