Missing Emails: Addington’s Search Terms

Among the documents introduced at the trial was a draft version of the search that David Addington requested Keith Roberts of the Office of Administration to do on the emails on the OVP server. This is not a final version–it is what Addington sent to Deputy Special Counsel Roos to get his approval before he submitted it to Roberts to do his search. So hopefully Roos fixed some of the glaring holes in the email search–I don’t know.

In any case, here are the searches Addington requested in order to elicit emails on or to journalists from June 1 to October 31, 2003 and Joe and Valerie Wilson from October 1, 2003 until January 23, 2004 (I’m having a few technical issues, so this isn’t an image; make sure you click through to see the PDF):

First Search

Search for email messages created between June 1, 2003 and October 31, 2003, inclusive through use of the following search terms:

"_Novak_"
"_Royce_"
"_Phelps_"
"_Leiby_"
"Mike_Allen"
"Dana_Priest"
"Glenn_Kessler"
"Matthew_Cooper"
"_Dickerson_"
"_Calabresi_"
"Michael_Duffy"
"_Carney_"
"Evan_Thomas"
"Andrea_Mitchell"
"Chris_Matthews"
"_Russert_"
"Campbell_Brown"
"_Kristof_"
"_Sanger_"
"Judith_Miller"
"_Hitt_"
"_Gigot_"
"John_Solomon"
"Jeff_Gannon"
"Talon_News"

Second Search

Search for e-mail messages created between October 1, 2003 and January 23, 2004, inclusive, through use of the following search terms:

"Joseph_C._Wilson" or "Joseph_wilson" or "Joe_wilson" or "Ambassador_wilson" or "Amb._Wilson" or "Amb_Wilson" or "Plame_" or "Niger_"

Now, once again, I don’t know whether this search for emails used these precise search terms, but if it did, here are the gaping holes which the search wouldn’t cover:

Journalist Names

For the journalists with unusual last names, Addington requests a search of those last names, which would be the most expansive search. Such journalists include Russert, Sanger, and Kristof–all names that, by the time this thing was done (and certainly before for Paul Gigot and Timmeh Russert)–were probably self explanatory without the first name. Curiously, the list of last name searches includes Dickerson; that’s surprising because John Dickerson’s last name is neither so unique nor his role in this story so central (unless you’re trying to make Ari Fleischer the fall guy) that it should be self-standing.

But notice some of the journalists for whom Addington submits first and last name, in quotes, that would return just that string: Judith Miller, Matthew Cooper, and Andrea Mitchell. This search will probably return any email from or to these journalists, picking up email signatures with their full names. But it will not pick up references about them referring only to their last name. When Libby writes down Dick’s order to leak to Judy Miller, Libby uses only her last name, Miller, in the reference. Similarly, the search will not pick up references to their first and last name if the reference uses the more commonly used nicknames Judy and Matt. When Cathie Martin addresses Cooper in an email, she refers to him as Matt.

This search is designed in such a way such that it would not return easily conceivable materials on three key players in the story: Judy, Cooper, and Andrea Mitchell.

Capitalization

This one I’m less sure about–less sure of my eyes and of how this would work in a search. But my eyeball of the PDF (remember to look at the original PDF) indicates that for the three most likely searches on Joe Wilson–Joseph, Joe, and Ambassador Wilson–Addington did not capitalize the "W" in his last name. This actually looks like it may be because of data loss in the conversion from Word to PDF. Further, it depends on how and where they search, whether the search would be case sensitive or not, but if it were, a search using these terms would return almost nothing on Joe Wilson.

Note, it’s pretty clear that earlier searches–those for emails before October 1–did return Wilson’s name in searches. This subpoena was designed to scrutinize any email discussions about Wilson after the start of the investigation.

Never mind–I see in Addington’s instructions that he specifies the searches are to be case insensitive. 

Wilson

Finally, as with Judy, Cooper, and Mitchell, this search would not return another whole universe of emails, those that refer to Wilson simply as Wilson. While Addington is careful to search on Plame by itself, he does not request a search for Wilson. This is particularly striking since, by this point, OVP seemed to be referring to Wilson, as a single word, almost as a curse word by this point.

Like I said, I’m least concerned about the capitalization issues than by the way this search leaves out the nicknames Matt and Judy and leaves out any reference to Miller, Cooper, Mitchell and Wilson by their last name alone. If the search were done using these terms, it may well have left out the most important and interesting emails referring to any of these four people.

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62 replies
    • darclay says:

      what gets me is that I assume that Fitz is the one who requested this info that you are speaking of,(correct me if I’m wrong)would accept the information provided and not specify. I know when doing a search I spell it every way possible and search by every thing involved. Surly Fitz is smarter than I, or at least someone on his team is computer savvy.

  1. BlueStateRedHead says:

    Addington never cease to amaze me. What to we know about his staffing? Does he really do all this himself? I ask because if he is as thoroughly– machiavellian is not the right term here, I think, but gets close–it seems that he, unlike rove and even Bush, are beyond the reach of the law when and if an AG/Pres want to throw the book as this admin’s lawlessness or at least at the main architect thereof.
    Cease dreaming bluestate, she says to herself.
    Bluestate returns to reading about the Pats/Chargers, where
    OT begins, haters of American football can exit left here.
    the likelihood of the good guys (for Belichick’s preference for Dems, see documentation offered by me to Bmaz last week. Also Limbaugh’s hatred of Pats should be sufficient for everyone who disrespect the Pats by calling them republicans to remove his or her cheese head hat as a sign of respect. Eating the hat will come later, if a Pats/Pack SB materializes.)

  2. JimWhite says:

    Is there a basis in the original subpoena for the long list of exclusions in Addington’s memo? By “creator”, is he saying to disregard only emails coming from those addresses? Some of them appear to be newsfeeds that would be coming in to recipients in OVP. A number of them appear to be from VERY far right wing publications. I was interested in “Federalist.com” and clicked on it. That gave me “Patriot Post”, “The Conservative Journal of Record”. I suppose they felt it would be embarrassing to see how much of this trash was being fed directly into OVP. However, since much of the trash likely was fed to them first from OVP, I worry about the execution of the exclusion and whether important information could have been missed.

    Another point especially about the “[email protected]”. When we were looking into Theresa Payton the other day, I found a credit to her for a contribution to Opinionjournal on August 16, 2004, although I don’t see anything in that day’s column that appears relevant to any of the issues here.

    Why all the effort to exclude delivery failures? It also seems to me that someone aware that such search exclusions would be used simply could insert some form of “delivery failure” into the subject line of an email they didn’t want to see the light of day. From the way the exclusion is structured, it doesn’t appear to me that an email would have to be an actual delivery failure to get excluded.

    The case sensitivity issue is amusing. Why is it that among all the letters, only the W can’t keep it up?

  3. CasualObserver says:

    I agree it is odd. It clearly omits some obvious search strings. It is also remarkably heavy-handed and micro-managing–perhaps this was required by the nature of the proceeding, perhaps not.

    One would think that this task would be best accomplished by simply saying “get me everything we have relating to Joe Wilson–and write-up a clear report on how the search was conducted”. The IT folk actually doing the work know how to search better than Addington does. The more specific Addington gets, the more he ties their hands to actually fulfill the requirement.

      • CasualObserver says:

        No problem with OVP doing the search, but you know that at some point, it’s a tech person actually doing the search work at OVP. Speaking of “privileges”–computer networks have a privilege system as well–and only the tech guys can roam around in the system like this to conduct searches of this sort, if I’m not mistaken. Certainly is the case where I work. And the fact that Addington is telling them—the tech folks–how to conduct the search, is a bit comical. Comical maybe the wrong word. suspicious.

  4. Peterr says:

    The search request also leaves out first names and nicknames. Even in Very Serious Washington Offices, both are quite commonly used, especially if the person is a common subject of discussion. Even — or especially — in emails.

    If one were to search around here for everything on Chris Matthews, for instance, you’d miss a lot if you didn’t include “Tweety” in the search routine.

    • emptywheel says:

      I was tempted to note that “JudyJudyJudy” and “A1 Cutout” were not included in the search. But then I remembered that OVP wouldn’t refer to their cutout as such.

  5. masaccio says:

    I have an e-mail search issue in a large case. I just resigned myself to the miserable task of reading everything that has the right names. I thought it would mean hours of clicking, but with e-mails it goes very quickly. They are short, so the relevant ones just leap out. A paralegal could have done a perfectly adequate job.

  6. SaltinWound says:

    Dickerson’s role may not have been central, but I’ve never understood what it would have cost Fitz to ask him a couple questions.

  7. lizard says:

    1) make search terms, run search
    2) From the results of step one, make list of problematic emails
    3) redefine and tweak search terms specifically to avoid as many of the problematic e-mails as possible
    4) erase whatever problematic e-mails remain, claim none were preserved from that date, and respond to the subpoena with only the sanitized list
    5) have a fire in your office to conceal the evidence of crime. (okay, this might be a stretch, but what the hell

    Anybody know if Addington is tech-savvy?
    I wonder if he (or whichever rent-a-geek he assigned to the task) left traces?

    Lizard

  8. klynn says:

    EW,

    I may be off on these thoughts. IT’s can inform me…

    I am surprised that the nicknames Bush gives to members of the media, staff, political figures and events were not searches. Both Cheney and Bush have a “thing” for nicknames My guess is it is practice to use nicknames (honestly cover names) in emails… And no intial’s combinations for searches?

    No terminology searches?

    lizard—Like I asked a few days ago about Addington. How does someone obtain the job of assistant general counsel to CIA the same year one passes the bar?

    Anyone can send email from other accounts and not show up in these searches. I would imagine, the most sensitive of emails were “shot” off carefully…

    • GulfCoastPirate says:

      klynn wrote:

      ‘Anyone can send email from other accounts and not show up in these searches. I would imagine, the most sensitive of emails were “shot” off carefully’

      Which brings up a question I have that I haven’t seen addressed. Every company I work for has a strict policy (mostly at my instigation) that prevents the use of company computers to access private email accounts. This includes accessing email accounts via web browsers (hotmail, gmail, etc. as well as other personal accounts). Yes, it can be difficult to implement but it is certainly doable. Does the government, including the IT folks in the White House and OVP, not have any such policy? Is anyone with a government issued computer able to access anything they want whenever they want?

      Since they were using MS Exchange I assume they were also using Outlook. Outlook requires each account to be set up individually. When setting these acounts up you need to know the incoming and outgoing mail servers for that account. Although some users are aware of how to do this in my experience the percentage is small. Who was setting up the profiles for these outside accounts (RNC, etc.) for the WH and OVP users? Did this not seem odd to the IT folks doing this or do large IT organizations typically allow users to do these things? If they weren’t using Outlook but rather accessing these accounts via HTTP; well, are government orgs really this lenient with accessing outside email accounts?

      If the government does have policies in place then do we know who gave the order to override those policies?

  9. Rayne says:

    1) Maybe it’s obvious to EW, but why the explicit exclusion “POSTMATERS: IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROMT HE COUNEL’S OFFICE” sent to “Special EOP Distribution [email protected] on January 23, 2004?

    2) How do we know for certain that content from all messages sent to distribution lists would have turned up in these searches?

    3) Unless there is a highly specific name attached to the [redacted]@GOPUSA.COM address, that’s a real problem. Jeff Gannon was part and parcel of GOPUSA.COM.

    4) Why “Plame_” and not “_Plame” and “Plame”? And why not a secondary search after Judy BlewLies’ notebook is disclosed for anything “Victoria_Flame” or “_Flame”?

    5) Are we supposed to believe that it never occurs to anyone at the EOP/OA to use a second account for emails? (Look at my first question: exactly who received the emails addressed to “Special_EOP_Distribution_List” — is that a list, or an email account?) Are we supposed to believe they could never communicate about subjects without using certain names?

    For starters.

      • Rayne says:

        Or more pointedly, ONLY the OVP domain and not the EOP domain.

        Do you recall ever seeing email from the administration sent to an external address using ‘OVP.gov’ or ‘OVP.EOP.gov’?

        I don’t. Correct me if I’m wrong on this one.

        The query should have covered “EOP network”, not “OVP domain”.

  10. JohnJ says:

    Most of the techies and IT techies I know are goopers.

    Hell, I’m still a registered repug (heh heh heh).

    • Rayne says:

      Without going to somebody who’s better at this network sniffing than I am, here’s the EOP subdomains:

      *.eop.gov
      athena.eop.gov
      cea.eop.gov
      ceq.eop.gov
      esseop01.eop.gov
      esseop02.eop.gov
      esseop03.eop.gov
      esseop04.eop.gov
      esseop05.eop.gov
      esseop06.eop.gov
      esseop07.eop.gov
      esseop08.eop.gov
      esseop09.eop.gov
      esseop10.eop.gov
      esseop41.eop.gov
      esseop42.eop.gov
      esseop45.eop.gov
      mailhub-eop2.eop.gov
      mailhub-eop3.eop.gov
      nsc.eop.gov
      odcp.eop.gov
      omb.eop.gov
      ost.eop.gov
      ovp.eop.gov
      sgeop03.eop.gov
      swoa-05.eop.gov
      wh.eop.gov
      who.eop.gov

      And I haven’t even poked around other possible domains, like whitehouse.gov.

      Keep in mind, though, that domains are addresses; they can be mapped like phone numbers. All of the above domains are mapped to a network and the same email servers at the backend.

  11. ThatGuy says:

    Been a tough week. I think we all need a Delbert Break.

    I know I did. I’ll be on the Delbert Cruise a week from today.

    Aah, sunny Pacific Mexico. I’ll have a few dozen beers for ya!

  12. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Driveby, and a bit OT, but Horton’s No Comment at Harpers.org has something up about Blackwater that is ‘must read’ for many who come to EW: http://www.harpers.org/archive…..c-90002175

    Apologies, EW, this thread looks fascinating. Will catch up later.
    But does anyone know whether Blackwater got any of the IT contracts for the WH or OVP…?

    • MadDog says:

      But does anyone know whether Blackwater got any of the IT contracts for the WH or OVP…?

      If snark, I laugh with you.

      If not, no chance in hell.

      Blackwater is all about lawyers, guns and money.

      The only techie stuff that they grasp is whether the latest Xbox “shoot ‘em up” game is bloody and gory enough.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        WIsh it were snark, but it’s not plausible that an outfit requiring communications, as Blackwater does, isn’t hiring technical expertise. Looks OT on this thread, so I’ll defer. But consider Blackwater’s needs for communication, then read Horton, and it makes one wonder…

        Meanwhile, RFW @38 pretty much sums it up, IMHO.
        This is the most swiss-cheesy Venn diagram I’ve come across in some time — looks as if it’s about 65% ‘holes’ and they’ve left in the 35% that will make them appear to have delivered the requested emails and thereby cover their butts.
        Meanwhile, it’s the ‘holes’ and gaps that matter.
        Too many search terms are left out for this to uncover the domain of relevant emails.

  13. bigbrother says:

    For a teast for omission or perjury would not the subpeona (separate) for all the suspected senders chard drive and servers be necessary. Fitz or any other prosecutor could not trust the defendent to be forthcoming even with motivation like imunity.
    Could the sender invoke presidential imunity?

    • bigbrother says:

      My Bad mis spelling;
      For a test for omission ( obstruction) or perjury would not the subpeona (separate) for all the suspected senders hard drives and servers be necessary. Fitz or any other prosecutor could not trust the defendent to be forthcoming even with motivation like imunity. That would form a perjury trap like we see in the steroid perjuries in baseball convictions.
      Could the sender invoke presidential imunity?

  14. Leen says:

    On John Deans choice for number one on the “Who to Impeach” list Addington is the most wanted.

    good article
    http://www.informationclearing…..e19097.htm
    Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan administration. He is credited with curing stagflation and eliminating “Phillips curve” trade-offs between employment and inflation, an achievement now on the verge of being lost by the worst economic mismanagement in US history.

  15. JohnLopresti says:

    The memo contents appearing under Addington’s name likely were the product of several recensions between AO and OVP. The effort the authors expend to include separate similar but slightly divergent full searchStrings reminds me of the Notes to Exchange incompatibilities complaints in technical literature from that timeframe, as well as in nearby threads on the millions of missing emails, viz., Lotus being casesensitive and the executive branch having been in mid rollout of Exchange during the epoch when Fitzgerald remained interested in obtaining full results of the search in compliance with the terms of the subpoenaDucesTecum. Maybe the issue is moot because Addington states affirmatively searchers should use both ascii versions for each char upper case, lower case.

    One useful approach to searchstrings is looking for unique charstrings within the full wordstring; e.g., searching for ‘ilso’ likely would find all the emails with subjectline containing Wilson, and searching on the shorter string ilso saves cpu time; similar example, search for ’sikof’ instead of the full word Isikoff. Instead of searching for the full congresperson royce string, search for ‘oyc’. Sometimes shortstring search can yield some chaff, but the final process for production of documents can groom out the spurious positives; ‘ilso’ may unearth documents about Heather Wilson, which would require a next tier search to winnow the subset of her files out of the JoeW set.
    The OA IT memo also is careful to list some boolean concatenating operators in the mask list, showing the search engine syntax is as temperamental as its reputation in the literature indicates. But it is difficult to imagine the forensic experts Conyers and Leahy would muster for their own projects would be as guileless as the putative IT experts reading Addington’s OA memo at the GJ. Which is to say, only four years have elapsed since these documents were produced and technology though better now, remained pretty proficient even then though more laborious.

    A deeper drill was available in those years, as well. All the finds could be concatenated in a metafile and the text contents of the /body/ aggregated in one continuous text document, then searched for keywords; the metafile needs to be smaller than the set of all emails; as a time of search quantifier, consider how much slower Explorer searches the contents of wordprocessed documents rather than a simple documentName search. One might decide to skip searching for NIE as a shortstring, but in the search of the concatenated /body/ of all positives file a search for ‘NIE’ /boolean=and/ ‘Judy’ very well might be productive because, even though the charstring ‘nie’ is going to exist in many words other than the contemplated instaDeClassified document, the formula requiring Nie occur in the same string as Judy would narrow the search sufficiently to locate all Scootr emails to someone about showing a paper to JudyJudy at a brunch. Applicants touting secondary expertise in the Pascal language should also know c+

  16. Leen says:

    By having Addington do the search is that like asking a murderer to investigate the murder that they committed?

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If the search was of the OVP or EOP databases, I would have thought it routine to start with much more inclusive search terms, then review what comes up, filtering for privilege, relevance, etc., and releasing what comes through. Starting with this narrow a search does not promote developing the truth, just obscuring it.

  18. pdaly says:

    Perhaps it has been covered already, but why did Pat Fitzgerald allow Addington to act as a middle man to the DoJ demands for responsive emails?
    By comparison with the massive document dump during the US attorney firings scandal, the WH here seems to want to underwhelm the requestor with documents.

    This coaching by Addington was submitted in writing to the courthouse, no?
    Could not Fitz step in subsequent to Addington’s meddling and demand any and all additional emails by and/or about the list of persons, whether by formal name or nickname? and could not Fitz overrule Addington’s restrictions about responsive emails?

    For example, the request to eliminate all ‘Delivery Error’ messages from the search could be, as noted above, one way of hiding responsive emails.

    Are Delivery Error messages and their contents routinely skipped in journaling/archiving systems? If not, then ignoring these messages is a convenient way of catching any unread emails to persons whom have left the White House but accidentally remained on group lists. If no longer at the White House, they were not present at the critical time junctures to erase the offending message from the computer.

    Alternatively, any senders aware of procedures to respond to FOIA searches of email could add ‘delivery error’ phrases in their communications if they knew it would help keep the email out of FOIA culls.

    Adding words to supress an email reminds me of a tactic I read about a year or so ago: adding the word “VIAGRA” or “CIALIS” in the subject line or in the body of the email cloaks your email from the NSA whose filters are programmed to ignore “spam” and to discard the communication unanalyzed. (I have no idea if it works).

  19. radiofreewill says:

    Here we see Addington at Work:

    Issue: Avoid IIPA Violation getting Tagged On Bush for ‘Outing’ Valerie Plame Wilson.

    Defensive Strategy: Firewall at OVP – First Line of Defense – Libby

    Actions:

    – limit Search Domains to OVP
    – limit Search Persons
    – Compartmentalize Points of Legal Exposure with “Treated as Secret/Top Secret”
    – position Cheney’s CoS Libby as “primary actor” to “Draw Attention Away from” Bush-Rove
    – position Cheney as “primary order giver”
    – Compartmentalize Bush as “primary Authoriser/De-Classifier”

    Addington and Cheney swung into action and produced a Defense in Depth Plan to Control the Story and Cloak the Evidence.

    There’s just ‘no way’ (heh, I’ve said this so many times before with these guys, and been wrong,) Addington was going to let an E-mail Search take down Cheney, anymore than Bush was going to let a mere former Ambassador’s challenge to his integrity take him down, either.

    Bush and Cheney were Playing Hardball with the CIA Leak – using every ounce of leverage they could to Avoid Being Found Out and Avoid Being Held Accountable.

    And Still, Fitz – and our own EW – saw through all the FUD to find the carefully Compartmentalized Secret Mission (Bush to Cheney to Libby) to Judy in the morning before Armitage told Novak that afternoon, and realized that – at the very, very best – it was only Flimsy Technicalities that could keep Bush himself, under the Law as We know it, from being The Leaker, and Guilty of Violating IIPA.

    Thanks to EW, We know These Guys were Caught Red Handed – the Real Mystery is in How Have They Gotten Away With It Since?

    And, this very, very narrow and restrictive E-mail Search certainly looks like part of that answer.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Good summary.
      Ya know we will learn more when Scottie the McClellan indulges us in
      April, with his book What Happened?

  20. Rayne says:

    Okay, I answered my own question — partially.

    “POSTMASTERS: IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE COUNSEL’S OFFICE” sent to “Special EOP Distribution [email protected] on January 23, 2004 was sent the same day as Fitz’ subpoena duces tecum served that day and subsequent letter to Addington about the same.

    BUT…I find it really hard to believe that there wouldn’t have been some responsive chatter replying to a message sent out to a distribution list announcing the subpoena. And who were the members of that distribution list? Anybody whose email wasn’t produced?

  21. Rayne says:

    I can’t stop thinking about this, it’s bugging the crap out of me because the search was so shoddy.

    Why are there no exclusions from *@rnc.org??? We’re supposed to believe that there are NO emails that went in and out of the firewall to/from RNC’s domain that would have commented in any way upon this investigation?

    • Rayne says:

      I mean exclusions. Why would they ask to exclude emails from GOPUSA.com, a known mouthpiece for both the party and the administration, but not exclude anything from RNC.org?

      Because they knew with certainty there’d be NO emails in/out from RNC.org??

      I find it incredible that they’d have NO communications from them that might have mentioned the investigation, so that they wouldn’t even bother with exclusion.

  22. jdmckay says:

    EW:

    I’m not sure you have this one right. Last section of your linked memo says:

    ATTACHED ARE THE DRAFT INSTRUCTIONS to THE OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATION FOR THE EMAIL SEARCHES REMAINING FOR THE
    OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT FROM THE GRAND JURY SUBPOENA DATED JANUARY 22 2004 (WILSON/WIFE/TRIP/MEDIA-
    RELATED PLUS THE EMAIL SEARCH FOR THE SUBPOENA DARED JANUARY 30 2004 EMAIL TO FROM OR REFERENCING NAMED
    PERSONS OR ENTITY
    PLEASE CALL ME WITH CLEARANCE OR COMMENTS ON THE ATTACHED MEMO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SO CAN GET THE EMAIL
    SEARCHES STARTED THANK YOU

    I read that to say Addington requested “Admin of email searches” (call him AOES) on this rather than executed himself.

    I have seen CSPAN testimony of similar WH, politically appointed “watchdog”(s) who failed to ever investigate anything, so nothing would surprise me. However, seems to me reasonable that your assertion would need scripts exectuted by AOES for confirmation.

    As much as I loathe Addington, I don’t see anything in that memo that would ursurp a compentant AOES from appropriately “wildcarding” search parameters Addington requested. Personally, I wouldn’t take from that memo what you proffer, however it would absolutely fire heightened scrutiny towards examining AOES scripts for assertion u suggest.

    • MrWhy says:

      If the intent was merely to respond in good faith to the subpoenas, then the sensible thing would be to send general instructions to the IT department – “Comply with the subpoenas. We suggest the following filters on the search. e.g. exclude the phrase Congressman Joe Wilson.”

      If you want to be sure that the search is constrained to avoid sensitive or incriminating email, then you specify what you’ll allow IT staff to search for.

    • MrWhy says:

      It would be very interesting to see the actual filters used in the search. I wonder if that was documented and could be obtained by subpoena.

    • emptywheel says:

      I don’t see how Addington can submit search terms for approval, and not guarantee that the IT guys do AT LEAST those terms. And if I were someone wanting to stay in good with the Fourth Branch, I’d probably do exactly what he told me to do.

      I agree that a competent AOES would look at this and say, “well, this doesn’t include all the Miller stuff.” But you’re also asking them to anticipate things like Judy’s nickname. And asking them to deviate from what DOJ has approved.

      Though you’re right–I’d really like to see what they actually searched on. But Fitz’ office is particularly squirrelly about commenting on email, so I don’t think I’d get that even if I asked.

      • jdmckay says:

        I don’t see how Addington can submit search terms for approval, and not guarantee that the IT guys do AT LEAST those terms.

        I don’t follow… is there reason to think his submitted search terms weren’t executed?

        And if I were someone wanting to stay in good with the Fourth Branch, I’d probably do exactly what he told me to do.

        ok, still IMO a leap to say he excluded terms.

        I would presume there were many other instances of internally requested WH searches on these things, from Addington to whoever else WH may have authorized to do so, w/it being in requestor’s interest searches find everyting. I would also presume these same folks would rely on AOES to properly execute (using this as example) w/c, last Name only, double (or more) space, obvious potential misspelling, initials (f:ex, JMiller, Judi, Judith, JudithM… etc etc.) IMO this would be routine procedure for an AOES, and desired by WH personal availing AOES’ services.

        Same for any professional maintaining document/file systems, h(x)tml repositories… anything requiring lexical analysis.

        That Addington stated no “verbatim” (or similar) orders, personally I just don’t see deliberate exclusion.

        you said:

        But notice some of the journalists for whom Addington submits first and last name, in quotes, that would return just that string: Judith Miller, Matthew Cooper, and Andrea Mitchell. This search will probably return any email from or to these journalists, picking up email signatures with their full names. But it will not pick up references about them referring only to their last name.

        (see above).

        I’d add… over the years I’ve done many front ends, parsers to simplify and execute such stuff for wide variety of professionals/scenarios. Many of these people, often brilliant in their field (lawyers, doctors) are unbelievably dense when it comes to these kinds of distinctions… eg. those which may affect the outcome of such a query/search. (Cheney strikes me as one of ‘em.) They scribble unintelligible notes and say: “Find it”. They also have -0- interest in getting their heads around the basics. (WTH… it creates jobs!!!)

        Perhaps you’re correct. Personally, I just don’t see nefarious omissions implied in that memo. Just my $0.02 (now about $0.0167 and falling fast!!!)

        I agree that a competent AOES would look at this and say, “well, this doesn’t include all the Miller stuff.” But you’re also asking them to anticipate things like Judy’s nickname.

        agree… not AOES’s job to anticipate unknown nicknames.

        And asking them to deviate from what DOJ has approved.

        I don’t follow, sorry… what has DOJ approved relevant to this?

        • Rayne says:

          I just don’t see the techs I’ve worked with doing more than what is explicitly called for, especially if they know their employment depends on not pissing off the client. (And who is the client if you’re a tech working on the EOP network…)

          • jdmckay says:

            I just don’t see the techs I’ve worked with doing more than what is explicitly called for, especially if they know their employment depends on not pissing off the client.

            I suppose it depends on “arrangements”.

            I’m a code monkey/dba & mcse, but most of my system experience is from working with “system guys” in cooperation w/implementing software I (or my team) wrote. Over the years done stuff for banking, custom spreadsheets for WS types, law libraries (before they were available as shrinkwrap), and recent years everything to d w/HIPAA. There were elements in most all of that that included searching of one or more media. Through it all, I’ve had very few experiences where anything like this was cloaked in nefarious motives by management or anyone else.

            (And who is the client if you’re a tech working on the EOP network…)

            Some of what I read in comments on EW’s TIMELINE certainly does indicate Addington was a Gatekeeper as implied. In particular this comment (and linked doc) by RFW, also Citizen92 and bmaz @ 51 & 52.

            I think I’m just going to shut up for a while, read up on all this stuff.

  23. pdaly says:

    I see your point now. My assumption, too, was that there would be responsive emails on RNC.org

    The fact that they are not excluding RNC.org emails suggests either
    instructions at the time to avoid use of RNC.org for this topic (Not sure how easy that would be to enforce)
    or perfect ability to select for and eliminate RNC responsive emails?

  24. Sedgequill says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the search tool were like that in some operating systems and browsers, pulling up all matches beginning with the first character entered and narrowing the search results with each added character.

  25. bmaz says:

    EW – I have a thought for you and everybody to chew on. I never thought about this before and, to the best of my knowledge, haven’t seen anyone else raise it either. By interjecting Addington into this process the way they did, I think they arguably made him a gatekeeper, i.e. a legal custodian of records. If so, he has no privilege on any of the issues surrounding what we have been discussing. Depose the prick; long and in depth. I think any party such as CREW, ACLU etc. that has an active emails case has the standing to do this and should notice him up immediately. I am serious.

    • emptywheel says:

      He doesn’t have privilege anway, as all of his memos say (thanks to Bubba). He did say quite a bit about the records he turned over for Libby during the trial.

      But, yeah, I’ve been pushing HJC or Oversight to haul Addington’s hairy ass into testify, but they don’t seem all that excited about taking him on. It’d be hard for him to invoke privilege, though, since he already testified to this stuff. I’m sure he would, mind you, but still.

      • bmaz says:

        As to atty/client privilege, you are right; but I was referring to executive privilege, which he could, at least arguably, otherwise claim. It would just drive them all batshitcrazy too. Also, Addington is not used to formal examination and has shown himself to be surprisingly chatty. If I were one of those party plaintiffs, I would do it immediately.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I love it. Addington as “legal custodian” of the records would become an essential fact witness. Any steps he took in implementing that authority would be distinct from his role as presidential or vice presidential adviser (team Cheney purposely conflates those distinct roles). The result would be that he has no executive or legal privilege with respect to that role. Yup, depose the hell out of him. Just a skirmish in a long battle, but a useful and essential one.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      I love you calling him a prick.
      He is… a fucking prick… especially about torture, not
      to mention impugning the Wilson’s….

  26. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    I have the same general interpretation.
    Although I still cherish the fantasy that some wise-ass, magenta-haired 20something with 8 body piercings, a bookshelf overflowing with manga, and a Bad Attitude about working the night shift decided to noodle around while everyone else was either sleeping, getting laid, or getting drunk.

    As I say, it’s a fantasy… heroes sometimes have magenta hair.
    And the often have Bad Attitudes… so I continue to hold out hope.

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