Plame Investigation and Missing Emails: Analysis on Emails

This is the post I promised, in which I’ll analyze what the timeline of the missing dates shows. As I said in that post, this exercise makes several assumptions, some of which clearly are not true:

  • It assumes all the missing emails have some tie to the Plame leak; we know this is not true because of the volume of email missing from offices uninvolved in the leak, and there is at least one period when no archive of OVP email exists for which I can think of no Plame leak correlation.
  • It assumes we’re seeing all the missing emails; we’re not. There’s a bunch of dates on which there is a very small amount of email archived, and if we were to do this analysis properly, we’d need to know those dates, too.
  • It assumes the email archives were destroyed deliberately to hide legally dubious acts. While that might be a fair assumption with this administration, we don’t know for sure that is true, so by trying to find correlations between missing emails and known events, we may end up imagining motivations on the part of the White House that didn’t exist.

So understand that this is as much a thought experiment as useful analysis. It basically tries to answer the question, "Assuming most of the WH and OVP email gaps during this period relate to the Plame investigation, why might the WH have been deleting archives? What were they trying to hide?"

Also, consider some limits about the content of the email. We’re assuming the email was dangerous enough to make it worthwhile to delete. Yet, given that Fitzgerald got at least 250 pages of the missing OVP emails (and presumably a similar amount of missing WH emails), one of the following must be true:

  • The emails were not damaging enough to support an indictment for anyone beyond Libby. Only one of these emails was ever even introduced at Libby’s trial–and it was nowhere near the most incriminating piece of evidence. So the emails Fitzgerald received, at least, either contain no smoking gun or he chose not to pursue the smoking gun.
  • The truly damaging emails would not be included in any of the subpoenaed searches. I have already raised questions whether the draft search terms Addington proposed to search for emails pertaining to journalists would have returned all the responsive email, but it is also possible that, if they were trying to hide something, it was something outside of the general scope of the discovery, which was mostly limited to Wilson, Plame, Niger, and the journalists.

In other words, either those emails do not include a smoking gun, or Fitzgerald never found that smoking gun for a variety of reasons.

With all that said, it appears that almost all the periods for which OVP or WH were missing emails (the exceptions being September 12, 2003 and May 21-23, 2005) were periods during which they were responding to document requests or subpoenas. There is clear indication that OVP, at least, attempted to shield conversations with journalists outside of Novak, Phelps, and Royce (and given Libby’s claim that he didn’t speak to Novak the week of the leak even though his Novak’s phone records showed he did, he appears to have tried to shield his conversation with Novak, as well) [h/t Jeff for the correction]. Thus, one possible explanation for the missing email archives is that OVP and WH were trying to hide email discussions about their attempts to hide the most incriminating discussions with journalists, notably with Judy Miller.

September 12, 2003 (no OVP emails): This one-day gap in the archives occurs on the Friday before two Sunday events: Joe Wilson writes an op-ed for the San Jose Merc-News, and Cheney appears on MTP and disavows ever knowing Joe. Wilson’s op-ed was itself a response to a major Bush speech on terrorism. Thus, it certainly seems possible that emails from the 12th discussed the upcoming MTP appearance–strategizing a way for Cheney to rebut Wilson. I’m wondering if they had any way of knowing about the Wilson column beforehand, and if they placed Cheney on MTP for that reason?

Even if Fitzgerald found something to that effect at the trial, it would be unlikely he’d introduce it. We know Fitzgerald also has, as evidence, an annotated copy of Sy Hersh’s Stovepipe article which (like any lead-up to MTP discussing Wilson) would be evidence of ongoing obsession with Wilson and his claims, presumably on the part of both Libby and Cheney, but Fitzgerald didn’t introduce that article at trial. By the same logic, he probably wouldn’t introduce this.

October 1-3, 5, 2003 (no OVP emails): Obviously, this four day gap occurs just after the investigation began. From trial evidence, we know that Libby and Cheney had two or three discussions about getting Scottie McClellan to publicly exonerate Libby, as he had Rove. We know there were email discussions among OVP staffers about how McClellan’s comments about Libby–that is the subject of the one email entered at trial that hadn’t been archived. So to some degree, we know that this gap covers a period when OVP was trying to get Libby exonerated.

The gap covers another significant process, as well: the four day gap between the time when DOJ told WH to save any relevant materials, and the day when Gonzales passed on the specific request. If any significant evidence destruction occurred, it likely occurred in this period.

At the very least, though, we know that OVP started to collect information responsive to the document request and Libby had at least two conversations with Cheney in which he told Cheney the (evolving) story he was going to tell the FBI. During this period, Libby devised a cover story (that he learned Plame’s identity from Russert), then he revised that story when he found the note indicating that Cheney told him of Plame’s identity. Would any of these discussions show up in email? The discussions between Cheney and Libby almost certainly took place in person–they were conveniently together in Jackson Hole just after this period. But it’s possible there were email discussions about what evidence turned up in the search.

Finally, consider the fact that, at least given the evidence that appeared at trial, OVP did not turn over materials clearly responsive to the initial document request that happened to mention one of the journalists not, originally, requested. For example, this hard copy of the Martin-Cooper email was not produced until after October 21 (Martin had an FBI interview on October 22), under Martin’s certification. But the actual email did not come up on an email search until February 11. Yet the email clearly was a document "that relate[s] in any way to a contact with any member or representative of the news media about Joseph C. Wilson [and] his trip to Niger in February 2002," one of the first three document requests. Cooper asks, "Who in the vice president’s office communicated to the CIA their interest in the Niger allegation?" While the email never mentions Wilson by name, Wilson’s central assertion was that the CIA sent him in response to interest from Cheney. (Note, all this is true for Rove’s Hadley email, as well–it was clearly responsive to the first document request.) OVP clearly interpreted the document request very narrowly. Was there a discussion on email to that effect? We know that Jenny Mayfield, at least, knew to leave all of her and Libby’s email discovery to a centralized search (even as she did not turn over other clearly-responsive materials, annotated documents in her Niger/Uranium file), so at the very least, there must be some discussion that such searches would occur.

December 17, 20, 21, 2003 (no WH emails): Two significant events happened during this period. First, Jim Comey officially assumed the role of Deputy Attorney General on December 11. Prior to that date, Ashcroft had responded to demands that he recuse himself from the Plame investigation that he could not do so until there was a DAG. That suggests discussions about the recusal may have started almost immediately after Comey took over. If there were emails at the WH pertaining to that recusal, they would not have come up under any known subpoena.

It’s also possible that the White House received a parallel subpoena to the one OVP received on December 16, asking for "any records relating to" either version of the INR memo, "including without limitation any records relating to the dissemination of such document." If it did, then it would mean there is no WH email for three of the four days between the date the subpoena was issued and its due date. We know the INR memo was on Air Force One the week of the leak in at least one form (from Powell; Howard Fineman once reported that a copy was also in Condi’s briefing book), so a request for information about it would have implicated Dan Bartlett, as well as others aboard Air Force One (up to and including Bush), and it may have implicated those back at the White House corresponding with Air Force One (like Rove). If there were emails pertaining to the INR memo, they would have come up under a known subpoena only if they mentioned Wilson or Plame (which seems likely, though given the narrow response the White House made in October 2003, who knows if they would have turned it over?).

January 9-11, 2004 (no WH emails): These are the three days leading up to the day that Fitzgerald would arrange an interview with Novak, with waivers from Rove and Armitage in hand. Certainly, the WH was contemplating whether their various stories would hold up once Fitzgerald started talking to journalists about their specific contacts with Administration staffers. And given that we know Libby reached out to Russert, at least, in the period after signing a waiver, it’s possible WH staffers reached out to other journalists. Such discussions may not have come under a known subpoena unless they mentioned Wilson or Plame.

January 29, February 7-8, 2004 (no WH or OVP emails); January 30-31, 2004 (no OVP emails), February 1-3, 2004 (no WH emails): This is the period during which WH and OVP were responding to a variety of subpoenas, including:

  • Documents relating to the Air Force Two July 12 trip
  • Air Force One phone records for leak week
  • July 12, 2003 gaggle transcript
  • Gerald Ford party guest list
  • WHIG documents for July 2003
  • Wilson-Plame-Niger documents since the start of the investigation
  • Contacts with a slew of reporters

In other words, this is the period when it would become clear to the WH and OVP that Fitzgerald was interested in leaks to journalists besides Novak, Phelps, and Royce, WHIG activities after the leak, and contacts with journalists from Air Force One and Two. This was the period when it would have become clear that the very narrow response the WH and OVP took in the fall was not going to work and that Libby’s and (presumably) Rove’s lies might be exposed as such. It was also the period when people like David Addington were drafting narrow email search instructions that would have shielded contacts pertaining to Judy Miller, Andrea Mitchell, Matt Cooper (and, curiously, Glenn Kessler).

If there were discussions at OVP and WH–and between the two–about strategies for shielding some of this material, I can imagine they wouldn’t want them to be easily discoverable. Since this batch of subpoenas asked for materials through the present (that is, January 23), any emails about these topics after January 23 would not be discoverable through any known subpoena.

February 15-17, 2005 (no OVP emails): I have to brag a little. When I saw these dates in Waxman’s list, I guessed that it might correlate with the Appeals Court ruling that Judy and Cooper would have to reveal their sources. And boy did it, the day of the opinion and the two immediately thereafter.

I would imagine that OVP was in a full panic at this point: they knew that if Judy testified honestly, it would become fairly clear that Cheney had ordered Libby to leak Plame’s identity to her, possibly with the foreknowledge of Bush. Would they be so stupid as to panic on email or leave some indication they were doing so? Might they have emailed Judy? I don’t know. But if they did, these emails would not be discoverable through any known subpoena.

May 21-23, 2005 (no OVP emails): Unless Scalia gave his duck hunting buddy a heads up that SCOTUS was not going to review Judy and Cooper’s appeal more than a month before SCOTUS announced this publicly, I can think of no Plame-related leak coordinating with this date.

226 replies
  1. wavpeac says:

    Do you think that the connection between Brewster Jennings and Seibel Edmonds is valid? The lastest article reporting that Brewster Jennings was outted by Grossman who was selling nuclear secrets to Saudi, Israel? Could this be why there was such a big controversy about “covert” because Brewster Jennings had been outted two years prior? Plame herself may not have been named but it might explain why she was going on a two year sabbatical (besides the kids). I found some interesting dove tailing of the stories. Wondered what you thought. I am still very skeptical because the facts are very slim pickens. But it’s interesting to me, and I wonder if there is anything in the timeline that might corroborate Edmonds story.

  2. klynn says:

    It assumes all the missing emails have some tie to the Plame leak; we know this is not true because of the volume of email missing from offices uninvolved in the leak, and there is at least one period when no archive of OVP email exists for which I can think of no Plame leak correlation

    If you wanted it to look like an IT glitch, wouldn’t you just do a swipe across the board? Perhaps tossing in swipes to cover Abramoff and other wonderful incidents – in terms of the question “What were they trying to hide?”

    Just thinking “out loud”…

  3. phred says:

    EW, i know this is a thought experiment, and you’ve been doing phenomenal work pulling the various threads together into a coherent narrative, but I’m still trying to sort out the noncontiguous date problem and the magical period of March -October 2003 (as in why in October 2003 the back-ups started working again after 6 months, albeit sporadically).

    I wonder if the reason the emails were “not backed up” for those 6 months was because people in the WH were not in the habit of deleting sensitive email. By October 2003, with the notification from DoJ to save all relevant materials, they would know their emails would be subjected to review, so perhaps at that point they established a formal policy that any discussions that could land them in legal trouble had to be deleted the same day they were sent. Prior to that, they would have to make all backups disappear because a conversation on July 11th would be archived on July 12th (hence, all emails from March to October had to disappear). After that, they would get away with their occasional “glitches” because they would know that sensitive emails would be deleted on specific dates.

    Of course then this leads to the question of why go to all this trouble in the first place? If email could pose such a problem, why didn’t they discuss these things over the phone or in person? Did they fear being overheard or seen? This part still puzzles me. How hard would it have been for these people to sort things out verbally? Or perhaps they thought they could hide their tracks behind the 1st amendment protections for the journalists and their own executive privilege to keep all their written records secret?

    • emptywheel says:

      I think it’s probably close to what you say. Though there are two other options to explain the March through October 2005. First, that they were deleting backup tapes regularly (and possibly archives, though none of the completely missing archives is included), but then stopped in response to the order to save documents. (That is, the deletions stopped in October after DOJ ordered them to save all information.)

      But it’s also possible they did a clean swipe on, say, September 29, and just made up the backup tape excuse to explain away why the emails precisely covering the period of interest had no backup tapes.

      Or it could be a combination of the two.

      • phred says:

        Something is definitely not right — I would dearly love to hear the IT explanation of all this. I wonder if they made sure all their techies drank the kool-aid, too?

        • phred says:

          Oh dear, I hadn’t considered the possibility that the techies they hired might be just as incompetent as the Regent U. grads ; ) I should have known though, ’cause they have clearly all done a heckuva job ; )

        • sojourner says:

          This is just a thought, but I doubt seriously that they would use an ordinary “techie” to conduct their skulduggery. Someone selectively planned what to do and how to do it. Considering that Bush and Cheney are probably both truly non-techie types, that would leave Rove or one of his minions, in my opinion.

          Just as an aside, what was the name of the outfit that the RNC hired to handle its system? As I recall, there was some connection between its owner and Bush/Cheney/Rove. It would have been a fairly simple matter to just hand the correct access information for the White House email and infrastructure systems over to someone from that organization, who could press the right buttons.

          That way, you have the appropriate separation so that Bush/Cheney/Rove can smile and say, “We didn’t do it…!”

        • JimWhite says:

          I agree with your suggestion that there had to be very high level planning of this. However, from the number of comments we have had from techies on the nature of the search itself, I have to side with phred that the ones actually carrying out the search had to be kool-aide drinkers or they would have made noises about the deficiencies in the searches.

          Those Liberty U. computer science grads are out there, and they are getting involved. From the link I provided above, if you click on “Alumni” you will find interviews with a number of graduates of the program. Here are a few samples of the answers to the question “In terms of your profession, what are you doing today?”

          I am an IT consultant for a large consulting firm.

          Was in Iraq working with an NGO initially after graduation, currently I work for an organization run by the Dept. of Justice, which provides criminal intel for law enforcement.

          Last job title was Web Application Developer, but duty is more like Network & System Administrator.

          The company I work for is a government contractor so we work on many computer science related projects. I really can’t say more than that.

          I am a computer programmer for RST Marketing in Forest, VA. The company deals in direct marketing (lots of political surveys and petitions), and so my job involves a lot of data manipulation with their mailing lists, and document creation/mail merge with their mailings. I code primarily in Visual FoxPro, SQL, and some C++, and use a variety of USPS and document software. The best part about my job is that I work for Christian co-owners, and the work environment is very family-oriented, and relaxed. Whereas normal applications require months or years at a time, my projects usually require a day or two, and so my work is always changing, which helps keep the job interesting..

          Again, I would say that there is a good chance that these are the types of people whom Addington and Cheney would be most likely to hire for these jobs because they would be very likely to do “what it takes” to “get the job done”.

        • sojourner says:

          Ah! I see what you are saying… You could well be correct!

          My line of thought, to a large degree, simply bypasses involving anyone else (Liberty grad or otherwise). There is probably a “core” group, including the guy who owns the IT services firm that handles or handled the RNC account.

          Just my own speculative thinking…

        • jdmckay says:

          Just as an aside, what was the name of the outfit that the RNC hired to handle its system?

          SMARTTECH. A good place to start looking into those guys is ePluribus‘ very good look into those guys. They hosted all Blackwell’s crap in last midterm. Evolution of their founder, Michael” L. Connell, into heart of the GOP inter/intranet IT strategy also very well covered by eP folks, here & here.

          This stuff is all connected to what EW is documenting. Given W’s absolute rotunda of industry reps appointed to policy and/or watchdog positions, I’d bet $$ to doughnuts the surface is just being scratched WRT nefarious communications for nefarious tasks, each covering up the other. Example posted here (#22) a couple days ago.

    • JodiDog says:

      Ahh, well done, phred.

      Over the phone, at lunch, at the snack machine, in each others office. Even in the office supply closet. On the way somewhere. Email is for “official” proclamations in some areas. (The final draft of behind the scenes maneuvers.)

      Even the deadly old fashioned usually untraceable desk side fax machine plays a good part when you wish to peruse lists, and mark up things.

      Or a handwritten list, or a “typewriter” only printout, or my OWN FAVORITE .

      I don’t even deal with the kind of unrelenting hostile scrutiny that people in the White House live with 24×7 but I take care to discuss “sensitive matters” very carefully. I have run into a few SEC, FBI, etc. sweeps relating to takeovers, lawsuits, and contract matters.

      One where they came and confiscated the CEO’s old fashioned desk blotter for he had doodled on it.

      But further on the subject, you should realize that a lot of stuff goes on all the time that people have an interest in not putting in a public record. Not just your particular heart’s interest Valerie Plame.

  4. BillE says:

    Does anybody remember when the Chimperor was explaining/shitting on us about his lack of internet/email skills. It was back during this time frame. The scumbag gets that little shit eating smirk on his face only when he is rubbing someones face in it. In this case it was everyone not a kool aide drinker. Its like a poker player giving away his hand. Bush only does this stuff when someone is getting f’ed over by his little gang and we can’t stop him and he’ll get away with it.

    If someone like has the stomach, this might he a telling timeline in Bush’s moments like this.

    Either way it shows he knew. And was an active participant. And like his father they figured out plausible deniability. Interesting how all the Reagan and now Bush shenanigans have been operated out of OVP with pardons.

    • merkwurdiglieber says:

      Reagan stayed out of the way after that incident at the Hinckley Hilton.
      Junya never searched for a VP, just waited to “discover” he already had
      one trained in the system… MSM ate it up, adults to bolster the boy,
      you see, sensible people, etc.

  5. oldtree says:

    It does appear that Mr. Fitzgerald has answers to a lot of these questions. His offices are the only ones outside of EXEC, DOJ, ATT, Sprint……. that have some of the email that may deal with this.
    Did he get all the email that he asked for? We know he did not. It no longer existed prior to his asking for it after they knew he would.
    So, for the sake of argument, let’s say he has discovered they denied rightful discovery to him. His investigation is still open, and he is one of the only people in this country that can act as an independent prosecutor at this time and forego DOJ involvement in what he does. (except of course that they are tapping his computers and phones and home and life)

    is another GJ pending? or was this another member of the stooges?

    • emptywheel says:

      We DON’T know whether he got everything or not. We know he got stuff that was not archived, presumably either off the backup or off their computers. But we don’t know whether he believes he has gotten everything.

      • oldtree says:

        that is where we may actually see activity. Something about the email that is gone and in magnetic heaven will come out and be a part of another very sensitive fraud for example. Fitzgerald has that email, and it opens the doors
        the other aspect about them having these on numerous servers, obviously. think just how vain these people are. they will want to show that to their friends later and wouldn’t destroy it, only hide it.

  6. sailmaker says:

    Maybe I have not had enough caffein yet or something, but I just do not understand the spottiness of the emails, one day we have emails, the next day backup emails but no archive, the next day archive but no back up, plus variations in which office they were archiving. That is not like any international data center where I have worked, that is heads-will-roll type of stuff, plus the people who had access to the back ups did not have access to the archives and vis versa. Mistakes happen, and sometimes data disappears but, the damage is contained, and data can be retrieved from the backups, or a parallel system. In a corporate setting there would have had to be massive collusion to get this kind of spottiness. I quail at the thought that anyone like a judge could accept the explanations that have been given so far: these types of reasons are the kind of reasons that were thought up and were viable in the late 1980s. Which may give us a clue about the perpetrator(s).

    That said, I hope Waxman got the procedures manuals, even if he didn’t get the hard drives, servers, etc., that would have been normal in a corporate setting. Of course it would be snide to suggest looking in the NSA tapes/servers etc.: presumably the NSA, in conjunctions with the telcoms, does not bug the White House, and it would be a ’state secret’ even if they did. Which leads again the question: why are they doing these discussions via email? No one, in places I’ve worked, disparages a fellow employee in a work review via email, since the early 90s, that has all been done by phone.

    May 21-23, 2005 (no OVP emails): Unless Scalia gave his duck hunting buddy a heads up that SCOTUS was not going to review Judy and Cooper’s appeal more than a month before SCOTUS announced this publicly, I can think of no Plame-related leak coordinating with this date.

    Maybe (speculation here) there was something else they didn’t want the public to see: maybe their reaction to the birdflu deaths in Vietnam (and how much money Rumsfeld was going to make on his Tamiflu investments), or their reaction to pictures published in the London Sun, of Saddam Hussein and Chemical Ali in prison.

  7. Jeff says:

    Impressive. This –

    OVP clearly interpreted the document request very narrowly. Was there a discussion on email to that effect?

    is a great guess, and the first sentence is an important insight regardless of whether or not the unarchived emails had anything to do with the CIA leak investigation or not.

    However, I just noticed something. You say:

    For example, this hard copy of the Martin-Cooper email was not produced until after October 21 (Martin had an FBI interview on October 22), under Martin’s certification. But the actual email did not come up on an email search until February 11.

    First question: these are not identical, correct? They are clearly part of the same email chain between Martin and Cooper, but the email turned over in fall 2003 does not show up in the ones we have that were printed out February 11. Is that right? On a more substantive note, it’s worth noting that the email that Martin turned over after October 21, 2003 was probably the original a copy of which she had already turned over, in response to the December 16, 2003 subpoena item for the originals of her and Libby’s handwritten notes. (See, for instance, 2544, the very next Bates number, the copy of which is 1035.) Also, we can’t tell for sure that the email wasn’t turned over until February 2004, can we? That is, isn’t it possible that the printout from February 2004 is just the one that prosecutors happened to include in the book of grand jury exhibits, but that it had already been produced in fall 2003? Or am I confused here?

    • emptywheel says:

      I guess you’re right–we don’t know, for sure, whether it had been turned over before.

      As to whether the part that got printed out contemporaneously is part of the chain–WO has been puzzling the same thing. It appears to be the email Cooper sent in hte morning, printed out before he re-sent it. And that re-sent stuff is what we get later. Is that correct?

      • Jeff says:

        Oh, yes, I missed that, but that seems to be correct. And GX527 has notes on it that, I believe, are Libby’s, right? Or at least, the notes in the upper right corner are Libby’s.

        Part of the point is that, if I’m not mistaken, Fitzgerald’s early-2004 subpoenas simply covered a lot of stuff that had already been subpoenaed, it seems. So a lot of stuff that may be datable as responsive to his early-2004 subpoena may well have been turned in earlier as well, particularly the email.

        • emptywheel says:

          Well, keep in mind two things. First, the document request in October 2003 was just that–a request. So while everyone was trying to appear responsive, they weren’t subpoenaed by a GJ to turn that stuff over.

          Also, There appears to be a great deal of circumstantial evidence to suggest that no one, on either WH or OVP sides, were turning over materials relating to journalists not named Novak, Royce, and Phelps. Given how explicitly Libby argued during teh trial that he had no idea that the other journalists were an issue, I rather suspect the non-response about other journalists was rather well organized and thought-out.

          Remember, too, that Libby at first wanted to limit his waiver to those journalists whom he had named (leaving out Novak), and Novak at first tried to object to universal waivers, though he was happy to accept waivers from Rove and Armi.

        • Jeff says:

          Good points.

          Libby at first wanted to limit his waiver to those journalists whom he had named (leaving out Novak)

          I did not realize that at all; how do we know that?

  8. TomJ says:

    Emails are one thing, has anyone discussed the server log files? It is very difficult to centralize email archiving, but every email server should maintain log files for everything which passes through. If for no other reason, this should be done for security purposes.

    Therefore, there should be a log of every email sent or received, maybe even to/from information, and each email has a unique number attached. These logs would clear up at least the number of emails sent/received.

    Not having this information is like running your business without using a computerized accounting system. The accounting system only has a list of transactions, which is okay as long as you are not audited, where you need the original documents. But if you don’t have an accounting system, _and_ you throw away or lose the original documents, that is quite a different situation.

    In fact the whole thing should be looked at from an accounting perspective. Someone should have been/should be watching how all this stuff works, in case it stops working. If I was a network/email admin and I suddenly noticed _no_ email activity, that would be pretty surprising.

    So Congress can just ask the admins for ‘meta-data’. Like “did you ever notice large fluctuations in email traffic”? Who was in charge of this, you don’t even need to start with the actual content, start with the logs.

    • emptywheel says:

      Isn’t that what Waxman’s/CREW’s chart is? A track of the fluctuations in traffic? Though why Payton can’t replicate it easily is a big big question.

    • Rayne says:

      Excellent point regarding logs — and one we discussed way back, seems like years ago.

      BlackBerry devices, in particular, would be an excellent point of entry. The BlackBerry system may not keep the email itself from each device, but it should keep a log of the traffic. Obtaining those logs would do a couple of things in one fell swoop: 1) provide some insight into how much traffic never moved into the EOP network, as well as how much moved into/out of mobile devices; 2) document what emails are missing, although not the contents since only metadata would be available; 3) provide data on whom else was involved and never disclosed during the course of investigations, likely protected both by compartmentalization and by the use of communications external to EOP network.

      Both the email and archive systems should also have logs that indicate what communications took place (metadata only) even if the emails were destroyed across all locations.

      Flyover (39) — some of us who have actually worked in IT and on large enterprise infrastructure don’t really mind the “techie” business. We’ve been called far worse, especially when management doesn’t like the answers they get (ex. Yes, you are going to be charged for the laptop you broke. No, it didn’t drop off your bed in the hotel, I can see the butt print on the now-smashed display, we just don’t know if it’s your rear end…)

        • Rayne says:

          You have no idea if you haven’t worked in IT. Nothing like finding out your boss has a predilection for Catholic girls, Japanese anime and the color pink when performing diagnostics on his computer. If only I could have had the moxie and lack of morals to use that information for extortion…

        • TexBetsy says:

          The teens were flabbergasted to find out that I can see their web histories and AIM logs. Don’t check often, but it’s good that they know there are adult eyes on them from time to time.

        • JohnJ says:

          I think you just answered why the techies I’ve known tend to be Repug power worshipers. Those are the “safe” ones to hire.

        • JohnJ says:

          Didn’t some of the found e-mails come from Rover’s seized hard drive?

          I can tell you first hand that the FBI and the NSA have had the technology to recover even physically broken hard drives and shredded backup tapes for over 20 years. That started when hard drives were 5 12″ platters holding *gasp* a megabyte! In secure facilities, even the platens from printers and typewriters had to be burned every so often, which shows they could recover data from them. The way that most hard drives work, even “wiping” a drive is of dubious value when you have the proper tools; the pattern of the data used to wipe the information inherently does not match the position of the original data. (I wasn’t involved, but I have worked on the design of hard drives since).

        • emptywheel says:

          We don’t know anything about Rove’s email except that there were about 4 different possible ways he lost it: by deleting it himself, by having the RNC delete it for him, by losing it in the normal WH way of losing email, or by using a personal account.

          We do know that Fitz had copies of his hard drive, but we don’t know if he got anything off of it he didn’t otherwise get. We also know that Rove’s lawyer has gone to some pains to claim that Rove didn’t delete his emails knowing they were getting deleted everywhere.

        • jdmckay says:

          can tell you first hand that the FBI and the NSA have had the technology to recover even physically broken hard drives and shredded backup tapes for over 20 years. (…) The way that most hard drives work, even “wiping” a drive is of dubious value when you have the proper tools; the pattern of the data used to wipe the information inherently does not match the position of the original data.

          With all due respect JJ, that’s an oversimplification and misleading. I’ve dealt with this a lot, from low level embedded HD controllers, to evolving platter/tracking technology, to vastly improved head writing technology. As of at least ‘03, IDE technology can most certainly be “wiped”… with “wiping” meaning thorough overwriting of tracks to be “wiped”.

          “Recovery” of “wiped” IDE disks has changed a number of times just since ‘03. Residue from overwrites has been recovered in different ways, depending on specific technology on write heats, platters & materials/treatments, steadily diminishing track widths and corresponding write technology…

          Bottom line… most assuredly, unrecoverable “wipes” (overwrites) are in use (at minimum) ‘03 >> current. Also most assuredly, many many vendors who advertise products claiming to accomplish this do not, indeed, do so. I’ve been in a number of situations where this process had to be tested, verfied w/certainty for customer.

  9. TexBetsy says:

    Cheney emails missing from day leak probe started.
    from Think Progress by Faiz

    Last week, House Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) revelaed that the White House failed to preserve emails for at least 473 separate days. Waxman’s report said “Vice President Cheney’s office showed no electronic messages on 16 occasions from September 2003 to May 2005.” Among the sixteen days for which email are missing from Vice President Cheney’s office “is Sept. 30, 2003, the same day the day the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced they were investigating who outed former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.”

    UPDATE: CREW has produced a report analyzing the major national news events that were going on around the dates of the missing White House emails.

  10. DakkonA says:

    It would be helpful to this analysis to note if there were significant dates for which e-mails are *not* missing. If few can be identified, it will support the conclusions of the above analysis.

    • emptywheel says:

      Good point. But we don’t know that–we don’t know if, for example, one of the days where email appears to NOT be missing is actually missing all but two emails, know what I mean? That said, the big subpoena dates, with the exception of the April 2004 looking for all of Libby and Dick’s calendars, are covered, plus a big chunk that probably went out in anticipation of Dick’s interview in late May to June, and finally, a subpoena that went out between Judy’s two GJ appearances. Though by that time, they had to know Libby was going to get indicted, and they were barely hiding attempts to tamper with testimony.

  11. sojourner says:

    Several months ago, there was similar discussion about all of this (although not nearly as interesting with the analysis that EW has provided here!).

    I remember suggesting at the time, and I still believe that it is true, that perhaps there are several storage area networks(SANs)where a lot of this information has been stored out of reach and out of sight of any potential investigation. A fairly simple way to think of a SAN is a whole bunch of hard drives (similar to what is on a desktop computer) connected together to form terabytes of storage memory. If anyone discovered that information is being held on one SAN, it is a fairly simple matter to transfer it to another SAN. By the time a subpoena shows up, it is safely in another location, and someone can just smile sweetly and say, “There is nothing there.”

    I do not think that any or all of the missing information has been deleted. When you consider the personalities of Cheney and Rove, they would want to preserve as much as possible for posterity to show how “brilliant” they were in effecting the “changes” they have architected. To their twisted way of thinking, there is nothing wrong in what they are doing, and they want their “rightful” place in history.

    I just hope all of this will see the light of day soon… Then, Marcy can write the bestselling account of all of this

    • BillE says:

      The shredder truck and Cheney’s comments about not leaving memo’s around make me think that unless they have a secure out of the country location for archives that they destroy as much as possible. They have learned hard lessons with their multiple dry runs towards this state of affairs they have created.

    • BillE says:

      The shredder truck and Cheney’s comments about not leaving memo’s around make me think that unless they have a secure out of the country location for archives that they destroy as much as possible. They have learned hard lessons with their multiple dry runs towards this state of affairs they have created.

      • sojourner says:

        That is probably how a sane, rational person would react or behave (and I do not disagree with your thoughts…).

        Just remember that these idiots have awfully big egos, and I would not be surprised if it comes out later that one or all of them saved some things to “preserve” their place in posterity… These are not sane, rational people.

        • Palli says:

          I have limited capacity in these affairs…but I have a sense that their egos, big as they are, fully know that they are doing what they are doing is illegal. Besides there is a EO saying they can do whatever they want. Destroying evidence may be another way of satisfying their egos and saving their skins. While criminals can have big egos, they also have self-preservation instincts… Just like the indoctrinated loyal attorneys this executive branch keeps hiring, they would hire only indoctrinated loyal IT people. After all, they are saving the kingdom…”when history was written, that’s all that is important.”

    • TheraP says:

      I like your idea of these storage networks that worked like musical chairs. Reminds me of the famous mobile biological weapons trucks they invented for Iraq. Maybe they got the idea from their own mobile storage trucks!

      • sojourner says:

        Thanks! When the info about WH use of RNC accounts first hit, and email began disappearing, that thought occurred to me. An investigator would have to know specifically what to ask for, and be extremely careful in how the request or subpoena is worded. Trouble is, by the time you officially ask, the data or information you are seeking is somewhere else under another name on a different system.

    • redX says:

      I remember suggesting at the time, and I still believe that it is true, that perhaps there are several storage area networks(SANs)where a lot of this information has been stored out of reach and out of sight of any potential investigation.

      A thought here is that perhaps the emails are secretly not going to be allowed any access – but it seems that the Congress would have to go along and they would need (in a real democracy) to claim the emails exist but are sealed. There must be emails that can’t be seen, so it would be nice to know that the US Govt knows what’s going on rather than – “hey, 5 million emails can disappear its all good”.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This comment by EW made me laugh:

    I’m wondering if they [the WH] had any way of knowing about the Wilson column beforehand, and if they placed Cheney on MTP for that reason?

    Wilson’s OpEd appeared in the NY Times. Can anyone imagine a paper that had Judy Miller lunching with Libby and running around shouting “War is Good!” – and which recently hired Bill Kristol as a columnist – would alert the President of the United States about a forthcoming column that accuses him of lying us into war? So that he (meaning Rove’s button men) could respond?


    • emptywheel says:

      Though the op-ed I’m talking about IN THIS CASE is the MercNews one, from Fall 2003, when Wilson was already on everyoe’s radar.

      That said, I have long wondered whether Judy would have told Libby about the forthcoming op-ed. Or whether anyone else would have. Or, for that matter, whether the MTP would have.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Thanks for the correction, which makes makes my comment inapplicable to this timeline. The question still seems pertinent: whether the Times alerted the WH about such an OpEd piece that obviously drive Cheney crazy and start Rove’s henchmen planning payback, and if so, how that fits into the subsequent behavior of the key players.

        And to merkwurdigliebe, I have to say that Buck Turgidson remains one of my favorite characters.

        • pdaly says:

          But it is useful to keep in mind that the Cheney/Rove/Libby/Bush team had already figured out by May 2003–two months before Amb. Wilson’s July 2003 NYT OpEd-that Joe Wilson had gone to Niger and debunked the yellow cake sale. The WH also had already figured out Valerie Plame’s CIA employment and her marriage to Joe Wilson before Wilson even composed his OpEd.

          So Joe Wilson’s 7/2003 NYT OpEd did not spur the Bush administration’s inquiry into his private life, just the retribution.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Agreed. Wilson and possibly Plame were potential threats (each for slightly different reasons) to a political team that thrived more than J. Edgar Hoover on keeping track of personal threats and retaliating with Roman excess. Wilson publishing his OpEd was the signal to unleash the hounds against a specific target.

  13. sojourner says:

    As a humorous analogy, if you have ever seen the movie “Young Frankenstein,” there is a scene where the young Dr. Frankenstein opens a book entitled, “How I Did It” by Baron von Frankenstein…

  14. WilliamOckham says:


    I think your assumptions for this post almost all completely wrong. The root cause of the email archive problem is IT incompetence. It is entirely possible (I think probable) that some folks in the WH took advantage of that incompetence to shield some of their actions. The bigger scandal, my view, is that there were clear indications early on in the Plame investigation that relevant emails weren’t being turned up and nobody did anything about it.

    As the EOP migrated their users from Notes to Exchange, the process for archiving email needed to change. IT came up with a solution, but nobody actually verified that it was working consistently. This is simply inexcusable. There were legal requirements to ensure that the process worked. The IT team had just gone through a huge scandal on this very same issue. By the way, the IT folks claimed to be the whistleblowers in the Clinton-Gore administration email scandal. Where are they now?

    If you want to understand what happened, you have to look at the FOIA documents from the CEQ that Citizen92 pointed us to. ARMS kept chugging along doing its thing until the last Notes server was retired. There’s an email in the CEQ document dump that was sent and archived on Oct. 23, 2003. The Martin-Cooper email was archived in ARMS even though Martin was already using Exchange in July 2003. It was archived because at that point they were still using Notes for outgoing and incoming external email. The Martin email to the NSC guy was archived by ARMS because the NSC was still on Notes when she sent it (again you can verify that with the CEQ document dump). Of course, the ARMS process itself had issues (the weirdness with the first Cooper to Martin email show that).

    Part of the problem that the WH had in responding to Fitzgerald’s subpeonas was that they often looked in the wrong place for email. I don’t think anybody really understood how the archiving was working in the transition period.

    • emptywheel says:


      I’m not convinced the weirdness on the October 1 email are what you say they are. From a user’s standpoint, they all make sense as user issues.

      But how does your argument account for the on and off archiving, two days at at time, then two more days later, and so on?

      • WilliamOckham says:


        It’s hard to be sure without more information, but if we credit the CIO’s description of archiving Exchange-based emails (journaling to .pst files on network drives), then it is entirely likely that the process for pulling emails out of the journal mailbox and into .pst files was buggy. It could be as simple as scheduled processes not getting kicked off properly on certain days. Or, and this would be truly ironic, maybe the backups of Exchange Server interfered with the process that archived the emails. I can think of an almost infinite number of things that could have gone wrong. The biggest travesty is that they went wrong without anybody noticing or somebody noticed and nobody did anything.

        By the way, I could swear that one of the CREW articles you linked to early on had some information about dates that EOP users were told to clean out their mailboxes because of server space issues. I can’t find that now. If anybody remembers what document that was in, I’d love to know. I think that would be helpful in figuring this stuff out.

    • jdmckay says:


      could you post a few links establishing date ranges for usage ARM/EXCHANGE/NOTES as you’ve constructed?

      • WilliamOckham says:


        I’m swamped at work at the moment. I’ll get here (either on this thread or a subsequent with some links). Did everybody notice the link from Scott Horton over Harper’s No Comment?

  15. FlyoverCountryFodder says:

    In my own personal mind I have no doubt that this was done deliberately (perhaps not fully planned in advance, but done knowingly and with malice), and that Rove in particularly knew/knows what what happening.

    However, I also have to observe that people here and on other self-described reality-based forums have a substantial lack of knowledge of the management of large-scale e-mail systems, enterprise backup systems, and the relatively new field of e-mail archiving. Managing a large e-mail system is very difficult, and the archiving requirement imposed (unilaterally, with no supporting law) by the Federal courts has driven even some of the best e-mail managers to the brink of (or over the edge of) despair. It is not a simple problem, particularly when combined with the spam situation, the explosion in digital document creation, and the unstoppable desire of every professional to have a local copy of everything on “his” PC and to work around every restriction that “IT” puts on his “freedom of action”. Backups alone were hard enough to deal with before archiving, and anyone who hasn’t experienced the stomach-dropping sensation of loading the one-and-only tape for a given recovery requirement and having the system throw a Tape Empty message hasn’t been in the business very long.


    Would it be possible to ease off on the “techie” business please? That is a particularly contemptuous term that William Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal (among others) likes to use when he is explaining to his readers how to evade the onerous restrictions that “corporate IT” has put on his ability to delete whatever he darn well wants to delete.

    • sojourner says:

      I am a techie, too, and I don’t mind the term, particularly in that I work across the board in a number of different roles.

      Thought for WO… If the users wanted or needed their email archives converted from Lotus Notes to Outlook/Exchange, that adds a layer of complexity and possible failure, as well. I led a project last year to do that very thing, and it was messy and painful. Otherwise, even thought the WH converted to Exchange, they would have had to keep the Lotus Notes system running so that users could refer back to their archives on that system.

      Lotus Notes and Outlook/Exchange do not play well together, particularly on the same computer. There are ways they could work around that, though, so I wonder if the Lotus Notes system still operates for the benefit of a few for back-channel communications?

      • Rayne says:

        Lotus Notes and Outlook/Exchange do not play well together, particularly on the same computer. There are ways they could work around that, though, so I wonder if the Lotus Notes system still operates for the benefit of a few for back-channel communications?

        Now THAT is an interesting line of inquiry — Lotus Notes still exists backend someplace at a minimum, for archival purposes. Those emails might be described as archived outside of the “normal archiving process”, if normal was now whatever worked with the Exchange system.

        I’ve worked in an enterprise where we had both Lotus Notes and Exchange users, but the Notes system was entirely separate servers within the same network. Regret that I didn’t have a chance to do anything but data files for the Notes department, in hindsight.

        • sojourner says:

          That has bugged me from Day 1 (whenever that was ;-)) Could that Lotus Notes system still exist?

          Something that someone wrote here the other day set off some warning bells again. When the WH began its conversion from Lotus Notes to Exchange, it was stated that IBM was involved. Since IBM owns Lotus Notes, why would it help the White House transition OFF of it? Now, possibly, IBM was helping them set up an accessible archive of email, or even helping convert the email from Lotus Notes to Exchange.

          As another aside, why wasn’t Microsoft mentioned as one of the firms involved, since it manufactures Exchange and Outlook? I realize Microsoft works through a lot of resellers, but for a project of such importance, I would think they would want their front line in their doing the work.

          So, my thought is that there could have been two (or more) separate email systems working in the EOP — one “of record” and the other(s) for back-channel communications. For that matter, I guess there could be multiple Exchange-based systems running, although I assume they would have to have multiple domains in place.

        • JohnJ says:

          As much as I respect IBM and their many contributions to the advancements in technology; they are arguably one of the biggest spying contractors on the planet. A friend who tracks that sort of things told me there are several countries that won’t even allow IBM to do business in their country because of their ties to NSA/CIA.

          Their corporate culture is NOT conducive to whistleblowers.

          All the NSA stuff I worked on (many years ago) was a sub contract through IBM.

  16. JohnJ says:

    Every IT techie I have worked with have been a vehement gooper. It seems to have to do with association to (corporate) power; working on big people’s home computer and the like. In fact, it is rare that I find anyone centralist or “left” in any of the Engineering departments I worked in. (I am a hardware techie and find no offense to the name.)

    That, obviously from all the posters here, is not even close to the rule, but it is very easy to find tech people that are compliant.

    A side note:
    A little justice is that the whole Engineering department I used to work with, vehement Repugs one and all, are now about to be unemployed because even their jobs are literally going to China this year. Of course it is the illegal aliens and the Dems fault, no doubt.

    • BillE says:

      I find tech people like other social groups tend to accumulate together. I worked at one place and everybody was so pro Bush as to make me vomit. I didn’t stay long, other places were the other way and the rethugs left.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If this disclosure was “voluntary” and controlled by the disclosing party, it should be presumed to be incomplete. What’s surprising is the apparent assumption that Congress and the public would not get even this close to the internal record-keeping of this White House. The seemingly targeted lapses in data appear to be politically essential to the WH, but also appear to be designed to fit a pattern of system incompetence.

    That said, was it not during this period that former RNC wiz kid, Harvard trained lawyer and genuine computer guru Ken Mehlman, “supercomputerized” the RNC. One of the practical outcomes of this was a database that gave the RNC the ability to determine whether a ticket holder at any RNC event in the country had the requisite “R” after their name. That Republican “R”, not the ticket, is what really gained them access to the privatized public speaking events by the president and vice president, and what kept out the hoi poloi like Democrats.

    My thesis is this. That the RNC, and hence the Rove machine, had and has access to the top IT skills in the country for projects they considered vital to their cause. But that they willfully ignored their legal obligation to implement a routine communications/disaster recover/permanent archiving system for the WH because it would have promoted only a governmental, not RNC, function. Which suggests that the RNC is using the capacity and inadequacy of the more limited system implemented at the WH for its own ends.

    That last observation suggests that the next WH will have to treat the current WH communications system like the [pre-rebuilt] American Embassy in Moscow – as a communications sieve and national security disaster (because of all the bugs built into the building and its systems). And create a new one. Just one more GOP wrench in the gear works of a functioning democracy.

    • Jeff says:

      Good one! I remember that, but I never really got the point. However, based on what Libby had told the FBI, would Novak not have counted as a “reporter to whom he had spoken about the subject matters under investigation”? In any case, what could have been the possible justification Libby would have offered for that offer to the FBI? Desire to protect free press? Desire to not get into other matters not relevant to the investigation? Odd that he would do that, isn’t it?

      • emptywheel says:

        I don’t know. I’ve always assumed that Libby would say, “here are the four journalists I spoke to, and here are the waivers for those four.” In other words, putting him in charge of defining who got a waiver.

        He was screwed anyway, since he must have included both Russert and Judy in that and by the time he made the offer, Russert had already talked to Eckenrode. Perhaps he was going to put a date onto Judy’s, freeing her to speak about July 12 exclusively? That might explain why it seems like he shifted everything about his Judy discussion one meeting later.

  18. JohnJ says:

    Maybe I missed it, but are the RNC servers in anyones sights? We have proof that a lot of official e-mails went through them, doesn’t that include them in any of the document demands?

    • emptywheel says:

      I’ve long argued that the earliest anyone was aware of the RNC servers was in May 2008, when Greenberg Traurig released a Susan Ralston email that went through her RNC address. That’s after all these document requests. And it’s not clear whether Fitz would have become aware of it immediately (though Peter Zeidenberg, who was part of the Abramoff team in PIN as well as part of the Plame team, was in a position to know both details).

      So the question is, did the Plame team go back and ask for the RNC Rove emails? Eventually, almost certainly. But when? I have suspected that it wasn’t until October 2005, though I’m definitely rethinking that lately.

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        I find this amazing. They installed ‘proprietary’ software BEHIND the Congressional firewall meaning anyone who had the appropriate access to the RNC systems also had access behind the Congressional firewall. And they did all this within three months of taking office?

        Is that what the folks at this website are alleging?

        • Citizen92 says:

          The evidence shows this to be true.

          Here’s another source:

          That year, New Media provided Web design services for the re-election campaign of George W. Bush, three senators and seven House members, in addition to the Republican National Committee. In all, the company took in $1.2 million for its work on the 2004 campaigns.

          By 2004, GovTech had served as Web designer for the official, federally funded Web pages of 37 members of Congress. And the following year, according to House financial statements, GovTech received more than $144,000 in business from 21 Republican House members and Republican-led committees.

          In 2002 and 2004, GovTech received authorization from the General Services Administration that allowed federal agencies to purchase services directly from the company without going through the full bidding process. A news release from the company said, “As a GSA-approved vendor, GovTech can contract directly with agencies to streamline the procurement process.”

          Between October 2002 and the first half of this year, the General Services Administration reported more than $800,000 paid to GovTech by federal agencies. The company has designed Web sites for the White House, Department of Energy, and the 2004 meeting of the Group of 8 in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, among others.

          The GSA Schedule contracts from the federal government can serve as a stamp of approval for state and local government purchasers.

          In Ohio, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell’s office paid about $465,000 to GovTech, which redesigned the Web site and worked with the office to present Election Night results in 2004. In 1999, when Blackwell co-chaired the congressional Census Monitoring Board, New Media had won a contract to redesign a bilingual Web site for the board.


  19. BayStateLibrul says:

    Were these guys writing, speaking, winking, whispering, typing, or just plain lying?

    A few juicy quotes….

    “As a litigator, I will tell you documents are just the bane of our existence. Never write when you can speak. Never speak when you can wink.”
    Statement of Jordan Eth, Sarbanes-Oxley: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, Nov.10, 2005 on panel hostedby the National Law Journal and Stanford Law School’s Center on Ethics, reprinted in Nat.L.J. at p.18 (Dec.12, 2005).

    Derivative update by Ruhnka & Bagby JDFSL:
    “Never type when you can write, Never speak when you can whisper

    Source: Briefing by John Bagby from Penn State (IT guru)

  20. johno530 says:

    Sure would be great if there was at least 1 IT staff member who, knowing what was going on, in “Three Days of the Condor” style, made their own email backups.

  21. JodiDog says:

    Problem with the keyboard!!

    my OWN FAVORITE, the file on the USB2 Flash drive usually carried on my key chain. No copy on any computer exists.

    Mind you though, I have over 2 dozen of these up to 4GB.

    Surely these secretive, obsessively secretive political types take these kind of simple obvious precautions.

  22. Citizen92 says:

    I’ve still got Addington on the brain. It’s creepy. But it keeps me thinking.

    Since revelation of use of RNC email accounts by the Bush Administration, I’ve been given over to believing that “all the good stuff” would be stashed there, given admissions from Rove’s world that he used the account almost exclusively as well as Susan Ralston’s telling email to the Abramoff crew that if they sent e-mails to the White House account, she couldn’t help them.

    And that led me to believe that the official email system failure, that of EOP.GOV, ARMS, et al, was only a sideshow. That the real focus should be on

    But that may be a mistake.

    You see, there’s no evidence that I know of showing ‘Cheney’s team’ using the RNC accounts? So what did they use? Other private accounts that have not yet been identified? Only secure “secret” email? No email?

    Cheney’s team is super-secretive, so to believe they’d trust the RNC with the accounts is a stretch. Instead, we know these guys are comfortable with what they can control. And I believe they found some way to control the White House IT infrastructure.

    I think I’m beginning to see the EOP.GOV email scandals again as pretty darn important – but not a George W Bush scandal. No I think this one is a Dick Cheney scandal.

    Anyone else care to join me?

    Here are the list of RNC-account users (page 15) from the June 2007 Waxman report – I don’t think there are many Cheneyites on there (Cathie Martin excepted):

    Ahern, Kara
    Fricks, Wesley
    Marinis, Kate
    Sforza, Scott
    Bartlett, Dan
    Garcia, Noe
    Martin, Cathie
    Shannon, Michael
    Bearson, Darren
    Goergen, BJ
    Mayol, Annie
    Simmons, Sarah
    Becker, Glynda
    Gray, Adrian
    McBride, Anita
    Sinatra, Nick
    Best, Trey
    Griffin, Tim
    McBrien, Lauren
    Smith, Brad
    Britt, Mike
    Henick, Chris
    McCullough, Kelley
    Soper, Steven
    Card, Andrew
    Hernandez, Israel
    McLaughlin, Mindy
    Swineheart, Jessica
    Casale, Anthony AJ
    Hester, Brad
    McMahan, Thomas
    Taylor, Sara
    Cherry, Jane
    Hoelscher, Doug
    Mehlman, Ken
    Terpeluk, Meredith
    Clark, Alicia
    Hollifields, Nathan
    Napolitano, Michael
    Thomas, Dave
    Clyne, Megan
    Hughes, Karen
    Oschal, Jennifer
    Thomas, Travis
    Damas, Raul
    Hughes, Taylor
    Palasciano, Kristen
    Thompson, Nicholas
    Danforth, Melissa
    Hunter, Matt
    Pipes, Kasey
    Wallace, Nicolle
    Davis, Alicia
    Huntsberry, Jason
    Raad, Lori
    Webster, Jocelyn
    Davis, Mike
    Jackson, Barry
    Raines, Mel
    Wehner, Peter
    Dennard, Paris
    Jennings, Scott
    Ralston, Susan
    Westine, Lezlee
    Dyck, Paul
    Johnson, Collister
    Ritacco, Krista
    Willeford, Emily
    Elliott, Bridget
    Jucas, Tracy
    Rodriguez, Leonard
    Wilson-Lawson, Lauren
    Ellis, Michael
    Kubena, Korinne
    Rosenberger, Cliff
    Zimmerman, Neil
    Eskew, Carter
    Lauckhardt, Shelby
    Rove, Karl
    OPA Intern
    Felts, Jonathan
    Levine, Adam
    Schlapp, Matt
    Flood, Angela
    MacIntyre, Henley
    Schmidt, Steve
    Frans, Luke
    Mamo, Jeanie
    Seaton, Jon
    Source: Letter from Robert K. Kelner to Rep. Henry A. Waxman

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      I’m in.
      I’d go with the Cheney rather than Bushie scandal.
      Wouldn’t hiring a foresenic IT specialist be the first order of business?
      Task him with specific duties, and sic him on the VEEP.

    • Rayne says:

      So the missing RNC emails is a Bushie scandal…and the missing emails (archive, backup or original) inside EOP network is a Cheney scandal. Sounds likely — and it could say a lot about the power of the gatekeeper at OVP, yes? Highly centralized power, where EOP was much more decentralized.

      For the techies out there who are good at reading headers on emails: Here’s the emails from; note the two from Dana Perino and Colleen Litkenhaus in particular. Do they tell you anything?

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        1. They both came from the same server
        2. It’s an Exchange 2000 server.

        I’m not sure of your point though.

        About half way down the page there is an email sent to various Republican officials that describes returned mail in some county. The Excel attachment is named ‘…voter fraud master spreadsheet’. Interesting.

        • sojourner says:

          I looked at that same sheet, and, as you observed… Interesting! I would be more interested to find out further down why all of the CSV files… Are they voter lists? Are they voters that should be purged? Inquiring minds want to know!

          I saw Pig Missile’s personal email address in one or two, and LOTS of stuff from Jeb Bush’s campaign. Just for giggles, I would think it is illegal to go intermingling campaigns… Or, am I just barking up a tree? BMAZ?

        • GulfCoastPirate says:

          I’m guessing they’re voters to be purged. Weren’t they sending mail to voter’s addresses and if the mail came back to the post office they would challenge the voter if they showed up to vote in that precinct?

  23. JohnJ says:

    I should emphasize that I am not actually criticizing IBM. That’s just the way they are. In the hands of good people, they are a national treasure.

  24. Citizen92 says:

    Elaborating on 74…

    Cheney’s team must use e-mail. It’s impossible not to.

    So is it a coincedence that the White House has still chosen “not to name” the Office of Adminstration’s IT contractor that runs the system? This answer has been pending since May 29, 2007, as revealed in
    “>Waxman’s letter
    (he notes that the briefing covered the contractor but did not identify it).

    Or maybe ‘Cheney’s team used something else in-house. There is a small little DOD-funded “activity” called the White House Communications Agency. WHCA is a joint service military organization, staffed primarily by regular uniformed members, with a sprinkling of senior civilians. WHCA does the secure phones, faxes, emails, “continuity of government,” etc. It also makes the President look “Presidential.” Now knowing Cheney’s predisposition for secrecy as well as respect for organizations that will keep mouths shut, particularly under the aegis of “national security” – maybe they’re using the WHCA grid?

    Might this be a reason why it appears that WHCA has not responded to CREW’s FOIA from May 2007? (They should have responded in under a month). WHCA does respond to FOIA’s.

    According to this recent release from the Archives, WHCA was responsible for (and abiding by, under the Presidential Records Act) backing up various classified systems in use during the Clinton Administration.

    Is WHCA still abiding by the Presidential Records Act under Bush/Cheney like it did under Clinton and Bush Admins?

    • phred says:

      Thanks for the link to Waxman’s letter, which contains the following statement:

      In addition, Mr. Roberts informed the Committee that an unidentified company working
      for the Information Assurance Directorate of the Office of the Chief Information Officer was
      responsible for daily audits of the e-mail system and the e-mail archiving process. Mr. Roberts
      was not able to explain why the daily audits conducted by this contractor failed to detect the
      problems in the archive system when they first began.

      This addresses William Ockham’s concern (#38) that the root cause of the lost emails is incompetence, that in a follow-up comment (#42) he felt could have occurred in infinite ways, although he allows,

      The biggest travesty is that they went wrong without anybody noticing or somebody noticed and nobody did anything.

      So now we know that the unspecified contractor was responsible for daily audits. How then could they have missed the flaky behavior of the backup system? I’m guessing it is no coincidence that Congress has not been told who was responsible for the email audits.

    • MadDog says:

      Been googling to see if I can find out more about just what the WHCA actually does. Still haven’t managed to find out much related to IT-related stuff, but this seems interesting:

      As an assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff, Hagin found a paltry White House communications system when George W. Bush was elected president in 2000. The system’s problems were magnified by events during and after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

      “September 11 highlighted a lot of issues with communications capabilities that existed, and it was apparent we needed to throw away the playbook and start from scratch,” Hagin said. “We looked at the entire spectrum of the president’s communications — secure, nonsecure, voice, data and video. I encouraged people to think big.”

      Hagin put together a team, including experts from the Defense Information Systems Agency, the White House Communications Agency and other departments, to develop what Hagin described as a foolproof system.


      Hagin’s leadership and support from the highest levels in the White House were instrumental in the successful $327 million, five-year effort to upgrade presidential voice, data and video communications systems.

      $327 million is a whole lot of upgrade.

      I’m still gonna search to see if I can find out whether the WHCA provides a “mirrored” offsite backup of WH IT in order to provide “continuity” in case of disaster. This Admin has made much of “continuity of government” stuff since 9/11, so I’d guess that WH IT has got to be part of that.

      If WHCA does provide a “mirrored” offsite backup of WH IT, one would expect that the “missing emails” aren’t really missing at all. Just tucked away behind a inpenetrable DoD secrecy wall, since WHCA is a DoD organization.

      Some high-end corporations have taken “Disaster Recovery” to the nth degree by “mirroring” their IT facilities so that in essence, there is zero downtime in the case of a catastrophic event.

      “Disaster Recovery” for these folks is more like the flip of a switch instead of hours/days/weeks restoring stuff from backups.

      Most of these are financial institutions (Citibank told me they had this), but I remember from 10 or more years ago, AT&T folks telling me that they had such an instantaneous disaster recovery architecture.

      If you’ve ever been to see AT&T’s mulitude of computer centers (like at Piscataway, NJ), it is mucho impressive to see acres and acres of computer stuff. And that they’ve got duplicates in other parts of the country is almost mind-boogling.

      More googling on the way.

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        MadDog wrote:
        ‘$327 million is a whole lot of upgrade’

        I’ll say. It should at least get you an archival/backup system that has some redundancy.

        ‘Some high-end corporations have taken “Disaster Recovery” to the nth degree by “mirroring” their IT facilities so that in essence, there is zero downtime in the case of a catastrophic event.

        “Disaster Recovery” for these folks is more like the flip of a switch instead of hours/days/weeks restoring stuff from backups.’

        This isn’t for high end corporations any longer. I’m doing it now for folks headquartered in Houston that have operations in other states. Less than 150 users total. People were spooked by Katrina and Rita (I was one of those you saw spending 20+ hours on the freeway during Rita – went about 20 miles). AT&T is sold out of space in their datacenter in Dallas so we had to go to one of the centers in Austin not affiliated with the telcos. When I went to look at the place it was like getting into the CIA. You had to give your drivers license, there are special access cards, your card will only work through certain doors, etc. Plans for entry based on biology is supposedly in the works. In these cases domain controller, SQL Servers that run accounting/payroll systems and email server are placed in the datacenter and continuously replicated. If they go down in Houston for a hurricane (or other event)that’s essentailly what you do – flip the switch. Operations in other states never miss a beat and you can fulfill orders from those areas.

        T1 from one state outside Texas to Austin + T1 from Houston to Austin + space at the datacenter for your equipment (1/2 rack – they provide power, Internet access, and techs monitoring their network 24/7) is less than 2500 per month. Think of what you could do with 327 million.

      • Citizen92 says:

        Regarding WHCA, I’d be happy to tell you more. Shall we do e-mail, or do you want to post the questions on the thread.

        • MadDog says:

          If you get a chance, let it fly right here!

          While I’ve read a lot of google descriptions on WHCA, a great deal of it has to do with WH communications rather than the nuts and bolts of typical IT generalized apps stuff like email.

          One caveat to that appears to be that WHCA provides end-to-end support for the National Security Council and its staff for secured email including journaling, backup and disaster recovery.

          I found bits and pieces here and there about WHCA doing the Contingency planning and provisioning for “government continuity”, and in particular, WH continuity which includes both IT data stuff and voice/data communications, so I’d guess there’d be some overlap to the WH Office of Administration’s IT provisioning and WHCA’s.

        • klynn says:

          Have you looked at RFP’s for WH contracts or at Budget information at GAO? Something might pop up through those searches?

        • MadDog says:

          Oh no, not more googling for me. *g*

          I did see that one article about WHCA spending $327 million, starting in 2001 in a five-year effort to upgrade presidential voice, data and video communications systems, but I didn’t chase down who did what to whom.

          I’m probably gonna be sorry ’cause now I want to know. *g*

  25. Mary says:

    While it isn’t related to Plame, what I find interesting, and what makes me disbelieve that we are only talking about people not knowing what they were doing (38) is that we have now heard over and over that the Administration was on edge about torture liabilty and supposedly the CIA IG report began in early 2003. Also that emails until 2003 are not a problem, but that emails beginning in March of 2003 – about the time that the IG investigation supposedly cranked up – begin to be gone.

    • mamayaga says:

      …emails until 2003 are not a problem, but that emails beginning in March of 2003…

      Let’s not forget the other big happening at that time — Bushco’s Original Sin, as it were — the invasion of Iraq. Don’t forget that there was every expectation that in addition to deposing Saddam, we were going to find the WMDs that justified the invasion. The revenge on Joe Wilson was predicated on his knowledgeable argument that they never existed. The growing evidence that there was no evidence probably set off a great deal of panic in the WH as well. Any number of other plots — such as planting “mobile bioweapons labs” in the desert — could have been discussed as well.

  26. JohnLopresti says:

    The Waxman list of ovp accounts lacked RM, the initials on one search. I also tend to agree with one tech who opined the Addington tight parse list may have represented merely coaching for one subset, and the rest of the Venn for the search would be a product of IT smarts replete with wildcards where available. I had forgotten a lot of things, including IBM’s ownership of Notes, though the temperamentalness of Notes is legend compared to the ample functionality within a platform based on a MS suite of apps and utils, though MS remains notorious for undocumented features to add value even if surprise or unpredictable results. I checked MitchKapor’s website but it is a latterday creation whose archive is mostly about his personal projects and passions since Spring2006; and why blame him for the bugs intermixed with the ingenuity which was the creation of that corporately accepted early messaging engine which had been his company’s lead product for a while, Notes. Although in ‘existence’ since the early mid1990s MZM only became approved as a government IT contractor in May2002; in Septemner2002 one month following the mid August 2002 MZM $140.k contract for Cheney’s IT systems and ‘furniture’, the pentagon awarded a noBid contract worth $250.MM to MZM ostensibly extending thru August2006. Crew has a workspace for this matter, which supplies many links, and even in passages is warmly personal about the congresman who went into the pokey for bribe excess following Lam’s prosecutorial efforts. ThinkProgress links to the Cunningham sentencing memo from their workspace cocerning Lam.

    The campaign and congress IT article at epluribus was interesting; I appreciated that link. I had drifted back to some public documentation with dates to draw more parallels, though the copy of the Cunningham sentencing memo was incomplete because of the photocopying process employed for archiving it at a news site; it is 30+pp long and supplies the helpful information that he took delivery of a pair of $40.k rugs as gifts during the time MZM had garnered a $140.k Cheney office contract,p.14 of the sentencing memo discusses the rugs; the court paper is interesting for inclusing of many photos; the Maryland rug seller’s wares arrived at Dukez house Monday May 16, 2005; at the end of this week, Friday thru Sunday were the three days without a PlameWilsonCheneyLibby timeline parallel in the first analysis.

    I also appreciated the crewLinks for CEQ, CEA, and OMB; also on those departments’ information in Waxman’s broadside was the liberal sprinkling of unspoken dates for which those entities had no email saved. Maybe crew will have a whitepaper on the fourth agency he mentioned USTR. Waxman specified date ranges of contiguous days without email for these 4 departments; the sum of all those missing days in the contiguous sets was 250 days without email production to Waxman’s committee; Waxman added that he knew of, but was not identifying, additional isolated dates each of those agencies lacked email production to his committee, in sum 66 such dates which Waxman has not publicly specified.

    • Rayne says:

      Interesting, that MZM contract, yes? Why IT, of all things? And what about Wilkes’ ADCS project ($9.7 million for converting documents in Panama)…what the hell was that all about? Converting what documents?

      But we don’t have anything concrete that links these things to holes in the email. I think it’s more important to keep in mind these two things:

      1) There were other people/entities with access to governmental networks; until it is asked exactly who had access to what parts of the network, and exactly what the network consisted of, we can’t rule out that hidden/obscured entities played a role in the disappearance of email content;

      2) There are other viable alternatives to communications besides the formally documented ones we are looking at, which hide the scope and scale of activity.

      It’s speculative, but we are using a variety of assumptions in this thought exercise; it’d be foolish to ignore contractors that provided IT services, document conversion services, as well as those that had access inside a Congressional firewall if not that of the EOP network.

      sojourner (82) — oops, sorry, my bad about that link, here it is. Have fun with those headers!

    • jdmckay says:

      the court paper is interesting for inclusing of many photos; the Maryland rug seller’s wares arrived at Dukez house Monday May 16, 2005; at the end of this week, Friday thru Sunday were the three days without a PlameWilsonCheneyLibby timeline parallel in the first analysis.

      Nice catch JL.

  27. Citizen92 says:

    And GovTech had some of their clients on their website, until they took them down:…..#038;ID=30

    Winning web sites built by GovTech include:

    Gold Mouse Awards:

    Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas

    Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa.

    Silver Mouse Awards:

    former House Majority Whip Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas

    Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill.

    Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Md.

    Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.

    Bronze Mouse Awards:

    House Committee on Financial Services

    Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C.

    Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla.

    Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb.

    Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M.


    Washington D.C. ? GovTech Solutions has once again demonstrated why it?s the leading industry pioneer in government Web development by delivering the redesigned site for the House of Representatives? Committee on Ways and Means. The site, located, is setting the new standard for congressional government communications.

    Along with the standard features of a GovTech Solutions-built Web site, including an advanced events calendar and a news area functionality, also boasts Subcommittee ?mini-sites? to access complete news and information about the various subcommittees, seamless data transfer integration with the Library of Congress, and automated formatting for the Government Printing Office. Also, there is a robust legislation lookup component so that visitors can search for useful information about past or present items from the House floor.

    • GulfCoastPirate says:

      Thanks for the info. Does anyone know what happened when the Democrats took over? Was the software allegedly uninstalled?

      Why did they have their websites behind the firewall and not in some type of DMZ (assuming this is why they installed web development software behind the firewall)?

      And did someone ask where Cheney may have had a ’secret’ email setup? I’m sure there are any number of small email programs that could have been secretly installed along with the database and web development software. You don’t need a full blown Exchange system to send/receive email.

  28. Mary says:

    86 – that too.

    81 – I’m guessing it is no coincidence that Congress has not been told who was responsible for the email audits. trifecta

    91 and Goss and Wilson on the Intel Committee no less.

  29. FlyoverCountryFodder says:

    > ncluding IBM’s ownership of Notes, though the temperamentalness
    > of Notes is legend compared to the ample functionality
    > within a platform based on a MS suite of apps and utils,

    To answer a few questions on Notes and the transition from Notes to Microsoft products:

    1) Lotus Notes had remote and detached communication capability that was unique to any e-mail system ever developed. Later this capability was rendered unnecessary by the widespread availability of the Internet, but in the days of dial-up modems (particularly dial-up connections to international locations) it was the only game in town (and still is for those who support users in such locations, which may well be the case in the Executive Office).

    2) In its day Notes was really the only enterprise-class PC-based messaging system on the market. Microsoft Mail (later Microsoft Exchange) was a baby-sized one-site system at a time when Notes was supporting 1000-site networks.

    3) Notes is the only system I am aware of on the civilian market that can, in theory, be set up so that its contents are secure from its own administrators without hindering any administrative functions. IIRC this is why the Marines and the NSA originally selected Notes. I guess a this point the USG has just decided to accept Microsoft insecurity for its systems.

    4) IBM sells whatever they can sell; primarily services but whatever is going. They were for many years Microsoft’s largest reseller. You want to convert from Notes to Exchange? IBM might try to talk you out of it, but if that doesn’t work they are right there to sell you the conversion project no problemo.


    • emptywheel says:

      3) Notes is the only system I am aware of on the civilian market that can, in theory, be set up so that its contents are secure from its own administrators without hindering any administrative functions. IIRC this is why the Marines and the NSA originally selected Notes. I guess a this point the USG has just decided to accept Microsoft insecurity for its systems.

      Can you say more about this?

  30. FlyoverCountryFodder says:

    > Fitzgerald has that email, and it opens the doors

    Fitzgerald is done, finished, and over with. There will never be any more investigation or prosecution. We can each have our own theory of why that is so, but it is time to start moving toward the Acceptance phase.


    • bmaz says:

      Man, you are awfully knowledgeable about the criminal investigative process in addition to your stated conclusive expertise in all things techie. Very impressive. And you base your resolute conclusion in regards to the OSC on what exactly?

  31. MadDog says:

    I been hesitant to post on this thread all day for fear of seemingly dissing our esteemed hostess.

    I’ve been torn between a similar opinion to that WilliamOckham’s and my appreciation for EW’s almost miraculous ability to sniff out what us lessor mortals cannot even sense.

    After reading all of the excellent comments in this post, I find myself beginning, just beginning to grant the possibility that nefarious doings may, I repeat, may underlie “The Case of the Missing White House Emails.”

    My rationale for previously dismissing underhandedness was:

    1. A tinfoil-like tendency on my part (and others who shall remain nameless *g*) toward’s suspiciousness of all that is wrong with the world must be the fault of Junya and crew. We all like a good conspiracy, but puleeeeeze!

    2. Zero credible or otherwise evidence that somebody must’ve done something to deliberately cause the WH email losses.

    3. Occam’s Razor. The simplest explanation is the most likely explanation. Small “mom and pop” IT shops (like the WH) have the very same problems that large IT shops have. Large IT shops just have the money and resources to solve these problems, while small “mom and pop” IT shops don’t and generally just have to suffer them in the poverty that is the poor’s lot in life.

    However, having read the comments of Rayne, Citize92, JohnLopresti, sojourner, FlyoverCountryFodder and others, I find that some of that “zero credible evidence” is now disappearing like fog on a hot summer’s day.

    These facts include, as Rayne commented:

    We still don’t know, either, how far certain GOP-operatives and IT “solution providers” SmarTech and GovTech reached into the EOP network. We already know they were well past Congress’ firewall. The services they provided may have included email for Rove on behalf of the RNC.

    So now that I’m granting the possibility of weasel-like WH IT technocrats of Repug origin, scurrying around the bowels of the WH Data Center, using their Admin privilegs to delete backup jobs, journaling and archiving of emails and other electronic documents per the orders of “The One Who Rules”, a couple questions come to mind:

    1. Did or does Team Fitzgerald themselves have a suspicion that dirty email deeds were done?

    2. Is “The Case of the Missing White House Emails.” part of the “cloud over the Office of the Vice President” that Fitzgerald lamented? While Fitz is known for his exceedingly dry wit, I believe he gets less credit for his subtlety which is just as real.

    3. Does Congress have a clue? Do folks like Waxman believe that behind the WH smoke and mirrors lies real Repug machinery intent on subverting all that Law demands?

    Hotwheelers want to know!

    • Rayne says:

      3. Does Congress have a clue? Do folks like Waxman believe that behind the WH smoke and mirrors lies real Repug machinery intent on subverting all that Law demands?

      Waxman’s office received information tipping them to look at some of the items we’ve been discussing — quite a while ago, too. Some of what we see shaking out could be due to that information, although we may never know, and the pace is so glacial that it’s hard to detect cause-effect.

      I think it’s also important to remember we have company; they know what we know whenever we discuss it. And I’m sure this also weighs on action taken.

      • phred says:

        I’ve been thinking a bit about the glacial pace. It occurs to me that there may be method to Waxman’s madness. We already know that Bush will at least commute (if not outright pardon) members of the Executive Branch that are convicted in a court of law. If there is a smoking gun and if sufficient evidence can be amassed to warrant an indictment of any other members of this administration, then it is in the best interest of justice to hold off on those indictments until after the end of Bush’s term. I wonder if I were Rove, whether I would be wishing I had been prosecuted at the same time as Libby as I contemplate what the future might bring…

        • bmaz says:

          I dunno Phred. First off, it is my observation that Congressional Committees usually are kind of oblivious to criminal prosecution concerns. Secondly, and more importantly, the statute of limitations for both perjury and obstruction is the general limitations statute of 5 years. Waiting to 2009 to try and prosecute would be a fool’s tactic.

        • phred says:

          That’s the problem with not being a lawyer, I forget little things like statutes of limitations ; ) Pity that the clock doesn’t start ticking at the end of the obstruction. It seems to me a good case can be made that the obstruction is ongoing with the endless refusals to turn over documents and permit testimony such that the start of the statute of limitations clock should be January 20, 2009.

        • bmaz says:

          Arguably it could be under a conspiracy formulation of the charge; as to the the root crime of either perjury or obstruction itself though, the statute would run from the time of the overt act.

          Sojourner @113 – No clue; I am not aware of anything prohibiting campaigns from sharing information, but I really have no idea.

          EW @117 – Irrespective of whether there was or was not unintentional (whether it be operator error, malfunction, incompetence etc.), I would be far beyond shocked if most all were not intentional; which i think is what you are saying.

        • bmaz says:

          No thanks ever necessary for me; heh, on these types of threads I am just happy to find something to contribute because I got nuthin on the tech side. I should add that just because it may still be possible under a conspiracy formulation, that doesn’t mean it would be easy. Bootstrapping like that gives all kinds of defense opportunities for a good lawyer.

        • Loo Hoo. says:

          I keep wondering about that too. Is impeachment off the table so the criminals cannot be pardoned? Is the case being built as evidence comes in, but being kept quiet?

          Can Bush pardon people who have not been indicted or convicted? I don’t understand what a blanket pardon means. Can people be pardoned before being charged?

        • bmaz says:

          LooHoo – Nope. See 109, 118 and 122 above; and it is cases where impeachment is charged and convicted that there can be no pardon, so that is not it.

        • BillE says:

          bmaz – Didn’t Jimmy Carter blanket pardon the Vietnam war draft dodgers. I don’t know if the were all actually charged with something to be pardoned for ( this is another thing that totally pissed off the right wing, they love to kill our kids but screw em if the object. )

    • emptywheel says:

      2. Is “The Case of the Missing White House Emails.” part of the “cloud over the Office of the Vice President” that Fitzgerald lamented? While Fitz is known for his exceedingly dry wit, I believe he gets less credit for his subtlety which is just as real.

      I feel VERY confident in saying that the Cloud over the VP consists of two things: 1) an overwhelming abundance of circumstantial evidence that Cheney ordered Libby to leak Valerie Wilson’s identity, with the intent that Judy would launder it through the NYT for him. 2) an equally overwhelming chunk of evidence that Libby and Cheney conspired to obstruct this investigation in several ways.

      That is why I say here (which WO and you seem not to take seriously), that I believe it is possible that this was not intentional. But understand that the email exists in a universe that makes it completely feasible that the email destruction was intentional.

      3. Does Congress have a clue? Do folks like Waxman believe that behind the WH smoke and mirrors lies real Repug machinery intent on subverting all that Law demands?

      Yes. I do believe that Waxman believes that the emails are a smoking gun, if he can figure out how to take it apart and see how it was shot.

      I have several reasons–just hints, but sound ones–to believe this is real. Again, I thikn it possible that this was not intentional. This post is an effort to figure out what the real proximate influences are (rather than the scattershot inexactitude that seems to be proliferating on this issue) in case it was intentional and tied to Plame.

      • MadDog says:

        That is why I say here (which WO and you seem not to take seriously), that I believe it is possible that this was not intentional. But understand that the email exists in a universe that makes it completely feasible that the email destruction was intentional.

        If I didn’t previously (debatable *g*), I do so now.

        I have several reasons–just hints, but sound ones–to believe this is real.

        With bells on our toes, we will impatiently await your delivery. All good things are worth waiting for.

      • sojourner says:

        “I have several reasons–just hints, but sound ones–to believe this is real.”

        I am confused… What is “this”? Ineptitude or Intentional Destruction?

        This thread has been a wonderful way to spend a holiday I say that in all seriousness! No worries about who could be reading what I write at work…

  32. bmaz says:

    Pretty interesting article here:

    IP addresses, a string of numbers that identifies a computer, should generally be regarded as personal information, the head of the European Union’s group of data privacy regulators said Monday.

    His view differs from Google which insists that an IP address merely identifies the location of a computer, not who the individual user is – something strictly true but which does not recognize that many people regularly use the same computer terminal and IP address.

    Contains other interesting stuff too.

  33. TheraP says:

    Doesn’t it seem logical that if the IT problems and the missing email were simply a result of botching everything up over and over, that these folks would supply some information to that effect, would trot out people ready to fall on their swords, etc?

    I’m searching for a way to formulate this as a scientific question, so that you could test it. In science you formulate what is called the null hypothesis – which means you try to disprove your theory, rather than prove your theory.

    So, we’re either looking to disprove “incompetence” or disprove “venality.” Of course it could be a mixture of both. But why have these folks not explained the “lost emails” – unless they’re hiding something?

    Given the amount of stuff these folks have lied about and all the wrong-doing, both hidden and in plain view, it’s going to be awfully hard to disprove venality. And given the characters we’re working with, I think we’re stuck believing that nefarious deeds have occurred, even if we don’t have the “evidence” of the deeds. But where is the evidence of virtue? I just don’t see it!

    On second thought, I’m not sure you could disprove incompetence. It’s like the problem of proving a negative, I think. (though my brain is fried at the moment) So, maybe go with disproving that the emails are gone for good. That’s not in our power to do, of course, at least not at the moment.

    By why in tarnation are they not trotting out the poor techies who were playing darts instead of doing daily email audits? Bring me the idiots – or I’m not prepared to believe it’s incompetence!

    • Rayne says:

      By why in tarnation are they not trotting out the poor techies who were playing darts instead of doing daily email audits? Bring me the idiots – or I’m not prepared to believe it’s incompetence!

      That point right there suggests to me that there is intent here, not just incompetence. Perhaps an incompetent system was used for malignant ends, but there was not incompetence in IT service. Else there would be a company and techs served up as sacrificial lambs, being nothing more than fungibles. The company would be bought off somehow for its sacrifice, the people maligned (like that alleged anthrax conspirer, Hatfill) and used as a tool for redirection.

      The absence of such an approach tells me that there are techs who would likely squeal if they were put on the stand — or might already have done so, behind closed doors, without knowledge of the public.

      Another dog, not barking; there are so many of them. Even the RNC hasn’t produced a barking dog for us in regards to their own missing emails; you’d think that a good and loyal IT service provider/operative like Connell would have done a full-blown mea culpa, mea culpa right now, with the understanding he’d be awarded all kinds of contracts for his loyal servitude.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        This whole email mess has some analogies to earlier BushCheney activities:

        1. BushCheney set up a rogue subsection within DoD to stovepipe intel (see: Office of Special Plans).
        2. They also set up a rogue subsection in DoS (to undercut Powell).
        3. They funded RNC servers to get around public disclosure requirements, including going so far as to house state election records on private servers (see: Ohio 2004 election).

        They have shown a capacity, and a talent, for setting up ‘rogue’ or ‘parallel’ systems that are functional and subvert public systems. It seems quite likely theyfollowed that pattern with email systems as well.

        Consider the amounts of money spent, listed simply from links on this thread alone:
        1. Mitchell Wade/MZM had a $250 million dollar contract (courtesy of the Dukestir) to work on ‘technology’, not sure where — their earler contract had been specifically to set up computers for Cheney. (And Dusty Foggo was a buddy of Wade, so how does the CIA tie in…?)

        2. Mad Dogs at 100 notes a $327 Million contract to another entity to provide ‘upgraded email, data, voice, and video’ for the WH. There was plenty of money to set up a parallel communication structureand avoid traditional public records and records mangement functions.

        So far, it appears that as much as $577 million was spent on communications related to WH functions, and there are emails missing…? not possible.

        As foro a question about federal archivists — the Librarian of Congress is apointed by the Pres. But NARA (Nat’l Archives and Records Admin) has archivists – civil servants who are federal employees. The individual who will testify before Waxman is almost certainly a civil servant.

        ** FWIW, I’ve spent some time doing research in US National Archives and hold that arm of government in the highest regard. Unlike librarians, who operate under fairly well-agreed upon guidelines and procedures, archivists have a lot more latitude with respect to what they decide to admit into their acquisitions, and how they organize, identify, describe, and structure of any specific collection. I suspect that they are ‘born, not made’. It’s an unusual skillset.

        Shorter: archives are funkier than libraries — an increasingly valued for a multitude of reasons (including genetics research).

        • Rayne says:

          Very nice overview.

          There are other nits-nats that we haven’t looked at either, like the cellphone antenna system installed in Congress by a firm for which Abramoff lobbied, that is also alleged to have installed a secure T1 line into the White House. We have nothing that links this to the missing emails problem, but if the possibility exists for a company owned by foreign agents to install technical equipment in Congress and possibly in the White House, there are still other potential security breaches through which emails could be disappeared.

          I would not give the Archives too much credence as yet; remember that the National Archivist was replaced in a manner not dissimilar to the replacement of U.S. Attorneys. Why replace the Archivist? (should check the timing on the departure, too…)

          jodi (216) — is very easy to use and free, too. If you don’t like the kind of conversation going on here, why don’t you start your own damned blog. Or are we getting too close for your handlers’ comfort? That’s what I think every time you demand we stop.

    • pdaly says:

      In order for the EOP/OVP to benefit from missing archives and backup tapes any erasure or non-journalling of the pertinent email (pertinent vis a vis subpoenas that the Bush Administration would not have perfect precognition about) would have to occur to those emails in real time and/or after the fact.

      One way to test whether archives are being disappeared or tapered with retroactively would be to request a repeat email search using the exact same search terms. Then compare the results.

      If archives were tampered with each time a subpoena hit the White House, maybe new holes appeared in the email archives which didn’t exist when an older subpoena was responded to.

      Of course, someone outside the WH would have to perform the search on the secured archives, else the result could be explained away by offsite archives filling in the missing emails as needed.

      I still like the idea of hauling in the IT people to get at the answers faster.

      This is way off topic, but I have always wanted to ask whether the presidential bunker has always lacked a closed circuit video monitor with the Situation Room? Does it have one now? Did it have one before 9/11?

      According to Richard Clarke, during 9/11/01 Lynne Cheney kept turning up the volume on the TV in the bunker to watch CNN or Fox, and VP Cheney (I believe) kept hanging up the phone connection to the WH Situation Room while Richard Clarke, in the Situation Room, tried to coordinate, despite these irritations, the WH and the Pentagon responses.

      It reminds me of the missing emails. By design or by incompetence, Cheney ensured no one except those present in the bunker, (essentially the WHIG group), was privy to the Presidential bunker conversations when the phone repeatedly went dead. Does the Situation Room record all incoming video/voice for presidential records?

  34. FlyoverCountryFodder says:

    —– Can you say more about this? ——

    Unfortunately it has been six years now since I set up a Notes system, and my memory grows dim. At one time I had a 6-volume set in the IBM Redbook series on Notes security planning and implementation; if it is important I can look to see if that is still available.

    Here’s a funny tidbit though: IBM to provide Lotus Notes Encryption Key to U.S. Government.


    • sojourner says:

      Just FYI, many of the redbooks are available now online. I don’t know if that applies directly to Lotus Notes or not, but I run across them quite frequently when I am doing research.

      • jdmckay says:

        Just FYI, many of the redbooks are available now online. I don’t know if that applies directly to Lotus Notes or not, but I run across them quite frequently when I am doing research.

        I perused some of ‘em last nite, go again this evening. For any techies interested they are here (about midstream through era of ARMS setup at that link).

  35. bmaz says:

    MadDog – Joe Hagin is a nasty piece of work that is most often below the radar. Before joining the Bush Administration, he was a key top executive at Chiquita and is tied to the hip of Rod Hills (Chertoff’s bff and former law partner) and the rest of the cesspool there. Hagin was also the firewall that many identify as the firewall that kept Bush so clueless for so long on Katrina as people drowned and New Orleans died.

      • jdmckay says:

        And btw, can any of you legal eagles here read and then give us all a brief synopsis of this: “Preserving the U.S. Government’s White House Electronic Mail: Archival Challenges and Policy Implications”

        Yes I am. I’ll post a) whatever hasn’t yet been said and b) is pertinent here when I get my head around it (and the other stuff I mention below).

        Also motivated by WO’s findings re: time frame usage of ARMS & NOTES I’m perusing bunch of stuff on that as well. On the latter, there’s a pretty good overview of Clinton’s ARMS implementation, the “whistleblowers” and their complaints… bunch of other stuff as well (some pertinent to dicussion here, some not). Also Dan Burton’s hearings into all this… stuff I never paid attention to back then. It’s starting to become relevant, at least to me.

        One thing that I’m struck by… from beginning of W’s reign, but especially after 9/11, there were a number of particular events which, when 1st crossing my awareness, left me with that “something’s wrong here” sense: couldn’t say exactly what was coming, but something’s wrong. I’ve come to understand that, to coin EW’s usage “Universe of Ideas” (UI), these guys UIs were so audaciously beyond any actions I could myself conceptualize, their goals & intent just didn’t register w/me. “Something’s wrong”, but I don’t know what.

        Announcement of GITMO was one (why such an isolated facility?), threatening 9/11 NJ air craft controllers if they spoke publicly another, shadow gov… many many of these.

        In reading accounts of various ARMS whistleblowers, their complaints, and in some cases civil actions, I’m finding myself filling in the “unkown part” of “something’s wrong here” WRT W’s Patriot Act stripping whistle-blower protections… in many cases criminalizing ‘em. In observing W’s WH firewall of secrecy at work these recent years ARMS complaints as mentioned, I’m left wwith strong impression that going forward from 9/11 it was understood amongst W’s intimates what was before them. Among other things, using TT pretext for invading Iraq (and probably Iran) & probably all the other CPA (Bremmer) no-bid contracts/pallats of freshly printed cash etc.

        I always thought of PA’s whistle-blower-exclusions (call it WBE) as just another strong arm ‘winger tactic to keep the underlings in line. As I read this now, I’m beginning to think it was bigger: eg. foreknowledge of major illegalities they planned, with the WBE part of enforceable legal framework to hold the charade together.

        I’ve read enough of the ARMS “whistleblower” actions along w/Burton’s hearings to see the fruits of these proceedings generally: eg. a lot of the chaff of false accusations shaken out, dubious Clinton admin decisions to hide stuff, and a lot of technical faux pas.

        With W’s WBE in place, not only is this not possible but to “whistle blow” can really hurt ‘ya (ask the Wilsons).

        I don’t know, sometimes my thoughts in reaction to these *#&#ers make me pause for sanity checks…

        Anyway, like I said, if WO or (???) hasn’t covered it by time I’m literate on this stuff I’ll do my best to elucidate.

        • TheraP says:

          I’m not hearing “sanity” issues. To reassure you, people who go off the deep end that way stop interacting with others, stop questioning themselves and stop working within groups where questioning goes on. This thread is a perfect example of a group that is “open” and questioning and not humoring or harboring insanity.

          Yet, I think we all feel a bit “nuts” when we finally realize the extent and intent of the criminal wrongdoing here. It’s staggering to realize that this has occurred in a supposedly free and open society. Horrifying actually. Scary stuff. (and while a sense of horror and being scared goes along with a first psychotic break, I’m just not seeing a psychotic group here… that’s a huge stretch and definitely would not fit with Occam’s Razor thinking!)

  36. Jeff says:

    New article out from the Post. As far as I can see, it’s more a roundup than a newsbreaker, and it 1)hammers home the point that the Bush administration dropped the ARMS system and simply didn’t replace it, rejecting two different proposed replacements; and 2)observes that basically there is no enforcement mechanism for the presidential records statute, as distinct from the federal records laws:

    The White House’s record-keeping problems have thrown new attention on a gap in statutory language covering the retention of presidential records.

    ”If it is a presidential record, then it does need to be retained. It doesn’t matter what the format is — e-mails can be records,” said Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman for the National Archives and Records Administration. But the agency has no power to intervene if an administration is not preserving presidential records, inadvertently or not, Cooper said.

    The law governing nonpresidential federal records is stronger. The National Archives can demand an explanation from any federal agency that it suspects is mishandling records, and it can request a Justice Department probe. Private parties can sue to force compliance with federal records laws, but not the presidential-records statute.

    • bmaz says:

      Jeff – this, as always, is pretty much off the top of my head, but I think the line “…the agency has no power to intervene if an administration is not preserving presidential records, inadvertently or not, Cooper said.” is wrong. They could seek injunctive relief against the Administration to force compliance in spite of the fact that there may not be a criminal penalty.

      BillE @133 – Yes Carter did just that. There has to be a cognizable crime being pardoned though, so no blanket pardons of future crimes as far as I know.

      Mad Dog – off to read now

      • Jeff says:

        Could be, I defer to you on that.

        I’ll add the article also identifies White House special counsel Emmet T. Flood as the person who briefed Waxman’s committee on the emails and the study. Not sure that was known before this.

        • bmaz says:

          Back for a minute (MadDog’s article is long)

          Jeff – I don’t say that with a ton of conviction; could easily be something I don’t know or am forgetting, but you would sure think they could. So don’t allot much deference….

        • emptywheel says:

          I actually think that’s not right, or not entirely. Waxman’s report clearly identifies Flood as one of the people who briefed him. But he was also briefed by Keith Roberts, then (not sure if he still is) General Counsel of Office of Administration. Roberts was the one who did the email search on OVP’s computers (and so, presumably, also on WH’s computers).

        • Jeff says:

          That’s right, I recall you pointed to both of them at some point. Did Robert do it because he had done the searching earlier, or just because of his then-current position?

  37. TheraP says:

    As the world financial markets sink ever faster and deeper, the loyal sleuths in the cause of right continue their dogged course, examining breadcrumbs, parsing documents, arguing the pros and cons, but never giving up. Will the email thieves be found and punished? Tune in for the next episode of EW’s intrepid merry band. (music of some old detective show)

  38. JodiDog says:

    Well, I realize that some are just coming on board the giant email conspiracy, well officially anyway.

    May I remind you that a whole lot more credence might be given to what is being postulated if there were a few emails, or copies of same, in digital or hard copy form that could be easily shown to really, really exist while there is NO Record of them on all the computer systems.

    Especially convincing they would be if they were in someway evidence of wrong doing.

    No one has presented any real smoking gun, hot bullet or even a muzzle flash, or even a faint puff of smoke.

    You seem to be basing your conclusions on an ABSENCE OF PROOF.

    i.e. there are none, so it must be a conspiracy and they are all hidden or destroyed by the blackhearts!

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      There you go. Hope it helps Jodidog. Sometime wonder, though.

      On that note, good night to all the supersleuths. And to all the lurkers. And to Jodidog. Are you enjoying your treadmill?

      • JodiDog says:

        : )

        The treadmill was a present to me from me. I worried that I spent too much on it, but it was a foolish worry. I can watch the news, a game, or a recorded program (tonight, the “Sarah Connor Chronicles”) on it, listen to music, listen to phone calls, make verbal recorded notes, even jot stuff down, or just watch the countryside go by.

        If only I could type and use a mouse while on it.

    • JodiDog says:


      you are referring to the Washington Post article:

      “White House Has No Comprehensive E-Mail Archive”

      which speaks about how bad the email system of the White House is.

      Ok, fine. They are inept. That was proven about 4 weeks after we started the war in Iraq. They are incompetent.

      However that doesn’t give any indication that the email debacle has something to do with hiding a smoking gun concerning the Plame affair, or any other criminal act which is the question raised in this thread.

      “Plame Investigation and Missing Emails: Analysis on Emails”
      By: emptywheel Monday January 21, 2008 7:58 am

      That is my point.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        They are incompetent in many respects, and they are in over their heads.
        Nevertheless, they have repeatedly used ‘incompetence’ as the veil for their actions.

        Incompetence produces a different pattern than what we see here.
        In contrast, the evidence organized by EW, and by CREW, and by TPM show patterns of organized behavior.
        Repeatedly, in response to requests that threaten to expose their actions, they either ‘forget’ or are ‘unable’ to locate critical information. The persistence of these ‘coincidences’ over a prolonged period of time is not mere ‘incompetence’ – it is a pattern of avoidance, hiding behind the guise of ‘incompetence’.

        Whether by guile, or by incompetence, their actions have the same result: they are illegal. Whether they intended to be illegal, or whether they simply stumbled into it, is for novelists and philosophers to fret about.

        Bottom line: no matter the cause, their actions are illegal.

  39. melior says:

    There is clear indication that OVP, at least, attempted to shield conversations with journalists…

    Emails external to the WH could, of course, potentially be recovered from the other side. Acquiring even a single one of the ”missing” emails in this way could at least shut down Tony ”What Email?” Fratto’s latest dodge.

  40. bmaz says:

    Wowzer. Some thoughts on the article MadDog linked at 131 above, “Preserving the U.S. Government’s White House Electronic Mail: Archival Challenges and Policy Implications”:

    1) This is an absolutely fascinating, if not short, background summary of the early problems, manifested during the Clinton Administration, of the very legal and technical problems and arguments we are discussing here. You need not be a techie or legal eagle to read and understand it. If you are not familiar with this background (i.e. Armstrong v. Executive Office of the President), I highly recommend you read it; this line of litigation is critical to this discussion.

    2) The decisions entered by the DC District Court and DC Court of Appeals are crystal clear on these issues. In light of said series of decisions, there is simply no way that the actions of the Bush Administration are anything but intentional bad faith. And stunningly so.

    3) The main plaintiffs in the Armstrong litigation, Scott Armstrong and The National Security Archive, are still at this battle in a big way and are currently consolidated as plaintiffs with CREW. They know what they are doing here without any question. The better question is how and why the court has not gone ballistic against the Administration after the initiation of the current litigation; the prior decisions are very clear. I am going to hazard a guess that the shift in the makeup of the DC courts, with the influx of Federalist types is having an effect. EW needs to talk to Armstrong if she has not already.

    4) Sure would like to see these guys make a run at attaching Addington for a depo. It would literally cause Cheney’s head to explode just seeking it.

    5) If the Administration does not have this waxed by friendly Federalist judges, and the facts and prior decisions are honored and followed, the Administration is up shit creek without even a toothpick for a paddle.

    • MadDog says:

      I thought that article was boffo too!

      Sort of a primer for the lay of the land regarding this Administration’s poor, lost, lil’ emails, and the judical remonstrating that could possibly await them.

  41. pdaly says:

    bmaz, I have to head to sleep, but that is good news. It will make the crashing marketplace that much easier to take.

  42. bobschacht says:

    Tin foil hat time:

    I just came across an old Bill Moyers show, aired originally on PBS in 1987, with the title “The Secret Government: A Constitution in Crisis”. Originally written in the shadow of Iran-Contra, it has striking relevance today. It is available on the Internet in two poor quality videos at The end of the second video refers to George Bush as President, and the NSA– probably referring to “41″ rather than the current president #”43″.

    It apparently resulted in a book, The Secret Government : The Constitution in Crisis : With Excerpts from an Essay on Watergate by Bill D. Moyers, Henry Steele Commager . ISBN: 0932020844

    Moyers’ final comments are eerie in today’s contexts– who is actually in charge of our government, and how could we tell?

    The Church Committee findings need to be revisited and carried forward!

    Bob in HI

  43. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    The coincidental timings are simply too strange to be plausible – statistics are full of odd patterns, and things that seem to be unusual are often simply abberations. So I recognize that the fact some emails are missing does not automatically mean that someone ‘disappeared’ them intentionally.

    However, the PATTERN of disappearing emails over a long period of time is simply too suspicious to be plausible. The problems reported by the WH and OVP are too frequent, too tightly correlated to key Plame events, and too clustered to be simply random events. (The PATTERN and frequency of missing WH and OVP emails would equate to enough missing orders, or enough missing classware modules, than an online business or service would not be able to remain in business if they encountered problems of this severity.)

    – May 2002, Mitchell Wade’s MZM gets $140k to put IT into Cheney’s office; by Aug 2002 they receive $250 million from the Pentagon…? (If JohnLopresti swings by, could he leave the links to confirm that info…?) MZM and Mitchell Wade were later linked to the USAG firing of Carol Lam. MZM and Wade were also linked to the man that Porter Goss promoted to CIA’s #3 – Dusty Foggo. This seems relevant in pointing to the probablilty that Cheney’s office oversaw the creation of a privitized IT setup well before the leadup to war.
    (There was no way in hell BushCheney were going to allow any of their dealings leading up to Iraq into public records that would fall into the hands of the US National Archives. They must have implemented contracts for OVP and WH ’special IT services’ as a preliminary step to their war plans against Iraq (and Iran). And if JohnLopresti can confirm a figure of $250 million for IT expenses, then it’s a no brainer that not one single email should have been missing from the WH.)

    – Emails go missing within a week following the WaPo’s Sept 28, 2003 1×2×6 article in which it was quite clear that the WH tried to ‘payback’ Joe Wilson

    – Missing emails follow Gonzo’s Sept 20, 2003 statement that a Plame investigation was underway (missing OVP for Oct 1-3, 5)

    – Emails go missing the same week in Oct 2003 that GWBush offers a lame, bizarre response to WaPo’s Dana Priest:…..007-2.html

    Mr. President, beyond the actual leak of classified information, there are reports that someone in the administration was trying to — after it was already out — actively spread the story, even calling Ambassador Wilson’s wife “fair game.” Are you asking your staff is anyone did that? And would it be wrong or even a fire-able offense if that happened?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, the investigators will ask our staff about what people did or did not do. This is a town of — where a lot of people leak. And I’ve constantly expressed my displeasure with leaks, particularly leaks of classified information. And I want to know, I want to know the truth. I want to see to it that the truth prevail. And I hope we can get this investigation done in a thorough way, as quickly as possible.

    But the Justice Department will conduct this investigation. …
    This was the Justice Department under John Ashcroft, who could keep an eye on the DoJ and FBI progress on this investigation.

    ### ERRATA: in the larger context, it’s worth noting (for Rayne) Oct 23, 2003 Russian oiligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested at Novosibirsk airport by the Russian prosecutor general’s office on charges of fraud. (He’d met with GWHBush a day or so earlier to discuss selling Russian oil to American oil majors; KGB must have been listening in on the conversation.)

    – then again Dec 17, 20, 21. In the background, Putin was gaining control of Russian resources, Iraq was starting to unravel, and Bush may well have thought the Plame investigation would have been rolled up by the end of 2003 (”I hope we can get this investigation done… as quickly as possible…”

    Even without going into 2004 or 2005, simply looking at the 2003 missing emails is damning.

    Contracts for millions of dollars were spent to set up IT services for the WH.
    No Congressional oversight is evident.
    It’s worth noting that those contracts were given to people later indicted – and somehow linked to both the USAG firings, as well as to the CIA (and Porter Goss).

    Apart from the technnical server-side issues, if you simply look at this timeline from a USABILITY perspective, it’s simply not plausible that this pattern of missing emails is a random event.

    I’m becoming fond of my tin foil hat these days; never expected to wear one, but circumstances seem to require it.

    • TheraP says:

      ROTL: Yes, I agree. It’s the pattern over time that results in highly suspicious coincidences, which, if we had a statistical analysis, would tell us to what degree this is unusual and therefore significant.

      We are dealing with a significance level. And I bet it’s greater than 95% likelihood that the confluence of events, their interconnection with “missing emails” and in a time line with each other tells us that this is not random chance. Chance would be 50/50. Only. And we’re well beyond that.

      Just as there’s no need for a statistical analysis to tell us troll activity coincides with certain topics and lines of inquiry, simply eyeballing the data as is being done here is sufficient to know we’re on the right track. We may be missing vital information, to be sure, but we’re on the right track.

      • MadDog says:

        Yes, I agree. It’s the pattern over time that results in highly suspicious coincidences, which, if we had a statistical analysis, would tell us to what degree this is unusual and therefore significant.

        And coincidence should never, ever be the first choice with this Administration.

        • MadDog says:

          Here’s another example of that. Harriet Miers proposed for the Supreme Court!

          As I was trying to get to sleep last night, I was thinking about how the talent and intellects of this Administration seem to eventually work themselves down to Junya’s level.

          Ashcroft goes, replace him with intellectual pygmy Fredo.
          Supreme Court Justice dies, replace him with Harriet “Dreamy Eyes” Miers.
          Colin Powell resigns, so replace him with Condi “Who Knew?” Rice.

          And look how far down the Presidential Spokeperson has gone. First was Ari who had a few brains, then replaced by dumb as a stump Scottie McClellan, and when Scottie burns out, along comes Miss Clueless herself, Dana “Pig Missile” Perino.

          I think that Junya ends up being most happy when his toadies have IQs in the room temperature range just like his.

          For a man whose understanding of adult life must’ve come from comic books, he’s gradually surrounded himself with his equals.

        • TheraP says:

          And my speculation about that is that you have an ever-shrinking number of “players” and given all that’s being “held in secret” you can hardly go outside the ever-shrinking group. Thus you replace one competent person with a “pawn” and so on down the line.

          There is no shortage of incompetence, but the pawns don’t pull the levers.

    • JohnLopresti says:

      Sorry, RoTL, The $250.MM figure is from the crew sites’s DukeCPage.

      Also, I appreciate the WaPo link, though it looks like they are reading ew and adding some insider info about WH backups or nonBackups.

      The Wallace presentation at the 1998 DELOS conference also was an interesting retrospective of two principals in Iran-Contra having deleted 1,000 emails a long time ago from the profs system. I have yet to relocate Wallace; perhaps he returned from the year teaching in WaDC to resume the lecturer-3 post at UM in 2005. The 1998 era was one in which a lot of thinking was going into Y2K planning. Best practices theory was receiving a lot of attention since global organiztions were going to plough thru the old cobol code for y2k, might as well reshape it for a utilitarian future; and 9-2001 solidified a lot of that sense of failsafe architecture.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Thanks for the resource link — amazing to read about Wilkes/Wade pulling down contracts for $250 million, only several months after obtaining a $140,000 contract for ‘computers for Cheney’s office’. Strange.

        jdmckay @ 191, seems like you are on to some good background/legal info.

  44. phred says:

    MadDog — if you check back in here, I have a question about mirroring… I know our backups at work are performed once a day (at night). So if I create a file and delete it the same day, it will not appear on the backup. Does mirroring instantaneously duplicate my work on another machine (hence a constant update as opposed to once a day) and if so, wouldn’t it also delete the file from the mirror at the same time I did on my machine? If the last is true, then I’m not sure how mirroring preserves deleted files.

      • phred says:

        Not yet, saw it this morning, but probably won’t get a chance to read it until tonight. Thanks for the additional links, I’ll read through all of this a bit later. Also intrigued by klynn’s find that the UK has similar problems…

    • GulfCoastPirate says:

      Not MadDog but you are correct. Mirroring would not preserve the files.

      The most common type of mirroring is on a set of hard drives set up as RAID 1. Simply, I have two hard drives, one of which is an exact duplicate of the other. Let’s call them ‘a’ and ‘b’. If ‘a’ goes down for any reason then ‘b’ takes over and the system notifies you there is a problem. This gives you a chance to take the system down at a controlled time to fix the problem with ‘a’. They are exact duplicates of each other. If you add or delete on ‘a’ the system makes the exact same changes on ‘b’.

    • MadDog says:


      My use of the term “mirroring” is somewhat offhand. To better describe what some of these high-end organizations do, one who’d have to be a wee bit more specific.

      In the case of Citibank for example (which was over 10 years ago), every single transaction was sent to and processed at a second computing location.

      The folks I was dealing with at the time used a IBM Operating System/Processing System product called TPF (Transaction Processing Facility) which itself was a highly-customized and optimized version of PARS (Passenger Airline Reservation System) that I believe was jointly developed product between IBM and one (or more) of the Airline industry (I believe it was American Airlines, but I may be wrong).

      In the case of AT&T (which was over 10 years ago), I was never given the details of what was “mirrored”, but these AT&T folks assured me they could be back in business in the event of a disaster at their “main” sites in a matter of seconds. At the time AT&T had over 300 of the largest of IBM (and IBM compatible like Amdal and Fujitsu) mainframes.

      In both cases, the architecture gurus at these companies were not just “leading edge”, but “bleeding edge”.

      And then there were many other financial-type organizations that ran Tandem and Stratus fault-tolerant systems to do the same type of transaction mirroring.

      As we fast-forward to today’s network-centric server model, there has been similar tradepress reporting of mirroring using server technology, but I’ve paid far less attention to the actual details.

      I’d put money on the fact that there are organizations out there that redundantly mirror every process that occurs on their server systems.

      As for your example of deleting a file, I’d guess it would depend on how the folks architected their system. In most cases of mirroring, if you delete the file, that’s what the system does too, regardless of mirroring.

      In the case of these transaction processing systems, a buy or sell order may cancel each other out, but the very fact the transaction occurred is never lost.

      • Rayne says:

        Completely off-topic, but I thought I’d throw this in the mix so that folks squirrel the idea away for future consideration.

        Everything described as ‘mirroring’ for disaster recovery and business continuity? Imagine it done to every internet data exchange — emails, surfing, VoIP, everything.

        Food for thought.

        And now back to resolving the email gaps…

        • GulfCoastPirate says:

          Isn’t that what the lawsuit in San Francisco is about? Didn’t a tech testify or produce a document indicating every bit was being moved in two directions – the right direction and the ‘wrong’ direction with the ‘wrong’ direction being government controlled?

      • TheraP says:

        In the case of these transaction processing systems, a buy or sell order may cancel each other out, but the very fact the transaction occurred is never lost.

        In that case, even if an email is deleted, would the system not show that something had arrived and had been deleted? And if within the same system, that something had been sent and arrived and maybe deleted on both ends?

        And thus, if you had the logs, you could know a great deal. Bursts of activity on certain days. Bursts of activity coinciding with bursts of deletions. And so forth. And even if you did not have the content, if those days matched with certain known events…. well…. there you’d have it!

        • MadDog says:

          In that case, even if an email is deleted, would the system not show that something had arrived and had been deleted? And if within the same system, that something had been sent and arrived and maybe deleted on both ends?

          And thus, if you had the logs, you could know a great deal. Bursts of activity on certain days. Bursts of activity coinciding with bursts of deletions. And so forth. And even if you did not have the content, if those days matched with certain known events…. well…. there you’d have it!

          One of the key things we’ve not talked about here wrt to the missing emails, is Auditing.

          There are some very strong auditing capabilities that can be enabled in a Windows Server environment.

          I won’t spend a lot of your valuable time detailing this important area, but suffice it to say, one can “track” almost any access to stuff within Windows Server (and Exchange Server which lives on top of Windows Server) so that you can log every “attempt” to access any object/file/metadata that occurs.

          Microsoft has numerous web pages regarding Auditing and for a quick overview, see this.

          So that raises the questions of:

          1. Did the White House Office of Administration (the IT folks) enable Auditing on their Windows Servers?
          2. If not, why not? Did orders from on high dictate that no fingerprints be left behind?
          3. If Auditing was enabled, then Waxman and Company, CREW and Company all ought to be asking to see the Security logs for the Exchange email servers wrt to the missing email dates.

        • TheraP says:

          Is there a way to audit as well for using lotus notes? I saw above that there are missing emails from blair as well as bush. And that the blair folks at number 10 used lotus notes for working on documents as a group.

          This made me think that perhaps bush and blair discussed together how to keep certain info “off the radar” so to speak.

          But if there is a way to track through auditing or a running log of activity, then to me that would be the way to go. You could establish a lot of connections and dates and it would be fascinating, I think, to see how the network “lit up” every time certain things happened. DoJ. Plame. Torture. Abu Graib. You name it!

        • MadDog says:

          Is there a way to audit as well for using lotus notes?

          Though I’m far less familiar with Lotus Notes than I am with Windows and Exchange server, the answer is Yes.

          Back when I worked at an organization that used Notes (and was in the process of phasing it out and replacing it with MS Exchange), Notes ran on IBM’s OS/2 Server software.

          OS/2 was the original predecessor to Microsoft’s Windows NT which itself got renamed to Windows Server.

          Though it has been years since I used OS/2, I’m confident that IBM did not forget auditing in that OS.

          Additionally, IBM eventually upgraded Lotus Notes so that it would run on Windows Server, but I don’t remember just when.

          I’d guess that like the White House, the Brits would have to have an pretty good reason for NOT using Auditing, and perhaps like the White House, it was to preclude the leaving of fingerprints.

        • TheraP says:

          You know, the famous “mystery poster” (Anon) kept talking about audits being able to show the crimes. And that audits would show when there was a lot of activity and chatter on the system. Just another little wrinkle here. While there was no way to follow up on those posts, and many indeed sounded like the person wasn’t exactly sane, still there may have been truth there – or perhaps the individual needed to construct a persona to keep their identity secret… and thus not pay the high price of disloyalty.

        • sojourner says:

          I was reminded last night of the anonymous poster… Whoever it was did have some good points to make. The impression that I got was not about their sanity, so much, as perhaps heavy intoxication. Maybe working with the bunch of idiots in this administration would drive you to drink! I agree, though, that maybe someone was reaching out and offering some information, but trying really hard not to reveal their identity.

  45. klynn says:

    I think this got posted earlier in the thread. It’s a link to an article which ran in the UK on June 19, 2007 regarding the WH running parallel email accounts to the RNC and the Committee of Oversight and Reforms investigation:


    And then this gem. It appears there is the same problem in the UK – Downing Street seems to have a secret email system too (and many missing emails) and this blog ran it last January:…..lotus.html…

    Can’t add much on the tech discussion here. Just found this bit interesting:

    There isn’t a second email system in my humble opinion – there is a confidential database thats written in Lotus Notes – a system more commonly recognised as an email platform but one that also can be used for database work.

    The system is primarily used by Labour party employees and although partly ran by No. 10 staff, access is severly restricted, in the same way parliament’s I.T. department have to provide impartial service to the parties who have MPs, so do the No. 10 staff have to be impartial when helping the party-in-power therefore there is a kind of two-tier IT infrastructure in No. 10 and also the Palace of Westminister.

    The database access is for staff in the No. 10 office of the Labour party, Powell and his staff and also key minsters’ SpAds, they contribute briefing documents, in various stages of preparation before being used by other spads to present key ideas to ministers and ultimately Tony Blair himself, all the speeches and statements and PMQ briefs are in there, going all the way back to ‘97.

    To Guido this rings true.

    UPDATE : Co-conspirators have spotted and tipped off Guido to the Labour party’s private email system supplied by a Microsoft subsidary. The Whale Secure Remote Access website emphasises “it was designed to meet Israeli military-grade security needs, and all thought: ‘we definitely need this!’ “, so said Steve Turnbull, Network Manager, Labour Party. It fortunately has “Strict provisions for wiping all traces of email attachments, files and user credentials from the end-point, as well as the ability to permit different levels of access and functionality depending on compliance of the access device with Party security policy, would be critical.” It does run Lotus notes groupware.

    Enjoy the read. Who dah thunk it? Blair has the same email problem as Bush?

    Sorry to go a bit O/T. Then again it may be spot on topic…

  46. BayStateLibrul says:

    Next steps?

    Has the White House failed to comply and if so, is it spoliation
    or obstruction?

    A review of the assumptions

    The White House

    Cannot destroy what is expected to be subpoenaed
    Procedural law in federal & state cts require compliance with discovery requests

    If they non complied….

    A. SPOLIATION (Spoiling the fun)

    Defense to tort
    Adverse Evidentiary Interference or Presumption – unable to prove case because of destruction
    Discovery Sanction
    P&G sanctioned $10,000 for not saving email communications of 5 key employees P&G ID’d
    Default Judgment
    Employees knowingly destroyed documents

    Definition: crime of offering interference of any sort to the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other (usually government) officials
    Often, no actual investigation or substantiated suspicion of a specific incident need exist to support an obstruction charge
    Requesting party usually prohibited direct access
    Confidentiality & privilege barriers to examination of irrelevant matters

    C. Recovering deleted e-mails
    Recoverable deleted files are discoverable
    Must show factual basis that email existed
    Must show feasibility of un-deleting
    Experts affidavit may be required
    Recovery often ordered after discovery target fails to produce eMail printouts
    Metadata discoverable if printouts omit dates, editing, or tampering apparent
    Must demonstrate reasonable basis of suspicion
    Mere conjecture insufficient, some evidence

    D. Who conducts the search?

    Requesting party representative sometimes present & may help design search method
    Safeguards: Mirror image of HD made
    Target’s atty searches imaged HD, filters confidential info then produces only responsive info
    Increasingly, Neutral Third Party service provider used if production is complex or extensive

    Please note: I found this on the net – Huge debt to Bagby who gave this briefing
    I’m not sure it applies to this case but I thought it might
    Source: Bagby briefing

  47. redX says:

    Thanks, I did not know this section existed. I saw a link in Digg from FDL and found it. This is going to be a good read. The documents coverup and the Presidential Records being destroyed (and perhaps will be still if we stick to dynasties) is terrible.

  48. redX says:

    If the emails include those pre-2003 area then we are looking at all or gaps missing for:
    Energy Task force
    The F’in faith based thing
    Iraq War II
    Patriot act and torture things

    The emails not being properly handled is likey a crime so it would seem a reason to re-use an archive tape thus destroying archives, or using different email services to avoid even having the emails go to the correct places is pretty bald-faced. Of course nothing to see so everyone should move on. Thanks for covering this.

  49. WilliamOckham says:

    I want add a real quick note to revise my opinion about whether ‘foul play’ may be involved in this fiasco. I really need to honor my nom de blog and ask the question:

    What is the least complicated answer to the big question of what happened to all these email archives? Taking the WH CIO at her word (after all, she did swear she was telling the truth), the archiving system involved individual .pst files stored on network file servers. The least complicated way for those files to disappear is for someone to delete them. I can imagine many other scenarios, but that scenario is the one with the fewest entities.

    • redX says:

      The only way for them to disappear is for someone to delete them (especially where there is a backup). To think that a country that spends trillions of dollars would not have suffient funds to keep archives AND backups (double archive) is intentional and absurd.

      they have enought to keep our stupid emails and blog posts and spy on Greenpeace and Quaker meetings but not save emails on how we went to war?

    • emptywheel says:

      What’s that mean, precisely?

      Foul play, but someone with a techie background?

      FWIW, I found this language in CREW’s first filing on this issue:

      35. There were at least two potential causes of the deletion: (1) a malfunction in the servers and (2) the manual deletion of e-mails by users. Given the magnitude of the e-mail loss, at least some individuals within the OA concluded that a malfunction was not the likely cause of the missing e-mails.

      • MadDog says:

        OA concluded that a malfunction was not the likely cause of the missing e-mails.

        Ooooohhh! Nice catch! Maybe the OA techies didn’t believe Deadeye and Addington were taking coffee breaks in the server room.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        Actually no techie background is necessary. The archives were stored on the network as .pst files. Anybody (or any application) with delete access to the files could have deleted them. The interesting thing about that file format is that .pst files are useless if they are read only. That means they are always vulnerable to being changed by any account that has access to them. They are really unsuitable for archives.

        Think of it this way. Anybody who did a search of a .pst file archive could have just as easily deleted the whole file or any individual email inside it. It is certainly possible to set up certain kinds of auditing on the file itself, but once you’ve seperated the emails from Exchange by pushing them to a .pst file, you lost the ability to know what happened inside the file itself.

        • GulfCoastPirate says:

          Yes, but how could they have deleted all the .pst files off all the backups? The .pst files would have been backed up as part of the file server backup (although the .pst file would have changed over time). That could only be done if someone intended to do it. You can’t roll out ‘the dog ate my archive’ excuse.

          Does anyone know if they backed up file servers, overwrote file server tapes, etc.?

        • WilliamOckham says:


          We don’t know what’s on the backups (the WH hasn’t looked yet, which makes you wonder if they really care). As long as they were recycling the backup tapes, it didn’t much matter. You could delete an archive and assume it would eventually be gone forever. After they start saving the backups, you might have to be careful to delete the archives on the same day the incriminating email were sent. There’s still the possibility of recovering stuff from the backups of the Exchange Server, but the deleter might not have considered that.

          The big tell in my mind is the slow-walking of any kind of response. Somebody really doesn’t want anything to be recovered from those backups.

    • TheraP says:

      I concur, WO. In research also, you’re always looking for the simplest explanation.

      The way I see it is this:
      If it were a malfunction, whether of software or hardware, or if it were incompetence, you would be able to easily reproduce the problem just by finding the cause. That is, you would not only find the same set of errors but the same pattern across time. Not only that, but you would be able to reproduce the problem elsewhere. It could be replicated and thus “proven” that it was a malfunction or incompetence.

      Deletion on the other hand is like an “outlier.” It draws attention to itself. It can’t be reproduced by some mechanical means. It takes the effort of a person. And the effort must be deliberate.

      This fits with EW’s post @ 184, which simply restates CREW’s contentions. Occam’s Razor works for both. Deletion. Or mechanical or human “failure.” But for the later, there must be reproducibility. And we’d certainly see the administration doing just that, reproducing the error to show just how it occurred.

      Thus, we’re left with the only other Occam alternative – deliberate deletion. Serial deliberate deletion related to very specific circumstances for very specific purposes.

      It would make a lovely multiple regression if only we had all the data points!

    • GulfCoastPirate says:

      Help me out with this ‘big company’ thing some more.

      Let’s assume they weren’t archiving/backing up the email system for however many months. Let’s also assume there were .pst files on file servers. Are you telling me they weren’t backing up file servers either? Otherwise, they would have to go through every backup of all the file servers to delete the .pst files for all those months. That’s exactly why, when working with smaller companies, it’s frequently done that way. The .pst file should be backed up so many times that you couldn’t possibly lose ALL of them.

  50. Citizen92 says:

    If the White House can’t keep track of its computer files then why do they need a backup data center in Springfield, VA?

  51. redX says:

    You could also make a bad-faith decision and have your laywer tell you how great an legal that idea would be.

    For example lets attach a bunch of magnets to the computer with support the troops messages, or lets use these disks as drink coasters at this lobbyist function, etc.

    It much more clear than that I am sure (crime) – but the media does not care. There seem to be 2-3 options:

    1. They selectivly deleted emails and are trying to cover it up and the US govt does not know.
    2. They selectivly deleted or sequestered the emails and the US govt knows but some order puts the muzzle on it.
    2a. In the future either the emails come out of the top-secret archives.
    2b. Or future degradation of democracy allows them to be dissapeared forever even though they are intended to be released in 20 years or whatever.
    2c. They are leaked or forced out by a judge/judges that follow the Constitution.
    3. Willfull bad-faith neglegence (sort of like # 1).

    However if they are locked up for a reason it should not be a secret that these things are secrets since it obvious nobody holds them to account so the public will never know. If they are locked up for a certain period of time then lets hear it – how about a little law and order? Plus Cheney has a stamp to mark things secret or that the secret exists is a secret, or a secret media power play, how can one (or two) people control tiny things like the existence of 5 million emails?

  52. JohnLopresti says:

    I understand event driven object oriented modular programming ‘eased’ the design in modern win environments, but the very brief visits I made to NT3.51, which was the prototype for the winY2K family, the way I recall logs were part of the kernel without an option to shut off; maybe now the admin can toggle that safeguard to Off; but it was my experience as the writer mentioned above, any action on an object was an event and NT351 logged it with the action and time. I defer to the currently active experts regarding what rolling out server2000 would have done to improve event logging.

    • jdmckay says:

      I understand event driven object oriented modular programming ‘eased’ the design in modern win environments, but the very brief visits I made to NT3.51, which was the prototype for the winY2K family, the way I recall logs were part of the kernel without an option to shut off;

      there wasn’t any OOP in NT 3/4.x at kernel (API) level… just a bunch of routines. Some of services built “on top” after 2k were. Not unique in that regard BTW… all the unix flavors, BSD the same. AFAIK Job’s NEXT OS (based on BSD, now Mac OS) was 1st (and IMO best… a wonder actually) of fully OOD OS.

      MS API level OOP 1st came w/.NET.

      re: log file… not sure if you can turn it off, but you’d never want to: MS Exchange depends on that for *everything* having to do w/native backup, archiving, repair. Some of the better 3rd party Exchange backup software hooks @ transaction level creating their own record & ignoring logs. But obviously, this only good if it’s implemented from the beginning… can’t reconstruct those things out of thin air.

      I defer to the currently active experts regarding what rolling out server2000 would have done to improve event logging.

      Not sure about new one (2008 Server/Exchange), but since 2003 server log files didnt’ change much. The managment consoles, however, improved leaps & bounds.

  53. JodiDog says:

    I will repeat.

    No one has come up with one of all these emails that you presume are being hidden, or have been deleted. No one says they saw one.

    And this in Washington, DC which as was noted in the Libby trial is very anti-Republican.

    There have been no leaks. Heck the NIE gets leaked, intelligence gets leaked, everything gets leaked, and yet this boat is so well caulked that there is not one tiny drip that you can point to.

    Sue them for incompetence, but give the plot theories a rest. They aren’t that smart.

    • Neil says:

      No one has come up with one of all these emails that you presume are being hidden, or have been deleted. No one says they saw one.

      Where to start? It seems like intentional obfuscation but its more likely cognitive dissonance and if so, why engage? And here’s dessert for anyone needing a deliciously ironic shit stain topper,

      but give the plot theories a rest. They aren’t that smart.

  54. TheraP says:

    The famous Mrs P unearthed some interesting methods for searching for information about who owns what. Her field is auditing. (and I am continually hopeful that her skills are being employed by Waxman etc. in ferreting out these crimes) In any case via her methods it is possible to peer into the kinds of yearly paperwork any corporation must file. And she found many interesting things about data companies, such as the fact that many of them seem to have similar addresses or change their name but keep the same address, etc.

    I’m thinking that Mrs P’s methods might come in very handy at the moment. With a bit of googling you can check them out. There’s something called the “Swiss Army Knife” method. And you could also take a look at how she has used her methods and what she found out about some companies. So as not to leave too many tracks here, I won’t say more. I think C92 is very familiar with this as well, if memory serves.

  55. TheraP says:

    I’m no expert on this stuff. You’d have to check out what she’s done, not only with that. But in other ways. Again, I’m betting C92 may know a lot more. Or google can help you to follow what Mrs P has done.

  56. TheraP says:

    Also interesting that Mrs P disappeared off the radar right about the time that the mystery poster became “famous” and then promptly disappeared off the radar. Very strange coincidences. Even though Mrs P later assured me she was unable to find a method to follow there. I tried but failed to reach Mrs P about a month or two ago. But no response. I am hopeful her sleuthing abilities are being put to good use as this was person with huge amount of energy and skill fired up against the bush cabal.

    Thus I’m putting my hopes in C92.

  57. Rayne says:

    TheraP — yes, that’s the same kind of “knife” that was used. There was a lot of sniffing going on when ePM folks (of which I’m one) went looking through infrastructure for relationships, and the “knife” definitely helped.

    I can tell you from use of the same “knife” that many states are besieged with what appear to be separate organizations that harass them with ballot initiatives — but are ultimately all related to two organizations and two key individuals. I’ll likely be using the same “knife” on an investigation in progress; given the name of the organization and their agenda, I will bet good money I can find them entwined in the same infrastructure.

    Unfortunately, though, once you get past a firewall, there’s not a lot that can be “cut out” with the “knife”. I think the email situation is one of those.

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