White House to Restore Emails from Plame Cover-Up Period

The National Security Archive has released a list of dates for which the White House will restore emails under its settlement agreement.

That list includes almost all of the most suspect dates when email was missing, most notably the period (between September 29 and October 7, 2003) when Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby were working on a cover story in Jackson Hole. This is the period, remember, when Libby told Cheney the story he was going to tell the FBI–that he had learned of Plame’s identity from Tim Russert, not from Cheney himself. And it is also the period during which we know Fitzgerald was seeking emails, but did not receive them. (He did receive at least one email, printed out from a hard drive, after the more intense search for emails started in 2005.

I would have liked to see the emails through 2004–when it became clear Fitzgerald would subpoena Judy Miller and Matt Cooper, and when, in response to Rove turning over a key email to Fitzgerald, someone did some highly suspicious searches in the White House email system.

But this is a start, at least.

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128 replies
  1. Becca says:

    Does this not imply then that the Bush WH was actively obstructing justice when it claimed these emails had been irretrievably lost?

    As in indictable obstruction?

    • MaryCh says:

      My thought immediately on reading this. The first sentence doesn’t say so, but ‘will restore’ and the rest of it somehow sound like the the outcome of negotiation rather than the right techie finding the right software to refract the right set of 1011010101010 hash.

      In any event, good news, and at least popcorn is cheap enough even in these times.

    • Rixar13 says:

      “Does this not imply then that the Bush WH was actively obstructing justice when it claimed these emails had been irretrievably lost?

      As in indictable obstruction?

      Convict Dick and W.

  2. pdaly says:

    But “restore” the emails from which master tape(s)/drives?

    The tapes/drives that had been previously edited/excised before they were lost and found?

    or some untampered-from-the-beginning masters that have been hiding out in a storage closet?

  3. Leen says:

    “when, in response to Rove turning over a key email to Fitzgerald, someone did some highly suspicious searches in the White House email system.”

    do you know or suspect who that “someone” is?

  4. BayStateLibrul says:

    “Documents produced so far show the Bush White House was lying when officials claimed no emails were ever missing. The record now proves incontrovertibly that Bush administration officials deliberately ignored the problem and, in fact, knowingly allowed it to worsen. Some questions remain unanswered. Why, after the Office of Administration told then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers about the problem and presented her with a plan to restore the emails, did she do nothing? Why did the White House abandon — at the last minute — a system it had developed to manage and preserve electronic records, despite having spent millions to create it? Did the Bush White House properly respond to requests for records from the Department of Justice and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald during the investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s covert CIA identity?

    Melanie Sloan, CREW’s Executive Director, said, “We may never know exactly what happened to all the missing emails, and which Bush administration officials were involved in the coverup, but we do know the American public never got the full story.” After the Obama administration produces all the promised records, CREW will release a report, providing as much detail as possible. Sloan continued, “The Obama administration, which inherited the lawsuits and the dysfunctional White House email system, has done a terrific job straightening out the mess. Thanks to the Obama White House, a critical part of our nation’s missing history will be restored. This is yet another example of the administration living up to its promise of accountability and transparency.”

    • Becca says:

      And as ever, why were the time periods when the Bush WH claimed the emails had been lost ALWAYS those of maximum interest to DOJ politicization and firings investigators and the US Atty Patrick Fitzgerald probe of the Valerie Plame leaks?

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    Restore does NOT mean release. Further, I’d bet good money that not everything is restored and that the WH hides behind “Best job we can do” and “we restored everything we could find”.

    Pdaly, your point is very valid. They can pick and choose which backups they restore and they can review what each would restore. And they need not reveal if the same email read differently depending on which backup they use. We cannot trust this WH on the subject of BushCo wrongdoing, they’ll try to hide anything inconvienent and that would be just about everything.

    Leen, there is no way they do not know what userid did those searches unless the log tapes were deleted. And they would know from which computer the userid did the searches. If they wanted to know.

    Boxturtle (There are other ways they can weasel around this should they choose)

    • bobschacht says:

      Restore does NOT mean release.

      Aren’t there some FOIA lawsuits pending on these emails? BayStateLibrul implies that this is indeed in response to a CREW FOIA:

      Melanie Sloan, CREW’s Executive Director, said, “We may never know exactly what happened to all the missing emails, and which Bush administration officials were involved in the coverup, but we do know the American public never got the full story.” After the Obama administration produces all the promised records, CREW will release a report, providing as much detail as possible.

      So, “restore” sorta means “release,” although we can expect some sticky points to emerge.

      Bob in AZ

      • BoxTurtle says:

        They’ll have to produce Vaughn indexes or such for the documents they refuse to release. And you can bet the most common word in the released emails will be REDACTED.

        Boxturtle (The difference between a pessimist and a realist is the pessimist is right more often)

        • MarkH says:

          These are e-mails, not paper documents, so redactions aren’t really a possibility. The only argument for secrecy would be against releasing a particular e-mail message. However, they might still be able to release ‘header’ information about date sent, who it was from and to and so on.

          We don’t know what’s in those e-mails and there are a lot of them, so we’ll just have to wait and read whatever comes out.

      • nellieh says:

        The e-mails requested by Fitzgerald should NOT be archived. They were subpeonaed and with held from him and should have been part of his investigation. If he had them he could have used them in prosecuting Libby and maybe others. Either way they should be part of the record and up to Fitzgerald whether they should be released. I’m willing to bet had he had them more would have come out and at this time he would release them Especially after the beating he took from the fanatical right. So much for his “fishing expedition.” He knew what he was doing. No doubt there were leaks to what they contained or he wouldn’t have put up a fuss to get them. More proof they lied. As usual.

    • pdaly says:

      “Further, I’d bet good money that not everything is restored and that the WH hides behind “Best job we can do” and “we restored everything we could find”.

      I agree. This sounds spot on. It is also what we heard when BushCo was in charge. So it begs the question:
      Where have all these emails been hiding?
      (both the edited and unadulterated, pure-as-the-driven-snow ones alike)

    • Maddy says:

      I won’t hold my breath, I’d suffocate. What has this present iteration of governance done that is substantially different form its predecessor. This is not your friendly government as envisioned and designed by the collective wisdom of Benjamin Franklin et al. More the continuation of same as the old one. Sorry for the gloom and doom, I am not impressed or encouraged by all I see and it gives me a bad case of the ass after eating ten hot peppers.

      I sure wish I had all you’ll’s optimism, but I am somewhat jaded and cynical formed in the crucible of the 60’s only to find that the monsters just shapechanged and wrote new rules, then fed us mind candy and magic.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      We had Waxman as ranking minority member. We had Waxman as Chair with a democratic majority. We have Waxman as Chair with a democrat majority, sixty votes in the Senate and a democrat president.

      Nothing happened. Nothing is happening. Nothing will happen.

      Boxturtle (Waxman, if you’re reading this, make a liar out of me!)

  6. qweryous says:

    CREW’s press release on this may be viewed here:
    http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/43671

    The settlement agreement may be viewed here: (5 page PDF)
    http://www.citizensforethics.org/files/20091214 – Terms of Agreement.pdf

    From the CREW press release:

    “Under the terms of the settlement, the Executive Office of the President (EOP) will restore a total of 94 days of missing emails, which will then be sent to NARA for preservation and eventual access under either the Presidential Records Act or the Federal Records Act. The dates for restoration were chosen based on email volume and external events because there simply was not enough money to restore all the missing emails.”

    SO: FOIA beginning in 2014 ( if some form of privilege or exemption is not claimed)?

    Also from the CREW release:

    “Documents produced so far show the Bush White House was lying when officials claimed no emails were ever missing. The record now proves incontrovertibly that Bush administration officials deliberately ignored the problem and, in fact, knowingly allowed it to worsen.”

    This is most surprising. Who would have ever thought that was a possibility?

    Read the press release in full.

    • bobschacht says:

      “The dates for restoration were chosen based on email volume and external events because there simply was not enough money to restore all the missing emails.”

      What if additional funds are made available?
      Can we get George Soros to free up a few quid to fill the gap?

      Bob in AZ

  7. ShotoJamf says:

    Do I remember that a higher federal court refused to hear the Plame case? If so, does this change that ruling at all? In other words, do the Plames get another shot at getting justice?

    • bobschacht says:

      Do I remember that a higher federal court refused to hear the Plame case? If so, does this change that ruling at all? In other words, do the Plames get another shot at getting justice?

      The pertinent question to me is whether this might be sufficient grounds for PatFitz to open up an office again. After all, he was one of those requesting these emails.

      Bob in AZ

  8. perris says:

    remember when cheney went on his torture tour and played obama into following the cheney script?

    I wonder if he has the balls to go on a treason tour and get obama to follow his script on these emails also

  9. georgewalton says:

    Somebody advise us please:

    Is this a real story? Or will it circulate in the blogosphere from 20 minutes and never even come close to the evening news?

    What is the potential for further “dramatic developments” here?

    There have been around 12,873,920 scandulous actions taken by the Bush administration that should be producing headlines now. But none of the ever do, do they?

    Will the Obama administration play its usual role in squleching any serious investigation of wrongdoing in BushWorld?

    You know, in order to persuade the next administration to squelch any serious investigations of the illegal Bush policies Obama has continued in his own?

      • georgewalton says:

        And I quote:

        “It will be years before the public sees any of the recovered e-mails because they will now go through the National Archives’ process for releasing presidential and agency records. Presidential records of the Bush administration won’t be available until 2014 at the earliest.”

        • Sara says:

          ““It will be years before the public sees any of the recovered e-mails because they will now go through the National Archives’ process for releasing presidential and agency records. Presidential records of the Bush administration won’t be available until 2014 at the earliest.””

          Actually the “public” will not really see them. Essentially they will just be declassified by date, reviewed for content that can be excluded under the Presidential Records Act, and then available either at Bush’s Presidential Library, or through application at the Archives. Whether they are reported or not will depend on whether in 2014 someone is around who goes through the process of accessing them, and if necessary, making a challenge to anything redacted or excluded based on the rules of the Presidential Records Act then in place. Right now, my guess is the National Security Archives folk would assist a Journalist or Scholar who wanted to work these files — but it is really hard to predict how interested Journalists and Scholars will be in the details of Bush Administration History when 2014 comes around. I suppose you can crudely estimate this by counting the number of Journalists and Scholars who are down in Little Rock making a first run through the Clinton Era Presidential Papers.

          • bmaz says:

            Would sure be nice if there were a Special Prosecutor, who still has not technically closed up his mandate/jurisdiction, that was interested in compelling certain batches of these to be recovered/restored now.

    • bobschacht says:

      Is this a real story? Or will it circulate in the blogosphere from 20 minutes and never even come close to the evening news?

      I think there are a bunch of folks here who would not be willing to limit a “real story” to those that appear on the evening news. In fact, a good bit of what passes for “real stories” on the MSM are nothing more than opium for the masses.

      Bob in AZ

      • georgewalton says:

        I hear you.

        But let’s be honest. Until something like this has legs in the mainstream media, whether or not it does anywhere else is moot.

        We can pride ourselves on going after stuff the powers that be won’t touch. But if the powers that be don’t touch the Bush administration scandals, anything we rage about stays right here?

        Doesn’t it?

        And that helps to change things….how?

        • bobschacht says:

          Perhaps you’ve forgotten about the “183” waterboardings story. Originated right here on Emptywheel. The NYT, Paul Krugman, and the WaPo picked it up from here and ran with it. It’s one of the things that got Marcy an award for journalism.

          Staff for Olbermann’s Countdown and TRMS review this blog for info.

          But in a way, I agree with you. It is still the MSM that gives a story legs (or not).

          Bob in AZ

          • georgewalton says:

            Perhaps you’ve forgotten about the “183″ waterboardings story. Originated right here on Emptywheel. The NYT, Paul Krugman, and the WaPo picked it up from here and ran with it. It’s one of the things that got Marcy an award for journalism

            Sorry, I wasn’t around FDL then.

            But if that story originated here, I thank Marcy for springing it on the world.

            But: While it exposed the moral bancruptcy of the Bush/Cheney “war on terror”, the mainstream media did did use it to mount a concerted effort to force the Obama administration to launch investigations into the policies. No criminal trials will result from it. At least to the best of my knowledge. And this new revelation will go absulutely no where fast.

            It’s a non-story with respect to what matters most: prosecuting the Bush administration for breaking the law and shredding the Constitution.

  10. qweryous says:

    In reply to bobschacht @ 18

    “Um, btw, do ya think the WH is getting some blowback from the Dark Lord and some of his minions about this?”

    Not blowback, input to the process for the minions. See paragraph 2 of the settlement agreement:
    http://www.citizensforethics.org/files/20091214 – Terms of Agreement.pdf

    ” White House Counsel’s Office Materials: Representatives of President Obama and former President Bush will review for executive privilege the approximately five boxes of White House Counsel’s Office materials. Documents subject to valid claims of privilege as agreed upon by representatives of both presidents, will be removed. The remaining materials will be made available to Plaintiffs for pre-access review and possible production, following the process described in paragraph 1 of this agreement.”

    • perris says:

      rediculous bush gets to tell obama what he wants protected as executive priviledge

      but obama has proven he is nothing but a marionette to these guys

      • qweryous says:

        The Obama white house has to concur that executive privilege applies for the privilege to apply.

        The actual events appear to be:

        1. I told you to set this up so nothing is ever saved.
        2. Now like I said.. Delete all those Pat Fitz is coming!
        3. Sorry Pat.. Someone screwed this up (Clinton’s fault again!) those emails
        never existed, and were also accidentally deleted.
        4. No way no how can the missing email ever be recovered, no backup, delete means gone etc.
        5. That’s right Pat Fitz..I told you I can’t remember anything, can you refresh my memory with the email….
        6. Now that these email’s have been recovered, we must be sure to claim executive privilege so that the possible evidence that we tried to:
        A. Never save
        B. Then tried to destroy and potentially lied about this act
        C. Failed to produce because of A and B
        D. Lied about the existence of
        E. Potentially lied about the contents of
        F. Said potential lies at A thru E possibly to obstruct an investigation into the exposure of a clandestine agent as a part of a scheme to..

        That is a short description of the process as I see it.

        What’s there to not agree about with the former president here?

        • perris says:

          here’s my hope;

          bush really wasn’t in on cheney’s screw job, bush really doesn’t like cheney anymore since he screwed the bush legacy big time

          and finally

          bush has it out for cheney

          if those things are true we can havae some fun

        • Rayne says:

          Executive privilege can’t be used to hide criminal behavior, and with a conviction already made, we know there was criminality. Don’t think Obama admin really figures into this agreement on privilege across all of these so-called missing emails.

          The question I have is whether Fitz is still authorized under Comey’s original auth, and if he can pull emails into a grand jury for investigation of any other criminality.

          Although there’s the old clock ticking away…suppose statute of limitations has or will run out, haven’t even checked the calendar.

        • pdaly says:

          I like this one:

          “those emails never existed, and were also accidentally deleted.”

          That about covers the original BushCo plan.

    • bmaz says:

      There you go; good luck with that. Obama, if his history and script are any guide, will be as craven as Bush in protecting and claiming privilege on these. I would not expect anything overly useful anytime soon.

    • MaryCh says:

      Representatives of President Obama and former President Bush will review for executive privilege the approximately five boxes of White House Counsel’s Office materials. Documents subject to valid claims of privilege as agreed upon by representatives of both presidents, will be removed.

      I know it says ‘agreed upon by…both’ but DAMN, why do Bushies even have a voice in this? It’s dispiriting and stinks a la ex-Senators (like dear old Bob Packwood) becoming valued lobbyists by leveraging the value of their past public positions. Sigh.

  11. Jo Fish says:

    Won’t it just be ohso coincidental if the Obama Justice Department decides that they simply can’t release any of this information until the next ice age?

  12. qweryous says:

    There is an apparent limit to the restoration of the email not yet discussed: money.

    From the CREW press release:
    “Under the terms of the settlement, the Executive Office of the President (EOP) will restore a total of 94 days of missing emails, which will then be sent to NARA for preservation and eventual access under either the Presidential Records Act or the Federal Records Act. The dates for restoration were chosen based on email volume and external events because there simply was not enough money to restore all the missing emails.”

    “NOT ENOUGH MONEY TO RESTORE ALL THE MISSING EMAILS!”

    Donations?

    • perris says:

      “NOT ENOUGH MONEY TO RESTORE ALL THE MISSING EMAILS!”

      are they really going to use that as an excuse?

      man they are incopetant even at cover up

      • qweryous says:

        Incompetent will only apply if the ploy applied does not work.
        If the ploy works the word might be crude, clumsy, blatant..your word may differ.

      • cinnamonape says:

        It would seem that the solution to this is to fine those in the previous administration sufficiently to pay for the restoration. Take it out of their Federal pensions and Secret Service protection costs.

        • bobschacht says:

          Hope springs eternal. Just exploring all the options.

          The funds required would be a drop in the bucket. Compared with the other stuff that’s been tucked into appropriations bills, this might never be noticed. Does Feingold sit on any appropriations committees?

          Bob in AZ

        • bobschacht says:

          Special appropriation from Congress?

          Bob in AZ

          That’s funny. Bob will you be working this room all week, and how is the veal?

          Actually, this is covered in part by David Dayen over at the Mothership:

          There are some pitfalls here – Congress needs to appropriate more money for the data recovery –

          Also, while the agreement covers 91 separate calendar days of emails, Dayen reports that Norm Eisen, the special counsel to the White House for ethics and government reform, has written on his blog that

          As part of the agreement, the White House will restore millions of emails from back-up tapes related to at least 33 different days during the Bush Administration.

          Does this mean that there are funds only for 33 of the 91 days of emails, and that funds are needed for 58 other days?

          Bob in AZ

          • bmaz says:

            I don’t know, have been out and not totally up to speed; but I am VERY hesitant to believe there will be anything of usable substance available anytime soon. It looks to me as if CREW/NSA have entered into an agreement that the material exists and will/may be resored so as to be available sometime in the future (2014?) if funding for said restoration is obtained. Hopefully I am reading this wrong, or not seeing enough of the situation, but I am reticent to believe there is any great immediate bonanza here. Very reticent.

            • qweryous says:

              CREW/NSA entered into an agreement with the Obama administration that there was law that presidential records were the property of the citizens, that they were to be made available as prescribed in said laws.

              CREW/NSA entered into an agreement that puts in the record that the previous administration had the records that it had denied having, and by acts of omission (and commission?) tried to destroy, and then argued that however said destruction had occurred, that it was irreversible.

              CREW/NSA has through this suit exposed the deceit and obstruction of the Bush administration concerning these records.

              Jane and John Q. Public can understand this issue as it relates to what would happen to them if they were caught doing this.

              I think this is important, it is easy for the average person to understand as wrong, if they get the news.

              WRT to the mainstream media since they use the search …

              Keith Olbermann on Countdown msnbc broke this story of Bush Cheney crimes.
              Bush Cheney caught lying obstructing. Keith Olbermann was the first to interview EW on this topic for breaking news. CIA Plame Libby JAIL.

              Rachael Maddow on MSNBC interviewed expert EW. CREW NSA Bush Cheney tried to destroy Plame cia coverup evidence. Maddow pawns entire bush administration. Gonzales still can’t remember.

              • bmaz says:

                You know, I hate to be pessimistic, but all that doesn’t mean dick shit to the American conscience without actual production of the physical emails that show something of interest. The things you just related have been pretty much established all along to anybody paying attention and, yet, they have gained zero traction anywhere except a few unique forums such as Emptywheel. A fleeting mention on Maddow or Olbermann does not accomplish squat in the long run, nor does it establish anything towards accountability for the underlying actions of the Bush Administration. This is hardly moving the needle today; by tomorrow or Wednesday it will be forgotten.

                This is not to say it is not a good thing; it is. some day maybe it will lead to a better and deeper understanding of what went on. That is important. At this point, however, that is far less clear. And it is no given that the “recovered material” will actually ever be converted to a usable form, nor is there any guarantee that the availability in five years will maintain. Presidents have a way of changing these parameters, and there is no reason whatsoever to assume Obama will not do so to protect inquiry into his own records and affect these in the process.

                As so often is the case, I sincerely hope I am wrong.

                • qweryous says:

                  Correct on all points.

                  I posted in a hurry and lost the last part of the post;just now realized it.

                  At 17,35,47 and 55 I closed with a question, at 73 I lost the question at the end of my post. Moving past the screwup..

                  I am still waiting to be pleasantly surprised, as the waiting goes on, the chances go down.

                  Obama/Biden IMO still better than McCain/Palin ; how much better still in question.

                  It is getting more difficult to overestimate the downside on the issues, the downside is what seems to consistently happen.

                  Standing at the airport, looks like no one else noticed that the wheels fell off the plane that just took off. In a little while there will be trouble…later on its ‘How did this happen?Who could have ever predicted this disaster?’

                  • bmaz says:

                    Agreed on McCain, believe me. I know from McCain, and Bush may actually have been less dangerous by the end than McCain. He is that bad.

                    • qweryous says:

                      I think Bush was probably always less dangerous than McCain.

                      The v.p. choice shocked me.

                      Right wing religious was expected.
                      The rest of that package was unbelievable.
                      I would have preferred another four years of…
                      Really.

                      She is more dangerous than McCain, should she ever be in a position of power.

                    • qweryous says:

                      I made another mistake, my reference to “…the wheels falling off..” should have been posted either here:

                      “late-night-look-upon-my-demands-and-despair”

                      or here

                      “rahms-making-the-white-house-look-terrible”

                      As the wheels were indeed falling off in both locations!

                      A high level of something strange suddenly present today in those locations.

    • Mary says:

      Sounds like a great stimulus project to me – or maybe someone could lien the W “library” donations to fund the preservation of his admin’s immortal works?

      Or not. *sigh*

  13. ART45 says:

    Here’s my bet: Obama already has figured out how not to do anything substantive in response to the emails.

    That Harvard law degree has to be good for something.

    • bmaz says:

      That Harvard law degree has to be good for something.

      Got him in a position to be elected President, and got a whole lot of people to erroneously buy into the thought he is some principled and high minded Constitutional scholar.

      • nextstopchicago says:

        Instead, he’s a pragmatic Constitutional scholar.

        Along those lines, interesting to note that it’s official — Guantanamo will close, and I’m delighted to say that the prisoners that Coloradans and others were too cowardly to accept will be coming to my state. I was vacationing near Thomson the day this originally came out.

        I’d like to see a hell of a lot more. I’d like to see principals drawn more broadly. But there’s no question things are different under Obama.

        • bmaz says:

          Obama is not a Constitutional scholar of any variety; he exhibits no depth of thought or understanding of the Constitution whatsoever in his statements and discussions of law, and his actions and policies betray the very fiber of the document. Obama is a plague upon the Constitution; the thought that he is some kind of scholar, of any variety, is laughable on its face. Constitutionally, Obama is a disgrace.

  14. puppethead says:

    This is a very interesting development. I have little doubt the Bush White House did all they could to erase these emails. The fact that the Obama WH “recovered” them indicates to me that someone’s been searching very hard for them.

    It is hard to erase every copy of anything on a computer network, even if you control every machine. Perhaps someone in Obama’s WH just found some undeleted copies. Or maybe, just maybe, there was a team doing forensics on “erased” backup tapes or drives and managed to strike gold. Either way I don’t think this was just a chance find, most likely the result of months of directed effort.

    • robspierre says:

      I second your remarks. Destroying all copies of a backed up email system is not a trivial exercise. To have a hope, you have to have a detailed knowledge of the email software, the backup software, the operating systems, the local area network, the storage area network, the server hardware, disk-storage hardware, tape-storage hardware, the archiving arrangements, and the offsite vaulting arrangements. Given the obvious level of studiousness and intellectualism in the Bush/Cheyney Whitehouse, I had a feeling something like this would happen.

      Nonetheless, I’m not so sure that anything can overcome the “hear-no-evil/see-no-evil” position of the Obama administration and the MSM though. Bush’s Air National Guard records for the most part survived in a paper archive despite the then governor of Texas’ obvious attempts to destroy them. But it made no difference. The hyper-patriotic deserter stayed President and Dan Rather got fired.

      Our elected and judicial officers have jointly and severally decided that nothing that the Bushistas did will every be punished. Documenting the crimes is, I guess, a good thing even so. But I am not holding my breath waiting for justice–unless the venue is the Hague.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah, unfortunately, that is a decent metaphor for what I see here. Not sure it even matters now anymore, much less when anything usable is publicly produced from this exercise.

        • Maddy says:

          It matters even if there is nothing to hide here. This is our government, at least that is what I was taught, nuff said.

        • Rayne says:

          There’s a technical problem, already reported a similar situation myself. I know the techies are working on it. Everything I’ve seen so far indicates it’s spotty; you could try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies and rebooting to see if that helps.

  15. icutrauma1 says:

    When i read this i felt the same as when my candidate won the whitehouse. At last now we will have some justice.
    But now i realize, what does it matter, they had enough to investigate the run up to the war for war crimes.

    So guess what, it doesnt really matter, the whitehouse will do nothing

  16. cinnamonape says:

    I find it odd that not ALL of the back-up tapes are required to be PRESERVED. While funds to “restore” these “lost” records to readable form may not exist today…it is essential that they be retained for FUTURE access. These remain the only original records of the communications on those days. Destroying them denies future historians, but also those who may need a particular day restored, from having access to them. For example if there is evidence that specific people were discussing events that relate to criminal activities, and this is a carry-over from a prior day, destruction of the unrestored back-ups would block such specified investigation.

    It would be like destroying the “seven and a half minute gap” on Nixon’s tapes because “we don’t have the means to restore it yet”.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Were these intense negotiations about the technical feasibility of restoring badly archived digital mail? That would seem passing strange. Did technology change problems apply to one period and not another? Or was this always about agreeing to release only the least harmful information, and “recovery” itself was never the issue?

  18. Rixar13 says:

    “Does this not imply then that the Bush WH was actively obstructing justice when it claimed these emails had been irretrievably lost?

    As in indictable obstruction?

    Convict Dick and W.

  19. WindHarps says:

    True and Minitrue: Reality May Be Kidnapped

    [As this was a gratuitous link that was not germane to the subject at hand whatsoever and, quite frankly, completely obtuse, I was close to punting it completely; however, since this is the first I have seen of this commenter, I did not. Should this occur again, however, that will be the result. This is not a forum for blithe promotion of extraneous websites with no relation to the work at hand. – bmaz]

  20. Citizen92 says:

    I read this today on the WH Blog. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/12/14/restoring-emails-and-restoring-openness

    “As part of the agreement, the White House will restore millions of emails from back-up tapes related to at least 33 different days during the Bush Administration. The millions of restored emails will be transferred to the National Archives.”

    And my radar went up… White House will restore the email and then the emails will be transferred to the archives. But what happens in between.

    Why, we’re back to the “according to Mr. Fielding’s letter” days. Executive privilege, kids, according to various commenters before me…

    Representatives of President Obama and former President Bush will review for executive privilege the approximately five boxes of White House Counsel’s Office materials. Documents subject to valid claims of privilege as agreed upon by representatives of both presidents, will be removed.

    .

      • Citizen92 says:

        NARA has two major facilities in the DC Metro Area.

        Most recognized is the National Archives building in downtown DC. That’s Declaration of Independence Territory.

        The NARA Adelphi (really College Park, MD) is their working facility. This is where you have to go for most records. The data is now apparently there. But from January-July 2009, it was somewhere else. That lost its lease.

        A friend told me that the WH Office Of Administration (OA) had a redundant data center in Springfield, VA. Maybe it was there. Maybe somewhere else.

        I’m remembering back to the wrap of the Clinton Administration when data was under preservation order. The WH’s VAX system was one of those systems ordered to be preserved after January 2001. That was located in the New Executive Office Building of the White House… NARA had no way to move a mainframe, even though the thing hadn’t been used since mid 1994.

        Ah, memories.

        • PJEvans says:

          That’s not very good. Vaxen weren’t that large; you could move sections in vans. (Hell, you could move a PDP-15 in a couple of vans: three 6-foot racks and a teletype.)

    • Citizen92 says:

      I think the Obama Administration should be pushed to disclose who the “representatives of the Bush Administration” are.

      And if they are able to review the materials in anything other than a secure room, without notepads, in NARA’s Adelphi facility, I want to know about that too. You know, how Sandy Berger was treated, except make them haul out to PG County.

      My bets…
      Josh Bolten
      Fred Fielding
      David Addington
      Don Evans
      Brad Berenson

      If Addington gets his mitts on anything, I want to know about it!

  21. Citizen92 says:

    What I did find interesting from this debacle (and from these filings) was that the emails were housed somewhere unnamed secure NARA offsite location that “lost its lease” in July 2009, and where then transferred to NARA in College Park, MD. I’m just projecting here, but what “offsite” government lease would expire 6 months after Bush/Cheney cleared out? Maybe something set up ‘special for Deadeye’s use?

    http://www.citizensforethics.org/files/Document%20132%20(12-2-09).pdf

    Have faith… Remember that NARAs College Park location managed to lose a thumb drive containing several gigs of sensitive Bill Clinton data. (Backed up, we assure you!)

  22. Citizen92 says:

    And you know what, this by no means settles the other, more important White House e-mail scandal. Where all the real e-mailing was done?

    Remember the wholesale use of GWB43.com and RNCHQ.org e-mail accounts and technology by WH staff… For non-political use? For the people’s business?

    Not settled.

    E-mails that were supposedly sitting in the attic of the RNC? And on now-deceased Michael Connells SmarTechCorp servers in TN? It has always bugged me that NARA never moved to take possession of those e-mails, essentially government property in private hands.

    • bmaz says:

      That is the thing about not having production of any of this now; it removes the possibility of generating a factual basis for exploring those issues now. Not sure but what said issues are not too far gone already, but they sure will be long down the road.

      • Citizen92 says:

        Interesting side note, maybe real, maybe window dressing, who knows, but…

        Near the beginning of Obama, the advance staff (the folks that travel around setting up the events, photo ops, etc, 95% of whom are volunteers) were instructed to cc: all e-emails they receive and send related to Presidential trip planning. The e-mails were to be cc’d to a mailbox at who.eop.gov – so the Administration could adhere to PRA.

        I remember it being a breath of fresh air … compared to the Bush’s characterization of advance staff as nameless, impulsive “overzealous volunteers”… Who were, in reality, anonymous agents in lockstep with keeping dissent at bay (remember the Denver Three?)

        If Obamaland is adhering to the PRA as they were telling their advance people, well, that gives me hope.

      • Citizen92 says:

        Michael Steele is such a loose cannon. I’ve had notions of challenging him to release the GWB43.com emails — assuming he could. Just don’t know what the trigger could be…

  23. BayStateLibrul says:

    According to Turley, the fastest way to get the e-mails is a Congressional Investigation… that’s why I called on Waxman, but he no longer has the
    job. Shouldn’t someone petition the Oversight Committee for a brand-new
    revitalized posse?

    • bmaz says:

      Well, in the Senate, your boy is Lieberman; good luck with that. In the House, Edolphus Towns; better than Lieberman, but not exactly Waxman. And the Administration will lobby hard behind the scenes to prevent such an effort.

  24. Tinroof says:

    Any chance all these e-mails were intercepted and archived by NSA, possibly via the WH ISP? Wasn’t AT&T feeding them everything in the pipeline?

  25. bellesouth says:

    A Microsoft Corp. document on the Bush White House’s e-mail problems states that Microsoft was called in to help find electronic messages in October 2003, more than two years before the problem surfaced publicly. October 2003 was the month that the Justice Department began gearing up its criminal investigation into who in the Bush administration leaked the identity of Plame, the wife of Bush administration war critic Joseph Wilson.

    Uh, hello, Bill, Bill Gates? Uh, I got a problem here over at the Whitehouse. Do ya think ya could hep?

  26. themadhatter says:

    The Clinton administration used Lotus Notes, and had no email archiving problems.

    The Bush administration used Microsoft Exchange, and had massive (I consider 20,000,000 missing emails massive) email archiving problems.

    This is a clear plus for IBM, and their Lotus division, for providing a product that just worked. And its a massive and very public failure for Microsoft. Microsoft’s Exchange product has always been popular, but where ever I’ve worked, we’ve had problems with it. If I was coming into a company as ITO, the first think I would do is converter to Lotus, even if I had to pay a termination fee. It would be cheaper in the long run.

    • robspierre says:

      Exchange can still be made to work and can still be backed up.

      The switch from Notes to Exchange might be suspicious, of course. Destroying email is easier if you have the chance to design a new system for the purpose. But this still doesn’t make deletion a sure thing.

      The only certain way to make sure that an email doesn’t become public is not to send it in the first place.

  27. nextstopchicago says:

    The head of the Harvard Law Review, who taught Constitutional Law at one of the best law schools in the country, shows no depth of thought or understanding of the Constitution whatsoever in his statements and discussions of law. You’ve written better, BMaz.

    Here’s someone with an evaluation, more rooted in what Obama has actually said and taught:
    >What’s more, he taught Voting Rights in a different way than others do. He didn’t use a textbook, for starters, but rather had us each purchase an eight-inch high multilith of cases, law review articles and statutes that he had personally compiled. And they weren’t all the “big” cases either – no, our class started by reviewing some early-19th century cases about the denial of the franchise, so that as the course moved forward we saw “voting rights” not as some static thing to be analyzed, but a constantly- and still-evolving process to be affected. Over the course of a few months, we studied changes in the franchise, changes in the rights of political parties, campaign finance law and redistricting, among other topics. We learned the law, but we also learned it on the level of real-world impact: based on a whites-only party primary, how many people would be denied a voice? What kind of policies would result from such a legislature?

    The student writing here isn’t profound – after all, no one teaches voting rights as static. What the student must mean is that Obama expressed the push and pull of constitutional thinking on voting rights, the ebb and flow, in counter to the typical presentation of ever-expanding freedom. Obama thought deeply enough about the Constitution to give a new spin to teaching it; a new take on the always political struggle to interpret it; always based in real-world impacts, and cognizant of the fact that even the subjects deemed worthy of debate as constitutional issues in a given period are subjects put forward by political struggles over real-world issues.

    Certainly your interpretation of the Constitution and what is much more important, of how to reach a closer approximation of its principles and ideals, in a nation that has always acted at sixes and sevens with its Constitution, differs from his. Mine does too, and for what it’s worth, on some issues, I’m much closer to you than to him. I’d love to see Cheney and Rumsfeld in jail. I do think it’d have a salutary effect on future administrations. But I’m not positive. It’s hard for me to discard the possibility that it might have an immediate, disastrous effect on the polity, in the form of some sort of violent revolt.

    But you can’t evaluate a politician in a political vacuum and pretend that his public statements (mostly not even his, but those of people working for him) are the summa of his thinking on such issues. I believe if you can catch Obama sitting in his rocking chair in the 2050’s, he’ll tell you he believed that when it comes to national security, establishing constitutional precedents must be secondary, because the government has always grabbed whatever powers it was able to in a crisis; that the critical thing was to tamp down the fear. In the meantime, I’d guess that he considers some of the things you see as abominable compromises as merely insurance policies against the possibility of a random attack that he’ll be blamed for. Is this a Constitionalist view of the nation? No. But is it a serious, considered view of where the Constitution stands in our polity? Certainly.

    It’s impossible to deny that many of the prods of the national security state have been dismantled – the color-coded threat levels; the “you’re with us or against us” rhetoric; the long war theory; all gone. Guantanamo dissolved, and while other prisons remain, there is no fear-mongering about their inmates. The ante is on the table on Afghanistan, but he’s already told the world that if the stakes go up, he doesn’t think it’s worth it. On every front, he is lowering the tensions that justify the anti-constitutional acts you deplore.

    And for what it’s worth, I recruited the plaintiff in what I believe is the only Constitutional case he ever participated in, the Motor Voter lawsuit for which he famously acted as counsel for ACORN, an amicus curiae in the case. So my speculation on his deeper thoughts, while idle, is not without some bit of particular knowledge.

    • bmaz says:

      His work is worthless from a Constitutional perspective, and so as he. He has exhibited no depth whatsoever Constitutionally, and he was a pissant lecturer, not a professor. A 3L dog law student could write a amicus brief in such a case. As a Constitutional scholar, Obama is a fraud and I base that much more on his poor ability to think and discuss Constitutional theory than I do his relentless betrayal of the document as a politician, although that, of course, must be at least a lesser factor. I could walk into any lowly municipal court around and find any number of “Constitutional scholars” as capable as Obama. If that is your standard, then fine; it is not mine.

  28. Mary says:

    But you can’t evaluate a politician in a political vacuum and pretend that his public statements (mostly not even his, but those of people working for him) are the summa of his thinking on such issues. I believe if you can catch Obama sitting in his rocking chair in the 2050’s, he’ll tell you he believed that when it comes to national security, establishing constitutional precedents must be secondary, because the government has always grabbed whatever powers it was able to in a crisis; that the critical thing was to tamp down the fear. In the meantime, I’d guess that he considers some of the things you see as abominable compromises as merely insurance policies against the possibility of a random attack that he’ll be blamed for. Is this a Constitionalist view of the nation? No. But is it a serious, considered view of where the Constitution stands in our polity? Certainly.

    This is utter nonsense and the rest of your comment is contradictory in and within itself and your snipe at 110 about “Coloradans and others” being too “cowardly” to take GITMO prisoners is of the same vein.

    Go find a point in history – in the real world, in the pragmatic world, when disenfranchising huge swaths of people from any kind of justice based on imperial fiat provided “insurance” against the “possiblity of random attack.” It does just the opposite, as it always has, from before the magna carter forward. Imperially imposed injustice never creates safety.

    The fact that you tout the closing of GITMO as if it was a goal in and of itself, demonstrates the lack of seriousness and pragmatism you bring to the discussion. Couple that with the arrogance – as NYC is hosting trials and as numerous communities have lobbied to try to get the contract for GITMO transferee detentions – of dismissing “Coloradans and others” (as opposed to their manipulative politicians) as “cowards,” and I think I get a glimmer of the affinity you feel for Obama.

    Process the content of your own comment – what would those students have learned by the Obama administration’s position that the rights to not be randomly tortured for sport and to not be disappeared and to not be killed during torture don’t exist and that the courts have no role to play when the President chooses to engage in, or cover up, those kinds of actions – especially if they are taking place against people with funny names and odd religions. When those funny names and that odd religion comprise big segments of the world we live in go find the “pragmatism” of spreading that kind of injustice – go find the safety in it. What bull.

    And btw, when Obama said that no one is above the law – even though he had to be forced to say it, the words were, indeed, HIS. Not “those of people working for him.” When he promised transparency – it was his promise, not that of “people working for him.” If you want to adopt an unfounded pretense that Obama is somehow less an empty suit because you think he might cough up a profound statement in a rocking chair 40 years hence – create that reality around yourself and enjoy it, but don’t sell it as pragmatism and reality. From a pragmatic basis, you don’t evaluate a politician or a man based on what he says. You make that evaluation on what he does. You think things are so much better now? Go ask the innocent men, cleared for years, still at GITMO how they’ve changed. Go ask the men multiple judges have ordered Obama to release about those changes. I bet they could teach you – and Obama’s ex-students – a few things about pragmatism.

    • nextstopchicago says:

      Mary,

      Thanks for thinking about and engaging with what I wrote. I try to listen to different points of view, but I don’t have time to wade through the muck of “people who everyone at the law school described as professors weren’t really professors.” When you see that sort of swamp, you walk around.

      I did write extremely sloppily when I said that some of the compromises were insurance. I meant “insurance against” literally, but naturally you and most readers would interpret it metaphorically, as if I meant “protection against”. What I meant is that, given the random possibility that something may go drastically wrong, moving slowly on some of these things does effect to limit the political damage that some sort of attack might bring about – it does not protect us, but it may limit the political damage to Obama. As I’ve said, I don’t agree with Obama that all these compromises are necessary. But I can’t confidently state that his political calculus is wrong.

      And when I put the sentence about Constitutionalism right after that graph, without much explanation, it was particularly bad writing. You’re right, it came out as nonsense, as if caution . I have trouble writing anything complex in the small boxes most forums provide, because I can’t see much of what I’ve written. Maybe I’m not a very good writer.

      What I meant is that his understanding of the Constitution encompasses the fact that the country has always respected the Constitution mostly in abeyance. I don’t think he sees the Constitution as the important driving force in American history that others do. In his view, the precedents themselves aren’t as important as the political forces that give rise to them. Was Plessy v. Ferguson a natural outgrowth of the Constitution, or the outcome of a political impasse between southern and some northern elites on the question of race? Did the nation follow Plessy v. Ferguson for decades because the court decided that way, or because the decision reflected a truce between those elites? To believe that a contrary decision would have created a different nation, you have to believe that there was some political force strong enough to generate a different decision, and then to enforce it. I think the power of precedents and the majesty of the Constitution can be enormously important. But I can understand the skepticism of someone who has concerned himself primarily with voting rights in the days he grappled with the Constitution, and sees, not a nation that has hewed to the written word, but a nation that has found justification in the written word for what it wanted to do at the time.

      On a different part of the topic, you ask me to go ask the innocent men, cleared for years, still at GITMO how their lives have changed. I don’t believe this is true – “cleared for years”. My understanding is there are men, many of whom are likely to be innocent, who’ve never had their day in court when they might be cleared. They’ve only had habeas corpus hearings (and I don’t know that they’ve all had those). If I’m wrong about that, I do apologize, because it’s tough to keep up with everything. My real job has nothing to do with any of this. But Obama is actually bringing them to the US. Plans are being made for trials. It isn’t enough. I don’t think it’s enough. I’m not at all satisfied with what Obama has done. But it’s dramatically different than what was done a year and two years ago.

      You say that you have to judge politicians on their actions. I agree with you. But I think one important criterion is which way they’re pulling the rope. Decisions create the political context for new decisions. Dismantling the national security state without breaking apart the attitudes that created it is a recipe for disaster.

      You say I slight parts of the country when I say that there are loads of cowards who were scared to bring the GITMO detainees back. But there were. I’m proud of New Yorkers too. I’m proud of everyone who thinks we should do this. But I also wish there were more of us. That stuff didn’t happen merely because of “manipulative politicians”. It happened because a lot of people, a lot of voters, felt scared. We don’t live in a country where people are overwhelmingly committed to fairness but for the wily, devious people who get elected. Obama has been trying to tamp down the hysteria, and that’s enormously important after an administration that sowed the wind whenever it could.

      • qweryous says:

        “On a different part of the topic, you ask me to go ask the innocent men, cleared for years, still at GITMO how their lives have changed. I don’t believe this is true – “cleared for years”.”

        I am unable to determine if this is what you actually believe, or perhaps it is another case of:

        “I did write extremely sloppily when I said that some of the compromises were insurance. I meant “insurance against” literally, but naturally you and most readers would interpret it metaphorically, as if I meant “protection against””

        or

        “And when I put the sentence about Constitutionalism right after that graph, without much explanation, it was particularly bad writing. You’re right, it came out as nonsense,…”

        or

        “Maybe I’m not a very good writer.”

        I’ll presume the words mean what they say.

        I can provide some links concerning this issue which help address:

        – Whether a person who has done nothing is innocent, or only innocent after a verdict of innocent.

        – Or as you state:”They’ve only had habeas corpus hearings (and I don’t know that they’ve all had those). ” Hint: if not why might that be?
        (No habeus for the innocent?)

        – You state:”My understanding is there are men, many of whom are likely to be innocent, who’ve never had their day in court when they might be cleared.”. No day in court? Should that happen?

        – You do indeed report some good news: “But Obama is actually bringing them to the US. Plans are being made for trials. It isn’t enough. I don’t think it’s enough. I’m not at all satisfied with what Obama has done. But it’s dramatically different than what was done a year and two years ago.”

        – The impact of which is tempered by the preceding two sentences: “If I’m wrong about that, I do apologize, because it’s tough to keep up with everything. My real job has nothing to do with any of this.” So you are rather certain of the good news?

        The trouble with providing links is that it deprives one of the opportunity to do the research. It is possible, there is a considerable amount of information on these issues available for the diligent seeker.

        The fear is present that should the links be provided that perhaps this would happen:

        “Thanks for thinking about and engaging with what I wrote. I try to listen to different points of view, but I don’t have time to wade through the muck of “people who everyone at the law school described as professors weren’t really professors.” When you see that sort of swamp, you walk around.”

        So, yes indeed, the box to write in is small; we must all do the best we can in such a small space.
        After all, that is what thousands of undoubtedly innocent men, boys, perhaps even women and children are still doing all over the world.

        “But it’s dramatically different than what was done a year and two years ago.”

        • nextstopchicago says:

          Qweryous,

          Nothing in what I wrote could be construed or even misinterpreted to suggest I don’t want anyone to have their habeas corpus hearing, or that I don’t accept the presumption of innocence. The person I was responding to wrote “cleared for years.” “Cleared for years” isn’t true.

          The new administration has normalized the status of more detainees in 11 months than the preceding administration did in 5 years. They have plans in accordance with normal international law for another 150 of the 210 remaining, including sending 100 of them to other countries, and trying 40 to 50 of them. Maybe that’s no difference to some observers, because they should have released all 500 detainees, as a rebuke to those government officials who held them uncharged for so long. Others may believe that all 500 should have had normal legal status determined months ago. I sympathize with that viewpoint. To many of us, however, including the not insignificant number who have actually been freed, what has already happened is a pretty big change.

          Holder says they will have status plans for the remaining 60 or so by January. Some of them will no doubt follow one of the two paths outlined above. Others will likely be held under the authority the administration claims from the declaration of war. I don’t like this, 8 years later, but if the administration concedes that these are simply prisoners of war, subject to the Geneva convention, which is still a possibility, then that would represent a sea change.

          What started this was Rumsfeld’s decision that these people were categoryless, with no fingerhold in the law, domestic or international. Flowing from that decision was a policy of not really bothering to develop cases — there was no need, since you could keep them forever. It’s a hell of a compost heap that the Bush people dumped on the kitchen table, just as Holder was unloading his groceries. There are certainly some rotting vegetables in among the compost worms and the fresh tomatoes. I agree that you need to sort them with all due speed. I’m unwilling to abide the Bush doctrine of “dump them all in the yard at Guantanamo and let God sort the innocent from the guilty.” But a temporary status of “shit left over from the previous tenants” isn’t as abominable to me as it seems to be to others. Maybe that makes me heartless. At some point, my patience will wear through, but with Holder saying we’re 40 days from final determinations, I’m willing to hear the plan before I start shouting.

          Three months ago, the congress was still almost unanimous in trying to keep every single one of them. There’s no question that bringing them to the village of Thomson was initially quite politically risky. They took the risk. It would take approximately one major incident to blow away all the progress, and have voters clamoring that we should have kept them all locked up forever. So they’ve moved very slowly. They’ve waited to bring people in line, silence some of the snipers.

          Lincoln could have issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1861. He didn’t. Is that to his shame? Perhaps. But by 1864, many abolitionists might still begrudge him a few things, but they recognized the difficulty of the situation, and recognized at the very least the strength of the argument that things had been gained by waiting till public opinion advanced.

          But Lincoln won the war and freed the slaves. Obama hasn’t normalized the detainees yet. At this point, I’m an irritated abolitionist who wishes he’d move faster and awaits conclusive proof that he’ll do the things I think he needs to. But I don’t think he’s “a fraud” … “as capable as any number of lawyers in any lowly municipal court” “worthless” “a pissant”. Those are the insults I thought unwarranted, the things I’m writing against.

          If you really believe me to be some idiot unwilling to do research, never having taken time to think about these issues, ultimately, I guess it doesn’t matter much, since you have no idea who I am, and I no idea who you are. I write in good faith, having done far more to try to think this through than most of our fellow voters.

          I think you’re reacting as if I was somewhere entirely different on these questions, rather than someone who basically agrees with you on the principles, but has more patience for the torpid pace of political change, the frequent need to throw a bone to critics to keep them from going into outright revolt. In my experience, politicians are sometimes wise to move slowly; other times, they miss the main chance. I don’t think you’re a fool for asking that core principles be upheld, boldly and loudly. But I also don’t think Obama is a fool and a fraud for not having done so. I’m not yet sure which policy would be most productive in the long run.

  29. bmaz says:

    I don’t think he sees the Constitution as the important driving force in American history that others do. In his view, the precedents themselves aren’t as important as the political forces that give rise to them.

    Well that is certainly the hallmark of a “Constitutional scholar”. What a joke.

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Obama the constitutional scholar: all show and no go. His scholarship in that subject is as deep as his commitment to fulfilling his campaign promises.

  31. nextstopchicago says:

    What are the conditions the administration is seeking from Yemen before repatriating the Yemenis?

    • Sara says:

      “What are the conditions the administration is seeking from Yemen before repatriating the Yemenis?”

      I seriously doubt if any Gitmo types will be sent to Yemen just now.

      For some reason the US Press has missed the story, but right now Yemen and Saudi Arabia are on the verge of a border war. The Saudi’s are using their fine Air Force against camps of Shia (a distinct minority in Yemen) which the Saudi’s believe are controlled by Iran, and who have apparently been moving arms into Saudi Arabia destined for the Shia in the NE. At the same time, the Saudi have apparently infiltrated military and security personnel into Yemen because they are being attacked by Al-Quada of Arabia. They have managed to capture some of the al-Quada who were previously in Pakistan, but last summer moved to Yemen through Oman. So what is current is bombing Shia camps and ground invasions for the purpose of both killing and capturing al-Quada, many of whom are Saudi’s returned from Pakistan.

      In late August this got particularly serious from the Saudi point of view when one of the Saudi’s we had returned from Gitmo, and who had been through their re-hab program, tried to blow up the Prince who is head of one of the security services, in charge of the re-hab program, and the half brother of the current King, Abdullah. The Returned-Gitmo-Re-habbed contacted the Prince asking for an appointment to arrange some sort of mass surrender of al-Quada in Yemen for re-hab, and when he got in the Prince’s office, he blew himself up, having secreted the explosives up his rear end. The Prince was lucky — just at the point of the explosion he had reached down to retrieve something under his desk, so while he was hospitalized, he was not all that badly wounded. To say the least, his office was a total mess. But for the Saudi Royals it was very much a close call — and among other things, they totally fault the Yemen Secret Services for this as apparently al-Quada is deeply embedded in that organization and gets major assistance from the Yemen Service. Anyhow, one upshot of this is that the Saudi’s have cut off accepting any additional Gitmo types, and totally oppose any additional ones being sent to Yemen in the near future. They also have increased their air and ground attacks on al-Quada camps in Yemen.

      I am rather surprised the US Press has not carried much about all this — in many respects it is the result of the pressure that has been put on the AfPak border regions, forcing many of the Saudi and Arab fighters to leave and try to establish alternative locations in Yemen. But the current disturbances and border wars probably mean neither Saudi Arabia or Yemen will be taking any of out Gitmo types for the forseeable future.

  32. bobschacht says:

    Sara,
    I had heard some about this on NPR, but couldn’t make much sense of it. Thanks for your commentary on this situation, which has more details.

    Bob in AZ

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