Thursday, March 29, 2007

GWB43: Conyers and Leahy smell a rat

Patrick Leahy of the Senate Judiciary Committee and John Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee have sent a letter to Dubya's Special Counsel, Fred Fielding.
In addition, we have become increasingly sensitized over the last several days to the White House staff wearing several "hats" and using Republican National Committee and campaign e-mail addresses. In fact, as Chairman Waxman has recently pointed out, congressional investigations, including this one, "have uncovered evidence that White House staff have used nongovernmental e-mail accounts to conduct official government business."

As Chairman Waxman has also pointed out, many exchanges between Jack Abramoff and White House officials were conducted via non-governmental e-mail accounts. Indeed, he quotes exchanges that suggest that Mr. Abramoff and White House officials were using the nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a White House "record" of the communications.

We hope you agree that such sleight of hand should not be used to circumvent and compromise the comprehensiveness of our investigation...
Accordingly, we trust that you will be collecting and producing e-mails and documents from all e-mail accounts, addresses and domains and that you are not artificially limiting your production to the official White House e-mail and document retention system.
Is that trust well-placed? I am, shall we say, less than convinced that this White House will follow the letter and spirit of this request.

What then...?
When I first heard about the use of this "private" server for Whitehouse business communications, my first thought was that the very fact that they used it for that purpose would subject those messages to the same "discoverability" as those on the Whitehouse system. There would be more of a fight, but I consider it analogous to the use of corporate accounts for personal financial transactions, which pierces the corporate veil of protection.

The ironic thing is, that their use of a private system of communication for public business may in fact make communications that would otherwise be protected open to public scruitiny. Things like political strategy memos sent via the GWB system may not be subject to public scruitiny, because the misuse of that system.
Two US aircraft carriers stalk the Gulf, the US government refuses to release Iranian hostages, and Michael Ledeen screams for war. But Iranian authorities deny that US forces are staging wargames.

US forces haven't had two aircraft carriers in the Gulf since they invaded Iraq in 2003.

Iranian authorities are also accusing Britain of faking maps.

It's scary that the EU isn't divided over this, although Russian and Chinese governments are saying they've no way of independently verifying who's telling the truth.

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Look, anon, I've just spent the past few days dealing with the networking problem from hell. My nerve endings are fried. I just can't play with you right now. But I CAN say that I prefer to get my lectures on physics from better sources than Rosie O'Donnell.

NO "BUY A MAC" GUYS, either.

In fact, no proselytes of any kind. I'm tired. I just want some sleep.
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