Saturday, April 14, 2007

You can't erase emails, not today

CNET's Harry Fuller says what Sen. Leahy said -- the White House/RNC can't erase its emails, they've been through too many servers. In fact, Karl Rove's messages probably aren't even really deleted:
In nearly all Microsoft-based e-mail systems [a deleted message] persists in multiple locations. It has not been truly trashed but simply delisted. Most U.S. federal agencies use Microsoft software.

So unless the actual physical servers on both ends are physically destroyed or digitally scrubbed by overwriting hundreds of 1s and 0s, that email is still out there. It's just going to be harder to find. But, Vamosi, tells me, there are digital forensic programs that can go in and reconstitute every "deleted" file and e-mail still on a server.
Digital forensic software, yes, let's get some of that.

Believe me: I am awfully eager to see Karl Rove's emails. But on another level, who cares about the emails. Just subpoena him. Make him testify under oath, with a transcript, about his role in firing U.S. attorneys. Do that and do the thing with the digital forensics, both.

If it was done intentionally, deleting Karl Rove's emails is illegal under the Presidential Records Act, not to mention cynical, crass, unethical, etc. etc. Due to lingering effects of Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation, Christy Hardin Smith points out that it could even be obstruction of justice.

But not having Rove's emails doesn't make this scandal go away. The scandal keeps right on going.


Saxdrop said...

I'm still confused. Is firing US attorneys, even for purely political reasons, a crime?

Rob said...

Does firing US attorneys for purely political reasons violate a specific statute? Maybe yes maybe no. But the act is hostile to the rule of law. Lying about it to Congress is hostile to our constitutional system. And deleting those emails is illegal in a couple of different ways.

But look, appointing Michael Brown to be the head of FEMA wasn't illegal. Still a scandal! And DOJ shouldn't be run like an arm of the RNC, period.