Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hoisted by their own petard

It seems the White House insiders have only just realized emails are forever. Now that Gonzales and the Justice Department has just been caught out in their lies by these small correspondences we all take for granted, White House aides have stopped using the internal system.
"We just got a bit lazy," said one aide. "We knew E-mails could be subpoenaed. We saw that with the Clintons but I don't think anybody saw that we were doing anything wrong."

But the release of White House emails to the Democrats and the expanded request for more from Rep. Henry Waxman has iced the system. At least two aides said that they have subsequently bought their own private E-mail system through a cellular phone or Blackberry server. When asked how he communicated, one aide pulled out a new personal cellphone and said, "texting."
This I imagine has more to do with avoiding potential embarrassment from personal communications to friends and lovers but the bigger story is the emails related to official business that are being sent through outside accounts, particularly through accounts provided by the RNC.

Rove reportedly conducts 95% of his White House business through such accounts, which would appear to violate the Presidental Records Act. But as Josh Marshall points out, he may have too clever by half in trying to cheat the Act. It may well have negated their executive privilege claims. Kevin Drum expands that line of thinking.
In other words, if staffers were primarily discussing the U.S. Attorney firings on personal and RNC accounts, that implicitly means that they themselves weren't treating it as the kind of official business that would be protected by executive privilege. Alternatively, if they were using private accounts specifically to evade legitimate congressional oversight, then executive privilege claims might also fail for all their other communications as well.
Meanwhile, Steve Benen explains this further and adds another interesting wrinkle.
And third, as Laura Rozen explained, there are security concerns to consider. Rozen noted earlier this week that the White House is a huge electronic surveillance target and by announcing that they’re not using their official email accounts anymore, foreign intelligence agencies might “become curious about the 95% of the government’s business that Karl is lobbing outside the system.”
How much more proof do we need that this administration has put its personal political interests above everything else, including national security? Rove's concern was certainly to avoid accountability. How deliciously ironic would it be if he was finally held to account for his misdeeds by way of his own deceitful devices?

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Blogger belledame222 said...

god, they really are the collective Pointy-Haired Boss, aren't they?

12:55:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Finally. A cultural reference I recognize and they are indeed belle.

1:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Libby, don't mean to disrupt your post, and it's a good one, but I don't get many visits to my blog anymore and I thought you might get a kick out of my last Income Tax Season post. Continue to love your angle on things.

7:26:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Brian. I'm sorry, I'm still so remiss on visiting my blogroll. I'll come over and check it out.

10:37:00 AM  
Blogger michael the tubthumper said...

i would love to see him prosecuted but i am sure he will weasel out of it.

11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I expect he'll find a way to slither out of it Michael, but maybe not. This one looks the best chance we've ever had to see some accountability.

11:37:00 AM  

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