The convenience of miscreancy. From the Post:
Countless e-mails to and from many key White House staffers have been deleted -- lost to history and placed out of reach of congressional subpoenas -- due to a brazen violation of internal White House policy that was allowed to continue for more than six years, the White House acknowledged yesterday. The leading culprit appears to be President Bush’s enormously influential political adviser Karl Rove, who reportedly used his Republican National Committee-provided Blackberry and e-mail accounts for most of his electronic communication. Until 2004, all e-mail on RNC accounts was routinely deleted after 30 days. Since 2004, White House staffers using those accounts have been able to save their e-mail indefinitely -- but have also been able to delete whatever they felt like deleting. By comparison, the White House e-mail system preserves absolutely everything forever, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.
Two points. First, is this not the sort felony that rises beyond high crimes and misdemeanors? If not—if a form of evasion and electronic perjury on a mass scale doesn’t—then what possibly could in this Whitewashing House? Karl Rove may be the criminal in question, but does anyone really believe that Karl Rove would not have made sure to arm the president with an RNC email account of his own?
How convenient for the White House that the nation’s attention is still transfixed by the firing of Imus over three words that did nothing more than more broadly reveal the offensive nature of a radio host while offending those who revel in being offended, in accordance with (to paraphrase Martin Amis) the twin addictions of the culture—being inoffensive, and being offended. How convenient, because while Imus is fired over three words, Karl Rove Dick Cheney, George Bush and the rest of their junta, who have a few million words to account for, get a bye on this entire scandal. Dan Froomkin of the Post is trying to turn it into an “affair,” but so far no one is biting. Didn't an entire press corps devote megawatts of malice to nail Al Gore in the 1990s for misusing communication equipment to raise money for the Democratic National Committee? Have we become so jaded to Bush junta scandals, does the crime seem so common (everyone deletes emails, although not everyone is legally permitted to) that there’s an eagerness to pardon for convenience’s sake?
Second, what’s this business about emails “lost to history”? Anyone with a basic understanding of email archiving and hard drives knows that mere deletion of an email doesn’t mean that the email has been wiped out. Many an organization has tried. But emails have a longer hard-drive life than we know, and an entire industry has grown around the “deep recovery” business (for example…) The news that the entire staff at the White House has been evading its legal responsibility to save emails should prompt an immediate lockdown on those RNC accounts subpoenas out the arnce for those emails through whatever recovery means are available. Maybe most won’t be recovered. A good many would be. But watch as this latest fat mass felony gets erased as easily as the click of a mouse.