E-Mailgate Ramps Up; Will Media Notice?

Big accident on I-5. I went down to the blood bank to donate blood. I went down because they called me. Naturally, I was stuck in the waiting room forever. And what was the TOP headline in the waiting room free copy of the local newspaper?

A reprint from the NY Times, taken from Pentagon PR about a “new offensive” that was going to bring down the incidence of violence. And the media wonder why they’re becoming irrelevant? (I mention this because I let my subscription lapse a long time ago. No need to kill trees for THIS kind of 20/20 myopia.)

New U.S. offensive targets insurgents

This was the kind of above-the-fold headline I used to see every day in the Laramie Daily Boomerang about Vietnam: blood and guts, and our victorious forces, and our redoubled resolve, and they were, each and every one of them Public Relations bullshit, as it turns out. But I’m sure THIS time, this is “front page news.” No. Really. I’m SURE they wouldn’t try to flim flam us about Iraq the exact same way as they sandbagged us on Vietnam.

(Really, I don’t know why they don’t cut to the chase and just print it in braille to begin with. After all, a publication needs to service its target audience if it wants to stay in business.)

But the media have (seemingly) finally noticed that something seems to be wrong here at home:

Casual Lawbreaking at the White House
By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, June 19, 2007; 1:14 PM

New evidence unearthed by House Democrats establishes that White House political adviser Karl Rove and many of his colleagues used Republican National Committee e-mail accounts for official business — even though White House policy is clear that doing so is a violation of the Presidential Records Act.

How did such casual lawbreaking come to be so widespread? And why was it tolerated? Those are among the questions the White House has yet to answer satisfactorily.

Or …

White House aides’ e-mail records gone
Posted on Tue, Jun. 19, 2007
Associated Press Writer

E-mail records are missing for 51 of the 88 White House officials who had electronic message accounts with the Republican National Committee, the House Oversight Committee said Monday.

The Bush administration may have committed “extensive” violations of a law requiring that certain records be preserved, said the committee’s Democratic chairman, adding that the panel will deepen its probe into the use of political e-mail accounts.

But, it’s natural to hedge one’s bets by letting someone else make the accusations. From Google News:

Bush aides may have illegally lost e-mail – Democrats
Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand – 23 hours ago
Karl Rove and dozens of other White House staffers appear to have illegally routed official e-mails through a Republican group that subsequently deleted …

Bush aides may have illegally lost e-mail, Dems say
Washington Post, United States – Jun 18, 2007
By Andy Sullivan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Karl Rove and dozens of other White House staffers appear to have illegally routed official e-mails through a …

(Same article on two different servers, eerily similar headlines. Must’ve been the suggested headline that the wire services send out — and is generally ignored by local headline writers).

From the Seattle P-I’s online “blog”:

D.C. Notebook: Mr. Rove, you’ve got mail

WASHINGTON – One of the more intriguing side stories to bubble up from the firing of John McKay and other U.S. attorneys is the wholesale use of e-mail accounts controlled by the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Cheney campaign operation for official White House business.

The use of those e-mails violates the law but until Monday nobody could quantify how common the practice was. Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has done the work for us and reached some interesting conclusions.

Or this from Computerworld:

Report: White House staff ‘circumvented’ official e-mail system
Todd R. Weiss

June 19, 2007 (Computerworld) The use of outside Republican National Committee (RNC) and Bush-Cheney ’04 re-election committee e-mail accounts by at least 88 White House staff members in the Bush Administration was done in a manner that “circumvented” the requirements of federal laws mandating the historical preservation of presidential records.

That’s one of the conclusions of a three-month-long U.S. House of Representatives inquiry into the White House use of outside e-mail systems dating back to 2001.

In a 16-page interim report (download PDF) released yesterday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, investigators said there appears to have been widespread use of such e-mail accounts without proper preservation of the contents of all messages that were sent back and forth. According to the report, the investigation found that at least 88 White House officials used RNC e-mail accounts, which is higher than earlier White House estimates that no more than about 50 staff members had such accounts. The officials with RNC e-mail accounts include Bush senior adviser Karl Rove; Andrew Card, the former White House chief of staff; and Ken Mehlman, the former White House director of political affairs.

There exists a chance that this story might be reported. At least until Paris Hilton has another ‘crisis.’ (But I wouldn’t lay odds on it, consider the local HEADLINE story.)

Perhaps the White House Press Corpse (sic) might even take offense that Tony Snow flat out lied to them this morning. From RAW STORY:

Olbermann: ‘Infinity minus 140,216 improper emails’
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday June 19, 2007

“In Watergate, America was astounded by the fact that 18 1/2 minutes of secret presidential recordings were missing,” stated Keith Olbermann on Monday. “Tonight the latest Bush administration scandal, as yet unchristened, makes that figure seem like a drop in the proverbial bucket. Try this number: Infinity minus 140,216. Karl Rove’s improper emails. The 140,000 are the ones still preserved. The rest — the infinity part — the ones that were destroyed.”

Olbermann went on to describe the “jaw-dropping scandal” uncovered by Congressional investigators, where, in the most serious breach of the Presidential Records Act since its enactment, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of emails improperly sent by White House officials through outside emails servers may have been illegally destroyed.

As one example of the vast scope of the destruction, only 130 of Karl Rove’s emails still preserved on the Republican National Committee’s servers date from Bush’s first term, and none of those is from prior to November 2003. Rove was only one of at least 88 White House officials apparently using those RNC servers to transact political business on government property — which under the Hatch Act is illegal in itself. Other outside servers, such as those of the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign organization, were used as well.

Olberman then showed a clip of Presidential Press Secretary Tony Snow being asked about the scandal and claiming, “We’ve seen a number of times right now, people have been putting together investigations to see what sticks. They have had very little success so far. This is an administration that is very careful about obeying the law.”

Stay tuned.


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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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2 Responses to E-Mailgate Ramps Up; Will Media Notice?

  1. Ginny Cotts says:

    Tony knows full well ‘what sticks’ depends on what is

    ” trumpeted by our moribund and moronic echo machine.

    Er … I mean media.”

    As you so aptly put it in the previous column.

    This is another of those “Does anybody really get this information? The implications, the bold faced lies, law breaking, etc. Does anybody care?’

    “They have had very little success so far.”

    GOP/MSM 200 or so Dems: 5?

  2. Exactly. Brian Williams was on The Daily Show tonight carefully repeating the talking points about all the “small victories” in the streets of Iraq that never get reported.

    It was ohhhhh, so slick.

    And I realized that he’s another of the pod people. It’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” all over again, only instead of “Body,” it’s “Country.”

    How can people who are utterly against the Enlightenment try to run a nation forged in and of the Enlightenment?

    Well, clearly they can’t.