Missing Emails

Why isn't Congress pressing Dick Cheney or the White House about this obvious and egregious breach of the public trust? Is our whole system of governance in the USA corrupted? What will it take to right the course of American Politics?

The Emails that Dick Cheney Deleted
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by Scott Horton
January 22, 2008

Late last week, right after official White House spokesmen made a series of either evasive or completely false statements about the mysterious case of the vanishing, then reappearing, then perhaps no really vanished White House emails, Henry Waxman and his Oversight Committee announced some of the conclusions they had reached. Dan Eggen and Elizabeth Williamson published an account of it on Friday in the Washington Post:

The White House possesses no archived e-mail messages for many of its component offices, including the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President, for hundreds of days between 2003 and 2005, according to the summary of an internal White House study that was disclosed yesterday by a congressional Democrat. The 2005 study — whose credibility the White House attacked this week — identified 473 separate days in which no electronic messages were stored for one or more White House offices, said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).

Waxman said he decided to release the summary after White House spokesman Tony Fratto said yesterday that there is “no evidence” that any White House e-mails from those years are missing. Fratto’s assertion “seems to be an unsubstantiated statement that has no relation to the facts they have shared with us,” Waxman said. The competing claims were the latest salvos in an escalating dispute over whether the Bush Administration has complied with long-standing statutory requirements to preserve official White House records — including those reflecting potentially sensitive policy discussions — for history and in case of any future legal demands.

Waxman said he is seeking testimony on the issue at a hearing next month from White House counsel Fred F. Fielding, National Archivist Allen Weinstein and Alan R. Swendiman, the politically appointed director of the Office of Administration, which produced the 2005 study at issue.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has now posted a series of studies to help us zero in on just what’s missing. It will come as no surprise to most that the big offender is the man at the center of the most virulent scandals, and the missing email traffic relates just to those dates in which a federal prosecutor would have the most interest. Vice President Dick Cheney’s office destroyed its emails, in violation of the requirements of the federal records act and potentially criminal law, for the following days:

September 12, 2003: The day on which the headlines in the New York Times read “federal appeals court in Washington yesterday rejected the Bush Administration’s effort to avoid releasing documents about Vice President Cheney Energy Task Force.”

read the rest: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/01/hbc-90002219

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