This is a follow-up post to this monster with more weedy details for the geeks. I'd like to talk about what recent revelations on email deletions suggest about Karl Rove. I think that--at least with respect to the Plame investigation, the scandal is at least partly about what Rove saved, not what he deleted. I'll show you what I mean by laying out my foundation--all based on the assumption that both the CREW revelations and the Waxman revelations are true (with all responsible caveats about RNC lawyers being liars by their very nature, though if this guy was the same guy who attended the Plame hearing, he doesn't look too tricky).
Here's one important detail from Hubris that helps up pinpoint how Rove came to have that email.
A hard copy of the Hadley-Rove e-mail turned over to Fitzgerald (which was independently obtained by the authors) showed that it had been printed out of Rove's White House computer on November 25, 2003. One of Rove's assistant's, B.J. Goergen, had searched the computer that day at the request of Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin. (377-8)
That tells us that an email dated July 11, 2003, was printed out on November 25, 2003.* This means that the email couldn't have been printed off of the RNC server.
The Rove-Hadley Email Wasn't on the RNC Server
We know that because Rob Kelner just explained to Henry Waxman that:
the RNC has apparently destroyed all e-mail records from the White House
from 2001, 2002, and 2003.
Well, but what if they deleted the emails after Rove printed it out, say, around the time that Ashcroft recused himself? Nope, this email still couldn't have resided on the RNC server.
According to Mr. Kelner, the RNC had a policy, which the RNC called a "document retention" policy, that purged all e-mails from RNC e-mail accounts and the RNC server that was more than 30 days old.
Rove's assistant printed this email out four months after he wrote it. And the RNC had not yet implemented its practice of saving White House emails more than those 30 days (which wouldn't have worked anyway, because Rove would have been deleting them himself). So if this email was printed out in November, then there is no way it came from the RNC server.
The Rove-Hadley Email Wasn't on Normal WH Servers
But neither could the email have been on the normal WH servers. That's because, if it had been on the normal WH server, just about any search they would have used (including Cooper, or Niger) would have returned the email when they did the search at the beginning of October. So we know they weren't on the regular WH server.
Which means this email must be among the 5 million emails destroyed. That tells us two things. First, as CREW described,
The OA undertook a detailed analysis of the issue, which revealed that between March 2003 and October 2005, there were hundreds of days in which emails were missing for one or more of the EOP components subject to the PRA. The OA estimated that roughly over five million email messages were missing.
If I were CREW, I'd be FOIAing that report. But the report seems to outline how the deletions took place: someone deleted entire days for entire departments. Something like:
Command: Delete ALL OPA July 6 to July 14, inclusive
Command: Delete ALL OVP July 6 to July 14, inclusive
That is, the CREW sources seem to suggest that if something is missing, then an entire day of emails would be missing. (Which is why it might have been important that Adam Levine's email, about with Zeidenberg interviewed him in October 2005, was sent on the same day as the Rove-Hadley email.)
If I'm right (though I'd caution that the OA report language is ambiguous), it means someone went in and deleted--at a minimum--all of Rove's emails from July 11, 2003, the day he leaked to Cooper and--potentially--a number of other people.
But there's one more thing:
The WH Email Deletions Happened before October 7, 2003
This is fairly self-evident. If the emails were deleted, and if the email was no longer on the server when the White House did the search before October 7, then that means the deletions happened before the search of the computers. Which is probably why Dana Peroxide was so vague about what day the deletions happened--at least for Rove, it appears to have happened before October 7.
You know. Like maybe on September 30, during the 11 hour gap?
The Rove-Hadley Email Had to Have Been Saved on Rove's Computer
Hopefully, if I'm wrong on this count, William Ockham will correct me. But if the email could not have been on the RNC server and was no longer on the White House server, then presumably it means it was saved onto Rove's hard drive.
Not all that crazy really. But consider the consequences:
- While Rove claimed to have totally forgotten the meeting with Cooper, he had gone through the trouble of saving the email
- Rove had a bunch of Wilson-related emails resident on his computer, again making it much more unlikely that he would forget his involvement in the smear
Kind of makes Rove's story even more unbelievable, huh?
Mr. Rove uses several e-mail accounts, including one with the Republican National Committee, one with the White House and a private domain account that is registered to the political consulting company he once owned.
In other words--we can't be sure he saved the email onto his computer, since it may have been resident on his consulting company's server.
*Btw, speaking of unbelievable, I've got a wildarsed guess-explanation for the date on which the email was printed off, November 25, 2003. You see, the FBI seem to have worked in a pattern, repeating interviews with the same kind of people around the same time difference from each other and so on.
Libby was interviewed a second time on November 26, 2003. At that interview, he was asked (for the first time) to sign a waiver freeing journalists he had spoken to of confidentiality. What if Rove had a similar second interview in late November, too? Again, it's a big speculation. But it certainly would explain why Luskin would want to know which journalists might be subpoenaed if Rove did waive his confidentiality.