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April 10, 2007


The Bushies are going to fight the subpeona; they have to. There's no way in hell they can let those documents and emails see the light of day. Anyone who's been paying attention knows that the Bushies are done, deader than doornails, if they obey the subpeona(s).

So what will they do? Seems to me the WH only has two options:

1. Just ignore the subpeonas, which would mean finding the WH/DoJ in contempt. Does Congress go to the court then? Or send the Sargeant-at-Arms to enforce the subpeonas?

2. Comply in dribs and drabs. This seems a likelier scenario, since it avoids a legal showdown. Unless the Committees call them on it - but can they? They'd be working with an obvious but unprovable assertion that the response is dilatory. Can they issue a contempt order for foot-dragging?

Assuming either one, where does that leave Gonzales' appointment to testify on the 17th?

If the WH delays or ignores the supbpeonas, would Congress reschedule his testimony for after the showdown over the subpeonas? Or would the hearing go forward, and the subpoena fight continue at the same time?

Gonzales still testifies. Even if he resigns first, he still testifies. If he doesn't show, subpoena his ass.

I don't think he's going to show.

CaseyL--I don't see how they're going to fight this. If they miss the deadline, I think Conyers is just going to send the Sergeant-at-Arms over there to confiscate the computers. This has "last chance" written all over it.

I'll agree with Casey, because there's so much there to hide. Part of the problem for the D's is that because they allowed W to pack the courts with ideologues, they may actually lose the rulings even though they have a strong objective case.

It's all about protecting W, Cheney,and Karl, at all costs.

I've got to wonder how many of these computers are up for 'updating of software'. You've got to know the WH is spraying the scrubbing bubbles.

It seems to me that jacking around with these guys allows time to eliminate evidence. Why don't sopeana's fly out to any and all host companies, the RNC, anywhere data may be? The players will never, ever give it up. NFW

Urging "...the Department to image forensically the work stations, laptops, and/or other personal computers..." is like asking a snake to jump, again ain't gonna happen.

It just seems to me that a "drag the feet, scrub a bit, drag, scrub, drag, scrub, play dumb as needed" will be very effective against the approach the committe is taking at the moment. They need to start strong arming these folks, sooner, not later.

Congress is still being to cautious. Start slinging hammers - take control of the narrative. That's what the American people want.

TPM says the DoJ will fight the subpeonas as overly broad and intrusive.

A commenter there noted that neither the Senate nor the House has the authority to "civilly" enforce a subpoena, or a contempt order. I don't know if that means Congress does have authority to enforce a criminal order - and I don't know if Congress has the authority to even issue a criminal citation.

It'll have to go to the courts. That runs out the clock, if nothing else.

Conyers' people came across something big. They have Abu by the short hairs, and they showed just enough to let him know he's screwed no matter what, and big time. And so the subpoena is really just an invitation to get him a little bit off the hook. He's still going to be hooked. If this goes to the Supremes, and it surely will, the DOJ will lose. And though people still talk about running out the clock, remember, it's April 2007, and the clock will run to around September 2008. They've got lots of time, and lots of time to Impeach Bush in December 2008 to cut off the pardons.

All I can say is BRAVO to Conyers! I have been developing major heartburn waiting for someone to recognize that there is a lot more to computer communications than the message itself. With the metadata, there is a lot that can be determined about how the message was routed, who it went to, etc etc.

I just found this site... To 'emptywheel': I love the analysis and your writing!


We don't have that much time. At least in my state (one USA purged, the other seemingly bought off), the voter purge they've got planned will already be well under way.

They need to get Gonzales and Bush out by July 2008 at the latest if we really want to ensure the USA purge doesn't have its desired effect.

Welcome, Sojourner, and thank you.

Oh man, I've been waiting for them to ask for this. I wonder if they'll release the files on their website. If not, I'll happily volunteer to help with the forensics.

Please do, WO, I haven't seen you this engaged since we considered how Rove's Hadley email could have escaped detection. I think we've got a pretty good idea of how that may have happened. But the technical fun, it seems, is just starting.

I'd be curious, btw, if you put a comment up about the full letter to Hertling. I skimmed the interesting non-technical details, but I'm curious if you think Conyers hit all the possible high spots.

I'll go for the let it out in dribs and drabs option. It seems to be the one the White House counsel, Fielding, has been going for so far in an effort not to appear to be completely stone walling. Delay, delay, delay, until the clock runs out.


The House has no civil contempt procedure. The Senate does, but it's not available as against executive branch actors. But either House may avail itself of criminal contempt, either statutory or inherent. Since statutory contempt is prosecuted at the discretion of the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, that's an unlikely route. Inherent contempt, however, is prosecuted and adjudicated by the aggrieved House itself.

That's the only real answer to this problem. Unfortunately, key members of the leadership still believe that going to court is a feasible option. If the "administration" simply flatly defies the subpoenas, I don't think the courts will find a justiciable question, at least in the first instance. I think they'll dismiss it as a political question, at least if the "administration" simply refuses to acknowledge the right of the legislative branch to compel action by the executive.

Thanks, Kagro; that's exactly the information I was looking for.

Assuming the Senate and House do issue contempt orders, is that when the Sgt at Arms has to go serve/enforce them?

Does he take law enforcement officers? Assistants? Dollies and a Mack truck?

Does he have the authority to enter the building, and offices, and take file cabinets, computers, Blackberries, etc.?

I agree with everyone here about the big picture. But I wonder about the "little people" involved.

It is one thing for Fielding to order dribs and drabs to be released, and for gwb to declare "never in hell" and string out the legal case in the courts. I agree with everyone that that is likely.

But what is the liability of the staff attorneys in the Office of Counsel who read and physically segregate documents. When the Dems take over in January 2009 will the loyal service of the staff attorneys look like obstruction of justice?

Are there safe areas, danger areas and gray areas? What can they do safely? What can they safely pretend to know or not know?

And, by the way, who are these people?

Seems to me that Conyers and his staff have been ahead of the blogs suggestions. Is it possible that we should consider how exactly the Sergeant At Arms would go about his/her business? How does that work. Apparently they have the right to arrest and detain even the POTUS. If Conyers doesn't like dicking around, and we have emails proving the gumming to death strategy is in full force, why would he go to the courts?

Also, on the subpoena, at the end it said that the person delivering the documents (is that Alberto?) is "not to depart without leave of said committee or subcommittee." So maybe if Gonzo doesn't produce, they can just lock him away in the House.

I wonder if the WH tech people image the computers (that is, make a copy of all the stuff that's on them) in case they need to restore or rebuild it? Would that include any e-mail that's on it, in Outlook or whatever program they use? Who would have control of the images? Could the committees get hold of those?

(Just thinking off the top of my head. The company I work for does archive e-mails. Don't know for how long, but we're expected to keep the business stuff for legal reasons.)

It might be a good idea to run the Abramoff stuff through again, looking for USA and voting stuff. (I just did a quick pass through).
Susan Ralston was using addresses at rnchq.org in 2001-2002 and georgewbush.com in 2002-2004.
There's also an e-mail from Abramoff complaining about something getting into the WH e-mail system in 2003 (932_001 p 14 of 52, or p 16 of 52 - I was sticking it in a Notepad file and the system hung before I could save or post.)

bcc: data is very important, and I forgot about it. Conyers has good staff.

We still also haven't seen emails originating from RNC servers, only ones cited in .gov server replies. And native format plus metadata also means the revision history of Word documents, which provides dating evidence on docs that had been collaboratively edited.

I hope that Conyers can do a tag-team with Waxmanon this w/r/t security and archiving requirements. Because I'm pretty certain that a free-and-clear backchannel and a security clearance are mutually exclusive.

I realize we're a ways yet from the point where this is a concern, but might not the RNC have a slight problem of its own, you know, potentially, if e-mails discussing obstruction of justice schemes show up on servers it let people use? Especially since they seem to be holding the beneficial end of a lot of those schemes. At least, might they not have to explain some things in public about how they determine who uses their stuff and what kinds of business-like monitoring they do?

I wonder if the party has missed their chance to cut these guys loose—if that were possible.

I read the subpoena earlier today and I was just waiting for Marcy to weight in. I knew you would find the juice. I have never posted to your site. But I read you religiously. You are my hero.

IMO they have evidence of destruction of documents. I think that Henry has the goods.

I don't think they are coming to the party with favors. I think this will be the first round of a ten round bout. It will end up in the courts. Hopefully the SC will stay away as they should. There is enough precedent for them to send it back to where it came from. Fingers and toes are crossed.

You are an angel Marcie!!


I'll say this. Conyers has a good technical staff. I especially like the bit requesting the DOJ to image the computers of folks in the White House and at the RNC. The only bit I'm unclear on is whether he actually requested the physical computers of the people who left the DOJ (Sampson, Goodling, Battle). If I were running this show, I would definitely want those.

It's obvious from the document dumps so far that several important pieces of the puzzle are being held back. For example, we clearly don't have the first version of Sampson's Word document (USA Replacement Plan.doc) because in the earliest version from the document dump, Iglesias has already been tacked on at the end (out of order).

By the way, I'm absolutely serious about volunteering. If Conyers wants help, I'll take the time off from my day job and go to D.C. Piecing this stuff together can be tedious, but it is more rewarding that finishing the Sunday NYT Crossword.

Keep in mind that the more detailed citations were from April 2, when Conyers was still operating under the assumption of cooperation. I think he was just saying, "we'll be wanting Monica's computer," at that point, which would be consistent with his request elsewhere in the letter that they hold onto things.

But then we've got another few layers of escalation before the Seargant at Arms goes and seizes Monica's computer. Luckily, computers don't have Fifth Amendment privileges.

It just dawned on me why Conyers is suspicious of bcc's. There are at least a few occasions where Kyle Sampson forwarded an email his own account. The only reason I've ever seen to do that is so you can bcc somebody else (although in more recent versions of Outlook you don't need to do that, you can bcc somebody without anyone in the to: field). Again, somebody working for Conyers has been around the block a time or two.

Can you explain that a little more, WO?

re WO at 10:30:

I've done that, and so have other people I know: you want a copy of something you're sending out, so you put your own e-mail address in the 'to' field and the other addies in the 'cc' or 'bcc' field, depending on whether you want them to know who all is getting the mail. (Usually I cc or bcc to me.)

EW--Do we assume that Pat Fitzgerald knows about the RNC emails? He is too smart to have missed that trick unless he was lied to about that and told that the RNC emails contained no official White House business? The discovery requests included emails but did they specify emails only from the White House server when KR was doing 90% of his from his RNC account/s?

And one more thing, please WO, call Conyers office, even if their tech person picks your brain to make sure they've covered everything.


Oh, thanks, now I get it. I've done that too.


Take a look at OAG000000239 - 241 (pg. 54-56 of DOJDocsPt7-2070319.pdf). Michael Elston sends an email with the subject "Without Cause" [Quote marks in the original] to Sampson, Scolinos, Roehrkasse, Goodling, and Moschella. Elston sends the email at 10:07 pm on 01/17/2007. At 10:11pm, Sampson hits "Reply All" and responds "Got it." At 1012pm, Sampson forwards the email to his own account. The only reasonable explanation for that is so he could bcc somebody else. I'll make a wild guess that the account that was bcc'ed was kr@georgewbush.com.


Or, at the very least, AGAG. After all, one or the other scenario is what happened with the other forwarded email we were talking about.

In other words, either ROve or AGAG were informed of every step of this process. But they don't want us to know taht.

Rove, obviously. They could never have counted on Alberto keeping things straight.


I don't think AGAG uses email much. On a slightly related note, I think Conyers, et. al., might want to start a conversation with RIM (the Canadian firm that runs the Blackberry Service) to see what they may have in the way of responsive documents.

Agree with both of you--it's most likely Rove. Just wanted to raise the possibility it's AGAG, bc it would explain why he's so damn flummoxed right now. Then again, so would Mimikatz' eplanation: he's flummoxed because he can't keep things straight.

I don't comment much here now, but I do peruse the next hurray every few days to just see what you folks are up to.

I won't bother with the politics, but there are all sorts of technical things that there is a lot of loose thinking here about.

Say Joe sends email43 to Jim, and cc's it to Jane, and bcc's it to Jerry.

In Joe's sent (if saved) box will be an email43 indicating that Jim was direct receipent, that Jane was cc'd. Nothing on the email indicates anything about Jerry.

In the email 43 that Jim received will be the sender Joe, the cc'd Jane, but nothing about Jerry.

In the email43 Jane got will the the sender Joe, the direct receiver Jim, and nothing about Jerry.

In the email 43 that Jerry gets will be the sender Joe an no reference to anyone else.

If you send all bcc, the old way was to adress it to yourself, and then you would have a copy, otherwise you could send it, but you didn't get a copy. However there will be no reference to any of those bcc'd.

Now the code may not work properly and /or there may be info somewhere on a server or mailing unit.

But normally as designed, the systems will not have any references to anyone bcc'd, except on the receipents computers there will be the email itself, if it is saved.

As for congress going over to the WH and grabbing computer, that is kind of silly. If they could get past the secret service, there can be State Secrets, and top secret correspondence etc., on those machines. I don't thing that will get any further than some one's wild imagination.

As for keeping emails. Well, periodically emails are purged by most corporate systems these days, as well as other documents, unless you make an effort to keep them. in fact we have to put purge dates on our documents. All this is quite legal as long as it is standard.

I speak of private email and servers, like the RNC, etc.

I hate it when misinformation floats around here. If you use Outlook and Exchange (as they do at the DOJ, WH EOP, and the RNC), when you send an email to a bcc recipient, that information is most definitely saved with the message if you save your sent items. Whether or not you do, the information exists in the Exchange Server. The exact handling of bcc recipients by Exchange Server and Outlook varies between different versions (and whether or not you have external SMTP recipients on the email).

One other bit of trivia, if you use Exchange and the Blackberry Enterprise Server (and it appears that the RNC does), it is possible for the server admins to add a bcc recipient automatically to all your emails. The end user may not even be aware of that happening.

Well you can thank Tokyo Jodi for being misinformed because she thinks she's smarter than she actually is. Jodi, if you were twice as smart, you'd still be stupid.

Well, periodically emails are purged by most corporate systems these days, as well as other documents, unless you make an effort to keep them.

The company I work at has Outlook automatically archive (not delete) stuff after 30 days. I'd assume that's not unusual at a major company, where there are potential legal issues down the road.

I mentioned that the server or mailing unit might have the bcc within the total sending stream if this is kept. I doubt it is. It depends on the software, and the settings.

Again, many companies including mine periodically "cleanse" their systems.in the mainstream systems by adding purge dates to the files. If you want to keep things, you can classify it as a more permanent file.

As for what the Government offices that are of interest do, I don't know. I would assume if it is just chitter chat they will purge their documents providing it is not on the system that archieves government documents.

In fact to permanently keep documents at my company you have to have a priority. This is to keep the Government or someone suing us from getting our chitter chatter.

Lets be plain here. These accounts outside the government system were for personal and 'political" communications not related to history archivable information. You can argue that they shouldn't have done that but you are barking up the First Admendment tree.

If they want to they can go on the internet to yahoo, or google and use their mail box there. Never ever pop the mail down to their desktop. My personal mail stays on my domain and never comes into the company servers, and it is not in any way illegal.

And William if you use Outlook Express then you get the opposite results you spoke of by default. Again what ever you wish can be attained.

There is a way to keep the original email before being sent if you wish. Actually several.

Just to cite a real case where loose bit of information could be presumed to be dangerous. At a company I was with where a buyout of a competitor was proceeding the Government came and actually took the desk blotter off the CEO's desk and kept it. We don't leave stuff lying around.

"A clean desk is a safe desk."

Everyone seems to forget. Just about anything can be recovered off a hard drive: when something is purged or deleted, it is really just left on there until it is overwritten, which may not ever happen.

Conyers and his staff are requesting the missing 18 minutes. Let's hope he succeeds.

Isn't it funny. The Bushies may go down on this, not on waging an aggressive war, genocide, murder, violations of human rights, etc.

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