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April 12, 2007

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Since emails never really disappear, it seems likely to me that much of this email traffic will emerge. What intrigues me is whether Rove will be acutely anxious about Gonzales being the point man on this, when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, given Gonzales ineptitude throughout this entire fiasco. There's no way I would want "Fredo" covering my backside.

I just have to wonder: What does it take to involve the FBI and seize the servers and personal computers to try to preserve the communications?

FBI is under the control of the Justice Department, meaning Gonzolas is the decider in terms of what they investigate.

But there are other possibilities -- all documents, E-Mail and the rest that fall under the Presidential Records Act, for that the major officer is the US Archivist, who is now Alan Weinstein. It is really his job to see that electronic records are properly filed, preserved, and held in a permenant fashion. For this, there is a staff at the Archives that is supposed to set up the system, and oversee its operation. Servers are not in the WH -- they are off site in the Archives building out in Maryland, with an additional back-up in some super secret location. Remember, Presidential Records also include all the Departments and Agencies, not just the WH.

I realize using the RNC accounts was a means to circumvent this archiving process -- so much will be missing from this system, none the less it is not directly under WH control.

It might be interesting if Waxman or Conyers were to call Weinstein and some of his techs in for a little oversight on how they are meeting their responsibilities under the Presidential Records Act.

Of course, Cheney has been flipping the Archivist and the ISOO the bird for years.

Yes Kargo X, but by law the Archivist is expected to perform this responsibility, and the National Archives, not the WH are budgeted for it. If Alan Weinstein is asked under oath whether he followed the law and fulfilled the assigned tasks, he has to answer. I suspect Waxman will get around to him sooner or later. Maybe sooner as he is the official custodian of the Presidential Records.

Potentially it will be quite a record of lawbreaking.

Gonzales fired the previous Archivist in December 2003. No reason given, though an explanation to congress is required.

John Carlin, the former governor of Kansas who served as the national archivist from 1995 to 2005, says the administration's expansion of executive privilege "was probably the major issue where we as an agency disagreed with the White House." Carlin, who was asked to resign from the National Archives in December 2003 by then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, no explanation given...
Mother Jones


"Someone in the White House was pushing Carlin out the door at the same time they were trying to get Weinstein nominated," said Randall Jimerson, president of the archivists society.
...
The president can remove the archivist, but the law mandates that he must provide Congress with an explanation of his reasons, according to the Society of American Archivists. The group is concerned that the White House did not provide reasons why it asked Carlin, a Democrat and former Kansas governor, to resign. SAA officials worry that the nominating process could force future archivists to feel that they need to toe a party line.
Federal Computer Week (Feb. 2005)

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