Monday, November 12, 2007

Yeah, You MIGHT Want to Follow the Law

Noted with incredulity:

Judge to White House: Hold E-Mails

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge Monday ordered the White House to preserve copies of all its e-mails, a move that Bush administration lawyers had argued strongly against.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy directed the Executive Office of the President to safeguard the material in response to two lawsuits that seek to determine whether the White House has destroyed e-mails in violation of federal law.

In response, the White House said it has been taking steps to preserve copies of all e-mails and will continue to do so. The administration is seeking dismissal of the lawsuits brought by two private groups, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive.

The organizations allege the disappearance of 5 million White House e-mails. The court order issued by Kennedy, an appointee of President Clinton, is directed at maintaining backup tapes which contain copies of White House e-mails.

The Federal Records Act details strict standards prohibiting the destruction of government documents including electronic messages, unless first approved by the archivist of the United States.


The judge's order "should stop any future destruction of e-mails, but the White House stopped archiving its e-mail in 2003 and we don't know if some backup tapes for those e-mails were already taped over before we went to court. It's a mystery," said Meredith Fuchs, a lawyer for the National Security Archive.

Uh, no. It's not a mystery. And if you want to know what the Republicans really think about missing E-mails, just wait until a Democrat says they have a missing E-mail. Why, the foundations of the Republic will likely be shaken to the core and a black cloud of distrust will descend upon America if, for example, President Obama can't locate the archived copy of the joke E-mail his cousin Doug sent him in 1999.

And, better yet--did anyone think the include the Office of the Vice President in that order? Or is he going to claim electronic franking privileges, based on the fact that he's in the legislative branch, at least partway?

The law doesn't apply to these people. The rule of law doesn't apply to these people. Doing what's right doesn't matter to these people.

If there were five million E-mails that detailed how great and wonderful of a job these people were doing, do you really think they would have disappeared? Do you really think that if there was no there there, and that these were mundane, routine E-mails, that they would have disappeared? I wonder why a Federal judge has to tell the White House to obey the law. Is it because there's simply no chance whatsoever that these people have the common decency to obey the law? If so, then why the fuck should anyone accept anything they say? Just once, I'd like to hear a reporter say, "yeah--bullshit. What's really going on? Nothing you're saying could even remotely be true."

I know I've agitated for better Democrats, but a functioning press would also help.

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