No Longer Operative

It’s Like Old Times! nixon-and-ziegler.jpg

We’ve reached that glorious stage in the White House email scandal where the Bush Administration is denying that which it previously affirmed, leading their opponents to dump the ugly details on the record.

Tiny Terror Henry Waxman hasn’t yet released the text of the 2005 White House document finding 473 whole days worth of emails are gone, along with many suspiciously “light” days. But he’s put out enough to make the Administration look clumsy at best. One of the parties suing the White House over the emails has upped the estimate of the lost to ten million.

Try and follow the ball with White House mouthpiece Tony Fratto:

“Q Tony, on the subject, could you address the missing White House emails and the law suit? It is a subject of reports this morning. Are there in fact the emails missing? What’s the likelihood of their recovery versus the —

MR. FRATTO: I think our review of this, and you saw the court filing on this, and our declaration in response to the judge’s questions — I think to the best of what all the analysis we’ve been able to do, we have absolutely no reason to believe that any emails are missing; there’s no evidence of that. There’s no — we tried to reconstruct some of the work that went into a chart that was entered into court records and could not replicate that or could not authenticate the correctness of the data in that chart. And from everything that we can tell, our analysis of our backup systems, we have no reason to believe that any email at all are missing.

    Q So where are they?

 MR. FRATTO: Where are what?

 Q Where are part of --

MR. FRATTO: Which email? Look, no one will tell you categorically about any system — any system, whether it’s your system at Bloomberg or our system here at the White House, past and present, categorically that data cannot be missing. All of our review of it and all of the our understanding of the way that the backup system works, it’s a backup system that captures existing data, it captures things that are stored and archived. We have no reason to believe that there’s any data missing at all — and we’ve certainly found no evidence of any data missing.

Q So that would mean that if you were asked, you would be in a position to comply with a request to produce those documents?

MR. FRATTO: Yes, which documents? I mean, if someone has a specific request for documents and they would like us to search for particular emails, of course we could search for emails — and we have. And we have been responsive to requests in the past.

Q And they have been produced? They do exist?

MR. FRATTO: We have produced emails upon request, either for our own internal review or sometimes in response to investigations that have taken place on the Hill. I mean, we have been able to go back and find email. The question is, have we been able to find a large mass of missing email? No, we have not located somewhere in the system the absence of something. We have not been able to note the absence of anything in our databases.*

Q You’re saying they’re there, you just haven’t located them yet?

MR. FRATTO: No, I’m saying we have no evidence that shows that anything at all is missing. And you’re saying, well, have you found the missing emails — and we say we have no evidence that anything is missing.

Q So you’re saying that would include emails that were erased from the Republican National Committee system that was used by some White House officials?

MR. FRATTO: I can’t speak to the RNC’s system of archiving and storing email. All I can tell you is that the email on the White House computers, we have no reason to believe that any email or other data are missing.


Q Yes, I want to follow up on that, I’ve taken a real sky view of this particular story, but — so it was wrong to say a few months ago that there were possibly millions of emails missing?

MR. FRATTO: I think those charges came from outside the White House. I think that’s the charge of one of the —

Q One of your colleagues addressed those from the podium and suggested that that was accurate — again, I’m taking —

MR. FRATTO: I’m not sure what was said on that. I can tell you today, though, that we have no evidence and we have no way of showing that any email at all are missing.”

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