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22 Million Missing Bush White House Emails Found

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the back-from-the-shredders dept.

The Courts 326

ctmurray writes "Computer technicians have found 22 million missing White House e-mails from the administration of President George W. Bush, and the Obama administration is searching for dozens more days' worth of potentially lost e-mail from the Bush years, according to two groups that had filed a lawsuit — which has now been dropped — over the failure by the Bush White House to install an electronic record-keeping system. Earlier we discussed the Obama White House's opposition to the lawsuit that led to this discovery." The related links reflect our discussions about the missing emails over two years.

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326 comments

Love the spin (1, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452160)

I love the spin that is being put on this: "found", "technical problems", etc. - esp in the Washington Post. These e-mails just happened to have technical problems and get "lost" when 10 of the senior members of the Bush/Cheney Administration where under investigation concerning a conspiracy to violate foreign intelligence secrecy laws. Just happened to get "lost", yessirree.

sPh

Re:Love the spin (5, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452200)

If it really was a coverup, then they would have been deleted completely.

If I can reformat a drive to DoD 5225-22 M and find someone to destructively dispose of a disk, you don't think the USAF folks in charge of White House communications can if they were ordered too? Same goes for civilians working at the White House. If the Bush administration really wanted emails to "get lost", they would have.

Re:Love the spin (5, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452236)

No, because the Bush/Cheney administration are incredibly talented at pulling one of the biggest conspiracies in the history of the US while being inept, ignorant, uneducated, stupid, and a horrible public speaker. In other words, one of the smartest stupid educated ignorant uneducated charismatic foot-in-mouther guys in the world was just POTUS and deceived the entire world while completely ruining - in secret, mind you - the US economy.

And for the next X years, anything that goes wrong with foreign diplomacy, military conflicts, or the US economy is Bush's fault that Obama (or whoever else) is "cleaning up" with "tried and proven methods" of some sort (that apparently we have known about since the 30s but I guess nobody wants to try them; that or they've been tried and failed but we don't want to admit it).

-1 Flamebait, but oh well.

-1 Fire Insurance Line Was Included ;)

Re:Love the spin (5, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452292)

> No, because the Bush/Cheney administration are incredibly talented at
> pulling one of the biggest conspiracies in the history of the US while
> being inept, ignorant, uneducated, stupid, and a horrible public speaker.

Bush may or may not have been inept; on that we will actually will have to wait for the verdict of history. Cheney was however one of the most stunningly successful senior executives in US history, getting more of his agenda accomplished than any other President except FDR and possibly more than him as well (so much is still classified so we don't and may never know). To call Cheney "stupid" or "inept" is, well, foolish.

And if it is impossible for a large group to keep a secret in Washington DC, answer me this: besides Libby, Addington, and Yoo, who were the other 37 members of Cheney's staff from 2001-2009? Oh wait, their names, salaries, titles, and duties were kept secret for 8 years, Cheney used his self-granted power to classify the information secret, and it never leaked. Nor did the members or agenda of Cheney's 2001 oil conference ever leak. Again, after the events of 2002-2006 to say it is not possible to manage a secret concerted effort in DC is foolish.

sPh

Re:Love the spin (5, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452378)

Bush may or may not have been inept; on that we will actually will have to wait for the verdict of history.

Then you aren't the type of person/attitude I was sarcastically aiming at :)

To call Cheney "stupid" or "inept" is, well, foolish.

I agree.

And if it is impossible for a large group to keep a secret in Washington DC, answer me this:

It's certainly not impossible; and while investigating is fine and I don't have a problem with that, many seem to run rampant with conspiracy theories based on nothing more than the fact that they don't know (even though with some of them, we probably do know, but it doesn't suit their particular political bent - whether R. or D.).

I was primarily venting because I get tired of - and not you, apparently - various people attacking Bush (or Obama, for that matter) as being both exceedingly cunning/educated/knowledgeable-about-everything-going-on and stupid/ignorant/high-school-dropout. Slightly exaggerated, depending on who you talk to. "My" side - since conservatives tend to be Republicans - do it with Obama, too. Obama is well on his way, apparently, to turn the US into a Muslim country, to completely ruin the country economically and to ruin health care, all the while being ignorant, inept, and completely inexperienced.

I actually disagree very strongly with Obama on many issues... unfortunately, when many people disagree, they get angry; and when angry, they apparently don't think rationally and start accusing of even contradictory things....

Re:Love the spin (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452656)

>> Bush may or may not have been inept; on that we will actually
>> will have to wait for the verdict of history.

> Then you aren't the type of person/attitude I was sarcastically aiming at :)

I suspect I will have to disappoint you then: personally I think the verdict on the outcomes of W Bush's /policies and actions/ is already in, and those outcomes were, are, and will be for the (now shortened) lifespan of the United States colossally bad. However, whether Bush was inept or was actually very ept and wily in executing those bad policies is something that will only become clear after a long time and with the release of such records as may still exist.

sPh

Re:Love the spin (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452816)

Everyone does the best he can. Why do we consider politicians to be some sort of know-it-all superheroes? They don't have the easy answers to the complicated problems either. If they did, a lot more people would because, guess what, they're not the smartest, best informed people on the planet.

A politician, at least a successful one, is usually good at one thing: Being a politician. Getting elected. That does not necessarily entail being a cunning businessman, an experienced expert for social problems, a perfectly rounded diplomat and a top of the line scientist all rolled into one. If anything, he might be a diplomat. If that.

Yes, they usually have advisors for the various areas. But they, too, have their own agendas which are not necessarily the same that would get the country ahead. Simply because they won't have to bear the fallout if (or when) people figure out that that oh so smart move and that great push ahead was anything but beneficial.

We tend to blame politicians for the blunders that happen. What we should do is look who actually made them do what they did. Usually it's not the politician's idea. It's not their job to have ideas. It's their job to get elected.

How Muslim? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453068)

Obama is well on his way, apparently, to turn the US into a Muslim country

How? Which planks of his platform are directly aligned with the Qur'an, especially with the differences between the Qur'an and the Christian Bible?

Re:Love the spin (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452404)

Re-reading, though, I still think there's a problem; if Cheney was so good at keeping these things a secret, you'd think his secret-keeping IT staff would have deleted the e-mails from backups, too, as WyattEarp said.

Even I would have done that if I were trying to cover up something that badly.

Something, at least, seems fishy there.

Re:Love the spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452460)

Please keep your conspiracy theories to yourselves until I'm finished writ^D^D^D^Dfinding all the incriminating "lost" email.

Re:Love the spin (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30453008)

Re-reading, though, I still think there's a problem; if Cheney was so good at keeping these things a secret, you'd think his secret-keeping IT staff would have deleted the e-mails from backups, too, as WyattEarp said.

Even I would have done that if I were trying to cover up something that badly.

Something, at least, seems fishy there.

I'll contribute to the conspiracy theories!

Perhaps 18 months was how long they needed to sort through 22 million emails and remove any traces of illegal activity. Now that the emails have been sanitized, they have been miraculously "found".

Or, perhaps the provided reason for discovery points to why these email were not deleted... they were mislabeled as backups for a different system and thus never destroyed by the Cheney-ites. We may be days away from announcements of indictments against the Bush Administration!

Or, maybe the IT Staff were just incompetent and these emails will ultimately be meaningless.

This is fun!

Re:Love the spin (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452428)

We pretty much now know Bush was inept. So Inept Cheney illegally routed information into the Vice presidents office that was only suppose to go to the president, and the president didn't know.

In-fucking-ept.

Re:Love the spin (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452720)

So inept that, despite having this on this:
http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/pdb080601.pdf
on his desk in August of 2001, he still remained in that classroom for ten minutes until after the *second* tower was hit.

But when he stood on that preventable rubble and the bodies it held to deliver his speech, tears were shed and all was forgiven. And when he and Cheney falsely implied that Iraq had something to do with it, they were given the benefit of a doubt (not by the international intelligence community, or by their advisers, but by the American public).

So yeah, it's we who are inept. CannonballHead was right about everything except Bush (and his administration, but it's mostly Bush who gets this rap) being "ignorant, uneducated, stupid." It wasn't a weird coincidence that he went around saying "evil doers" despite having a stable of professional speechwriters, or that he and his press secretaries never apologized for anything in a time of war. They had good PR men and they understood the emotional needs of a frightened country. That never really struck me as dumb. It didn't strike me as ethical either, but that goes without saying.

Re:Love the spin (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453210)

No, because the Bush/Cheney administration are incredibly talented at pulling one of the biggest conspiracies in the history of the US while being inept, ignorant, uneducated, stupid, and a horrible public speaker. In other words, one of the smartest stupid educated ignorant uneducated charismatic foot-in-mouther guys in the world was just POTUS and deceived the entire world while completely ruining - in secret, mind you - the US economy.

Uh, yeah. Bush and Cheney were secretly planning to ruin the economy because.... well just because they are evil.

As for who ruined the economy, and whose holding it down, if you will take the time to read the Constitution, you will learn that it is not the executive branch at all that controls the economy, but the legislative branch. So blaming Bush/Cheney or Obama/Biden really just shows ignorance. Congress controls the purse strings. I don't know if you old enough to remember, but just a few years ago, the economy was going gang-busters. When Bush took over, there was a slight recession, 9-11 made it worse, then one hell of a boom. The economy was going so well that the US government took in record tax receipts even *after* Bush's"tax cuts to the rich" (I got a tax cut. I had no idea that 50k/yr made you rich!) Then the economy tanked. What changed? Here's another hint, it rhymes with congress. The same party that took over congress then is still in control, and what do you know... the economy is still in the tank.

So, please, don't blame Bush or even Obama. It's not their fault. They just sign bills, boss the military around, and appoint judges (that still need Senate approval).

Re:Love the spin (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453252)

Interesting - a couple of Cheney fans with mod points apparently just hit the thread. Hi guys!

sPh

Re:Love the spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452422)

Sure, let me just casually reformat this 22 million emails worth of backup tape...

Re:Love the spin (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452826)

Sure, let me just casually reformat this 22 million emails worth of backup tape...

See, this is why you'd never make it as a Sooper Seeekrit Government Squirrel. Everyone knows that backup tapes should be burned, not reformatted.

Anyway, 22 million e-mails is what ... 1 terabyte? What's the big deal?

Re:Love the spin (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453154)

It was 22 million chain letters with lolcat powerpoint presentations attached, so at least 5 terabytes.

Re:Love the spin (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452498)

As any mob boss will tell you, just because you tell the 'lackeys' to 'disappear' the evidence, doesn't mean they actually will. It just means it'll go away for a while.

Especially if they have a good idea that you are on the way out and a new boss is on the way in.

Re:Love the spin (4, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452920)

It may just be that the "lackeys" knew that it was wrong to destroy the emails and so they got rid of them only to the extent that an average executive (or below average president) would understand.

Re:Love the spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30453096)

It may just be that the "lackeys" knew that it was wrong to destroy the emails and so they got rid of them only to the extent that an average executive (or below average president) would understand.

Any backup administrator who has ever been asked to "delete X, Y and Z", would understand.

"Deletion" of something specific from a sufficiently complicated (and audited) backup environment is almost impossible to guarantee for a number of reasons, and on top of those, this case involves email which could be recorded almost anywhere even outside your own system. Yah, you could fudge the auditing if you were in a position to do so, but it is next to impossible to hide the fact that you hid something. Take my word, the EOP has & HAD a sufficiently complicated & audited backup environment. Of course, a couple of years is enough time to hide about anything with a high degree of success..

Re:Love the spin (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452620)

If it really was a coverup, then they would have been deleted completely.

Not necessarily, because if evidence of that deletion was found, then that in itself would have led to prosecutions. Violating the archiving laws is a serious crime, and letting the special prosecutor get them with an Al Capone gambit would have been foolish. No, much better that the data be "lost", as in present but unavailable for current use. After all, the e-mails would only have to stay missing until the investigation was concluded. Then the emails show up again, and voila -- as far as the official record goes, the Bush administration violated neither intelligence nor data archival laws.

Of course there's a simpler explanation. As TFA states: "Records released as a result of the lawsuits reveal that the Bush White House was aware during the president's first term in office that the e-mail system had serious archiving problems". So odds are that it was simply that their archival system sucked and it really did lose the emails accidentally. Sure one could argue that having a system that accidentally loses emails is convenient if you want to "accidentally" lose some emails without it being obvious, but again according to TFA they did try to get Microsoft's help to fix it before the issue even became public. And evidently failed.

Which is somewhat related to the topic my sibling post pointed out, the always droll "How can Bush be both an evil genius and a complete moron at the same time?" Well the obvious answer is that most people are some combination of smart and stupid at the same time. The Bush Admin being a perfect example. They were collectively extremely smart at getting the nation to think a war of choice was a necessity, yet they were terrible at prosecuting said war. They were great at political manipulations and neutering opponents, yet terrible at leveraging that advantage to achieve results. They were geniuses at filling positions with cronies and yes-men, but morons at hiring people who were actually competent -- including the IT department, apparently.

Anyway, getting back to the topic of these emails and how hiding them for only a short time is sufficient, the National Security Archive who the former White House spokesmen slams as "liberal" and "distorting the facts" demonstrates this clearly. They might be liberal, though they uncover dirt on liberal Presidents like Kennedy, and regardless I don't see how their liberal bias can modify the contents of documents received via FOIA. If you didn't know whether to believe that the U.S. government, and specifically Oliver North, were aware the Contras were smuggling drugs into the U.S. and approved of this [gwu.edu], well, here's the U.S. government telling you in black and white. But it doesn't matter anymore, at least as far as North et. al. are concerned, now does it?

Re:Love the spin (4, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452712)

Brilliant analysis. I would also add that you have to factor in Karl Rove retaining his e-mail account and Blackberry on the Republican National Committee server, which was not covered by the Presidential Records Act, for use in his role managing the Republican Party, and then conveniently "forgetting" to switch back to his White House userid when he handled e-mail related to official government business in his government-salaried job. Potentially including the routing of classified information through the non-secure RNC system.

sPh

Re:Love the spin (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452842)

They were geniuses at filling positions with cronies and yes-men, but morons at hiring people who were actually competent -- including the IT department, apparently.

That's what they get for recruiting from slashdot.

Re:Love the spin (1)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453188)

Wait... Bush being smart and stupid at the same time is perfectly normal. And you support this claim with an example... which is Bush being smart and stupid at the same time.

It's like a perfect storm of bad reasoning.

Re:Love the spin (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453198)

"Not necessarily, because if evidence of that deletion was found, then that in itself would have led to prosecutions."

So, you created a nice straw man hypothetical. The issue of the GPP is that the emails were not deleted, therefore there was no cover up. We don't have evidence (reported) that there was any deletion attempt (or success). That 22mio emails were found suggests something other than a cover up. You are right, _had they deleted emails_ that would have suggested a possible cover up. But, they _had not deleted_ emails. Therefore, your point is moot.

Re:Love the spin (1, Troll)

Weirsbaski (585954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452978)

If it really was a coverup, then they would have been deleted completely.

and if it really was unintentional, then they would've taken less than "new administration plus year+" to find them.

Maybe it was an accident, and they found them on some unlabeled backup tape. Maybe it was an accident, and this is the first time they thought of using low-level disk tools to undelete. Or maybe it was intentional, and someone doing the grunt work "forgot" to "accidently delete" the backup tapes (in a whistle-blower kind of way). But the intense secrecy ethic of Cheney-Rove run administration (c'mon, it's true) combined with a "nothing could be gained by telling exactly what happened" reasoning now, we'll never really know.

Re:Love the spin (1)

puppetman (131489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453032)

Unless this computer was retired and moved out of the Whitehouse before the emails were deleted.

The emails accumulated over *years*, and then they all disappeared. Well, I am sure they ended up on several, if not dozens of computers. Even if they were deleted on purpose, there may be computer eye-witnesses that weren't "eliminated". Maybe a hope PC that was used for work - connecting to a VPN, downloading your email, but not really understanding there is a local copy. Then you donate your PC to some charity, and suddenly George, Dick, and the rest of the criminals have sweaty palms.

Regardless, the US political system is dominated by the corporation. I don't have much faith that anything they do is for the common good. See Empire of Illusion [amazon.com], specifically the last chapter.

Re:Love the spin (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452334)

To be fair, it's logically consistent that emails should only become lost when someone has the need to look for them.

Re:Love the spin (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:Love the spin (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452786)

These emails, were actually "found" while Bush was still in office:
"Former Bush White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the 22 million e-mails already had been recovered while Bush was still in office and that misleading statements about the former administration's work demonstrate "a continued anti-Bush agenda, nearly a year after a new president was sworn in."

http://www.military.com/news/article/22m-missing-bush-wh-emails-found.html

I wonder when Slashdot will start to cover the ENTIRE story.

Love the incompetence (1)

Nyckname (240456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452970)

They couldn't even destroy the evidence effectively. At least Reagan could run a paper shredder.

Re:Love the spin (3, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453126)

I love the spin that is being put on this: "found", "technical problems", etc. - esp in the Washington Post. These e-mails just happened to have technical problems and get "lost" when 10 of the senior members of the Bush/Cheney Administration where under investigation concerning a conspiracy to violate foreign intelligence secrecy laws. Just happened to get "lost", yessirree.

sPh

If you talking about the Valerie Plame thing, it turns out that there was no cover up because it wasn't the administration that leaked the name. Remember Dick Armitage [cnn.com]?

However, I will say that the administration didn't want an investigation into that leading to something else. I remember another president was being investigated for something he was cleared of (Whitewater) and ended up getting into trouble from something completely unrelated (Lewinski).

Re:Love the spin (2, Informative)

sphealey (2855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453226)

> If you talking about the Valerie Plame thing, it turns out that there was
> no cover up because it wasn't the administration that leaked the name.
> Remember Dick Armitage

Remember that Patrick Fitzgerald said he could not complete his investigation because of the conspiracy to obstruct justice, and that there was "a cloud over the Office of the Vice-President"? Remember that Novak testified that Armitage leaked the information to him, but that in no way proved that Armitage was the only person who leaked information, or even that Armitage was the first to leak? Remember the notes in Libby's handwriting on the typed minutes of his meetings with Cheney?

sPh

Re:Love the spin (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453242)

The "technical problem" was putting someone whose first job was VP of a Bank in charge of White House IT. It's amazing how close things were getting to a badly run feudal monarchy.

TWO DAY OLD NEWS (-1, Troll)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452170)

Why is this even showing up on Slashdot? Has Slashdot become the DIGG duplicator?

Re:TWO DAY OLD NEWS (5, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452266)

Slashdot has never really been the place to come for the latest news. It is however, the best place to discuss news.

Re:TWO DAY OLD NEWS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452838)

If what you say is true (and I note that 7 digit ID of yours), then Slashdot's tagline should read "Discussion for nerds. Stuff that matters."

Years ago Slashdot was a cutting-edge source for nerd-worthy news. It's long-since been surpassed by other news websites. Today it's really just a shadow of its former self.

Re:TWO DAY OLD NEWS (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452908)

If Slashdot's primary function was to simply present a news story without regard to comments, there'd be little need for a moderation system or comments for that matter. The only reason Slashdot got as far as it did was the moderation system that allows fruitful discussion of articles. Without it, Slashdot would be long dead.

Re:TWO DAY OLD NEWS (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453054)

Back then it didn't have the same number of users and the same quantity of good discussion. It's not dying, it's changing.

Re:TWO DAY OLD NEWS (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453250)

Slashdot has never really been the place to come for the latest news.

I'm not so sure that I can agree with that. It may or may not compete with digg (not having ever visited digg I can't compare the two) but I often see stories pop up on the so-called "mainstream media" (CNN, MSNBC) sites a week or two after they are featured here. I've noticed this with a lot of technology articles but /. also seems to beat them to the punch on various political issues as well, particularly those that focus on our civil liberties and online rights.

This time they didn't -- I saw this story on CNN a few days ago -- but they often do.

Re:TWO DAY OLD NEWS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452302)

Anyone who comes to Slashdot to read the news is an absolute idiot. There are just a million sites out there that are much better and that don't need to spin every story into a sensationalistic storm.

Wait (5, Insightful)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452188)

Are we to understand that it was the people in Bush's white house that failed, and not "the gubbermint"? Nonsense and tosh! If people are the root cause of government's failures then the party of "government sucks" has some mirror-gazing to do.

Re:Wait (1, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452386)

Oh I wouldn't be so quick to defend the democrats either. Most of congress was right there with Bush on a number of controversial issues up to and including when the democrats had control. Both parties are guilty as frak and you'd have to be extraordinarily naive to believe that that kind of corruption and failure will be limited to Bush and friends.

Re:Wait (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452414)

Who's defending the Democrats? I'm challenging the notion that "government" is more prone to corruption and incompetence than "people" in general..

Re:Wait (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452692)

The government is made up of people in a very high position of power. There's no reason to believe that they're any less corruptible than anyone else. The abuses of power continue despite Bush's administration being replaced. The government as a whole did fail. It wasn't something that was solely Bush's doing; it was and continues to be systemic.

Re:Wait (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452960)

I'm challenging the notion that "government" is more prone to corruption and incompetence than "people" in general..

The difference between government and ordinary people? Opportunity. Back to you.

Re:Wait (1, Troll)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452856)

Are we to understand that it was the people in Bush's white house that failed, and not "the gubbermint"? Nonsense and tosh!

Clinton's Administration didn't seem to have a problem with archiving e-mails.
I imagine that if Obama's Administration was having problems, we'd know about it by now.
So with that in mind, I'm going to go ahead and say that yes, it was the people in Bush's white house that failed.

Re:Wait (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30453262)

Clinton's Administration didn't seem to have a problem with archiving e-mails

Yeah, but they did have problems with "missing" legal billing records, sought after by special prosecutors for years, turning up on a table in the private residence in the White House after they'd been given up on. Gosh, how mysterious. They did have a problem with raking in cash from fugitives and felons, and then issuing them pardons in the last minutes of Clinton's presidency ... and our current Attorney General was right there helping. If you really think that the people running Clinton's administration were fresh as daisies and ethical, you're ... wrong.

Mystery solved (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452192)

At least they know what that lump in the carpet was.

Now the truth will come out... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452194)

Laura and Tiger have been lovers since '03!

If they were "Lost" then they were "Found" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452222)

It probably just took this long for a large group of monkeys to re-create the same volume of "mail"

Re:If they were "Lost" then they were "Found" (2, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452264)

Oh how I miss the days of being able to compare Presidents to monkeys and chimps.

The Ones I'm looking for: (3, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452232)

From: Dick Cheney
We need to destroy freedom to save it. I want to track everything. I want to track every keystroke on every computer ever. We will all feel safer when ther eis no safety from our snooping.

From: George W. Bush
I think my mind is a terrible fool thing again, hey what was that song by the Who?

From: ATT
Dear Mr President - it is all set up. Just pick up your phone reciever and press STAR 6 6 6. This will allow you to instantly listen to conversations by REAL LIVE TERRORISTS. It might SOUND like someone ordering pizza, but really, THEY ARE ORDERING OUR DESTRUCTION! Ask Cheney - he'll tell ya.

Standard IT issues (4, Interesting)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452246)

"The liberal groups CREW and National Security Archive litigate for sport, distort the facts and have consistently tried to create a spooky conspiracy out of standard IT issues" - Former Bush White House spokesman Scott Stanzel

Yeah, those stupid liberal groups are just out to hodgepodge the truth again. All we did was violate 2 federal laws by not keeping records of our communications, and had insanely incompetent I.T. staff at this, the richest and most powerful country in the world. What a bunch of baloney. Just an honest mistake. Tens of millions of e-mails, big whoop. Wanna fight about it?

Re:Standard IT issues (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452472)

It's not beyond belief that the e-mails were mislabeled when they were archived. That kind of thing happens often enough in more than one business....civil service being what it is I think it highly likely it actually happened the way they say. If Bush and company really wanted the e-mails gone I doubt they would have ever turned up again. It's far too easy to dispose of data...hell....it's difficult to keep it.

Re:Standard IT issues (-1, Troll)

Svartalfar (867908) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452560)

Maybe Bush thought by running our economy into the ground we couldn't use the richest and most powerful country in the world argument. Which exonerates his supposedly terrible IT staff.

Re:Standard IT issues (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452982)

I'm sorry but I cannot believe that some people on Slashdot still think Pres. Bush is responsible for our country's economic problems. His fiscal policies did not help (unless you are a Keynesian economist; in that case him starting two wars and increasing government spending {technically Congress started the wars and increased the spending, but we'll ignore that fact like many liberals conveniently do} actually helped the economy) but our economic problems were not caused by Pres. Bush any more than they were caused by FDR or JFK or Nixon or Reagan or Clinton. If you blame anyone, blame Congress but I think we the people are the most to blame for our unreasonable spending.

Re:Standard IT issues (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452806)

Yeah, those stupid liberal groups are just out to hodgepodge the truth again. All we did was violate 2 federal laws by not keeping records of our communications, and had insanely incompetent I.T. staff at this, the richest and most powerful country in the world. What a bunch of baloney. Just an honest mistake. Tens of millions of e-mails, big whoop. Wanna fight about it?

If this wasn't purely about politics, where were their fucking lawsuits when the Clinton-Gore administration lost emails [judicialwatch.org]?

LK

Re:Standard IT issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30453240)

Have you been to the recovery.gov site to look over their useless (GIGO) data?

Lesson learned for the Bush regime. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452272)

Next time, do: # dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda

20 million? Hard to believe! (4, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452308)

It's hard to believe that the former Bush Administration edited 22 million emails.

That would mean at least 7,500 emails per day including weekends and holidays; and at least 5 emails per minute.

Now, just tell me who in Bush's administration was spewing such an amount of email.

Re:20 million? Hard to believe! (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452440)

Do you assume it's one person? What if it was 10 people? What if it was 100? What if it was 1000?

If you work a 40-hour work week, there are 2080 hours per year when you work. Over 8 years, one person working a full-time job with no overtime works 16,640 hours. If you've got 100 people working full-time for 8 years, that equates to 13 emails per hour per person. Now imagine if they work 60 hour weeks, or 80 hour weeks. 5-10 emails per hour doesn't seem all that outlandish when you're helping run a country.

Re:20 million? Hard to believe! (4, Interesting)

varmittang (849469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452688)

Don't forget CC emails probably count as multiples. So say one person sends an email and CCs 9 others, that 10 emails in total. Then you possibly need to include the Sent folder, so add another email on top of that. Making 11 emails in total for just one sent email in this situation.

Re:20 million? Hard to believe! (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452444)

Just think of how many people would be considered to be part of the Bush administration and multiply that by the number of emails per day and any duplicates and it becomes fairly easy to see how this many emails could be sent.

Re:20 million? Hard to believe! (1)

MTO_B. (814477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452522)

I'd guess incoming email also counts, so that figure even looks low to me when I personally might be getting half a million spam messages per day. I guess at least they did have some spam filter or the number would be much higher.

Re:20 million? Hard to believe! (2, Informative)

GasparGMSwordsman (753396) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452546)

It's hard to believe that the former Bush Administration edited 22 million emails.

That would mean at least 7,500 emails per day including weekends and holidays; and at least 5 emails per minute.

Now, just tell me who in Bush's administration was spewing such an amount of email.

There are approx. 1,700 White House staff. This is not counting OEOB staff that works across the street or other Executive branch personnel that most likely would have there email grouped with the White House archives.

If you use your figures (approx. 7,500 emails per day) then with just the White House staff that is about 4.5 emails per person per day that were lost.

Now my understanding is that these emails were "lost" in only a couple years and not over the whole 8 years so the above figures would be a higher per person per day count than that. I do think you will agree that 5 emails per day is relatively easy to write/receive/edit/delete or what ever else you want to do.

Having said all that, I think that most likely issue here is that the IT staff were incompetent and didn't know A) where the emails were being stored, B) how to access them.

Re:20 million? Hard to believe! (4, Interesting)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452682)

That happens when you change from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange.

It is amazing that this many were recoverable at all.

Perhaps someone in IT considered the possibility that the
migration to Exchange would fail, and kept feeding all of the
e-mails to another set of servers for, you know, safekeeping.

The only person here who's not an asstard (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452796)

The only person on this website who's not an asstard just responded with the only post that isn't fucking uninformed, stupid and wrong. Thank you.

Re:20 million? Hard to believe! (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452760)

I find it hard to believe you spent more time typing out that post than the amount of time it would have taken to think up the answer on your own. And yet, here we are.

"Found" (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452382)

Options :-

1 - They were down the back of the Oval Office sofa the whole time.

2 - They were hidden in some storage area, possibly the fifty-first area, which of course, doesn't exist in our universe for large percentages of the time.

3 - They were stored under the water-boarding rig at Gitmo, and they had to wait for them all to dry out.

I mean, really, is it any wonder that conspiracy theories are born, when a simple archive of data can mysteriously "disappear" and then even more mysteriously "reappear" after a couple of years.

Re:"Found" (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452482)

Makes me curious what happened to those tapes in the meantime...
Maybe there is a gap or two a la the watergate tapes.

Re:"Found" (1)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452548)

No, no. They were uploaded to AT&T's 3G network (sort of an online backup, y'know), and it took all year to download them again via an iPhone!

Fundraiser? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452442)

Why doesn't the government try and make some money off of this? I mean, they could sell all the White House emails to Google -- $1/email -- and then google could set up a search engine for them. Something like, whitehouseemails.google.com [google.com], and we can search through them? Of course, they'd have to go through a security screen first, but still, I bet all the pundits on the right AND the left would go nuts over having access to something like this? =)

Never really missing... (5, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452514)

The tapes were all turned over to the National Archives, the existence of them has been known for over two years. It was just a matter of sorting through the sixty thousand or so to find the backups mentioned in the article. It doesn't appear any attempt was ever made to hide or destroy anything, just sloppy record-keeping. Will be interesting to see if anything significant is found, but I predict the conspiracy theorists are going to be very disappointed.

Re:Never really missing... (1)

zippyspringboard (1483595) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452750)

I predict the conspiracy theorists are going to be very disappointed.

An easy prediction. If they are wrong we are not having the wool pulled over our eyes by a conspiring govt. If they are right then said govt wouldn't dare release the incriminating evidence!

Re:Never really missing... (5, Insightful)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452940)

Conspiracy theorists are NEVER disappointed. If they find the evidence, that is proof of the conspiracy. If they find NO evidence, that is proof that the conspiracy runs even deeper than suspected.

It's not all of them (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452530)

The thing is that it's not all of them. I would guess the emails people really want to see won't be found.

Re:It's not all of them (3, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452628)

Any really damning stuff would not be in emails to begin with. Cheney learned a lot during his time in the Nixon White House.

An all-time lawsuit low... (2, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452674)

"...two groups that had filed a lawsuit — which has now been dropped — over the failure by the Bush White House to install an electronic record-keeping system.

what exactly is the fucking point over a lawsuit to prove that one of the most secretive components of our Government actually saved data that is very well likely to be CLASSIFIED to begin with? Did these groups or the lawyers actually think they were going to be allowed to see the "hard evidence" of this? Give me a fucking break.

Regardless of how you may feel about Bush and the job that Administration did, this is an utterly pointless lawsuit that reeks of bashing one(of many) "rough" Administrations. Not to mention the fact that the current Administration sure as hell was opposed to this kind of lawsuit setting ANY sort of precedent, which obviously goes to show you that no matter who is in charge or their political affiliation, NOBODY wants this information out on ANY Administration.

Re:An all-time lawsuit low... (1)

HistoryNerd (325402) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452880)

Actually there is a huge point even if some of the emails actually are classified. (Normally for most of them there will simply be delay until the public can see them but they actually won't be classified.)

The key is that over time classified documents do become declassified, with this often occurring 25 years after the fact, and a large portion of such records becoming declassified after 50 years. (While a favorable Presidential administration might potentially hold off declassifying for dubious reasons, sooner or later a Presidential administration with different views is going to come along and reverse that decision.) This means eventually historians and others can get access to these emails and come to their own judgments about the Bush administration. In other words this provides the threat to future Presidential administrations that they will eventually be shamed by the unfavorable judgement of future historians and others for their misconduct. (It also will provide information which can be flat out useful for general future research by historians period.)

Re:An all-time lawsuit low... (1)

HistoryNerd (325402) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452938)

To be clear here, without this lawsuit there was a real question whether these emails would actually be saved for posterity at all. While they apparently are currently in a state where they could be recovered, if they were just left abandoned or outright thrown out, they would never be viewable at that point. While there may be limited short term payoff, there is the long term issue of eventual public accountability. (With emails becoming public after 7 years for instance potentially having actual consequences for former members of the Bush administration.)

It should be noted that there are genuine emails it probably is in the interests of the US as a whole to restrict from public access for awhile. I.E. where we have spies placed in North Korea and Iran, or simply pretty insulting sentiments about specific leaders of other countries. (If you knew the moment an administration left office such a view on the leader would be made public, you would be reluctant in many cases to give an honest opinion via email period.)

Re:An all-time lawsuit low... (2, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452902)

what exactly is the fucking point over a lawsuit to prove that one of the most secretive components of our Government actually saved data that is very well likely to be CLASSIFIED to begin with? Did these groups or the lawyers actually think they were going to be allowed to see the "hard evidence" of this? Give me a fucking break.

Your post, sir/ma'am, is full of fail.

If we were talking about e-mails on a classified network, then the data would be gone. The process for cleaning a hard drive of classified information is to randomly overwrite the HDD with random bits no fewer than five times ... and then degauss the son of a bitch.

Now, if we were talking about classified information on an unclassified system, that's practically a cyber-oil spill, and I imagine the press would have been all over it.

So, no. We're talking about information that's maybe For Official Use Only or Law Enforcement Sensitive. And the more of it the American public gets to see, the better.

Re:An all-time lawsuit low... (2, Informative)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452980)

what exactly is the fucking point over a lawsuit to prove that one of the most secretive components of our Government actually saved data that is very well likely to be CLASSIFIED to begin with? Did these groups or the lawyers actually think they were going to be allowed to see the "hard evidence" of this? Give me a fucking break.

Your post, sir/ma'am, is full of fail.

If we were talking about e-mails on a classified network, then the data would be gone. The process for cleaning a hard drive of classified information is to randomly overwrite the HDD with random bits no fewer than five times ... and then degauss the son of a bitch.

Now, if we were talking about classified information on an unclassified system, that's practically a cyber-oil spill, and I imagine the press would have been all over it.

So, no. We're talking about information that's maybe For Official Use Only or Law Enforcement Sensitive. And the more of it the American public gets to see, the better.

Actually, the latest procedures do not allow for formatting and degaussing anymore, it must be destroyed. Furthermore, I was also referring to FOUO classified levels as well, which it is very well likely that we will not be privy to for another couple of decades, which by then, another 2 or 3 Administrations from now will make the Bush era look golden by comparison...IF our economy and the dollar last that long.

Torrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30452678)

torrent plz?

I knew this was coming (4, Interesting)

modemboy (233342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452780)

I knew this was coming when I first heard about the White House scrapping their previous GroupWise based email archiving system, as they were switching to Exchange, and deciding to roll their own archiving system.
Thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley, email archiving is big business now and you can buy enterprise ready solution from the likes of EMC.
Instead they decided to have a private contractor roll a custom system, spent a couple hundred million and 2 years, and then scrapped it for not working right (scrapped by the White House CIO).
In the end they implemented an EMC solution, right before Bush left office.
They can pull the wool over non technical peoples eyes, but I have no doubt they purposely FUBAR'ed this, there was no reason not to go with an industry standard solution from the get go unless they were up to no good.
Supporting facts: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20080417/chron.htm [gwu.edu]

Re:I knew this was coming (1, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453270)

They can pull the wool over non technical peoples eyes, but I have no doubt they purposely FUBAR'ed this, there was no reason not to go with an industry standard solution from the get go unless they were up to no good.

You ever worked with a government contractor, or even a huge corporation?

I'm sure the OTS solution was unacceptable because it wasn't using legacy 3.5" single sided floppies formatted for 937.73K each running on a CP/M terminal accessible by thirteen different departments in nine different ways each by thirty-five untrained secretaries with a five second response time that of course would never be used by any of them. And also the servers had to be the proper shade of green.

The government has zero incentive for either doing things right or cheap. Why would you pay for something cheap off the shelf when you could spend a couple hundred million for a few years and fail with no consequences?

This is excellent! (0)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452936)

When the next FOI act is enabled, we'll FINALLY determine what - exactly - the intern working on December 14th 2003 - ordered for lunch from his buddy who'd emaied five minutes previously.

Thank the maker!

How many are for Viagra? (4, Funny)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452946)

Just wonderin...

Re:How many are for Viagra? (1)

McFly777 (23881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453038)

Actually, with some of the data retention rules caused by SOX, etc. I have often wondered how much storing the volume of spam that must be received by a corporate mailserver is costing the economy. Unless there is some loophole that allows "spam" that is presumedly filterend and never delivered to not be archived.

And now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30453002)

It's good that now all emails and communications on things like the health reform bills are wide open to the public and....o wait....never mind.

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