AOH :: PT-1444.HTM

Missing email messages, and Karl Rove's personal computer, roil Washington

Missing email messages, and Karl Rove's personal computer, roil Washington
Missing email messages, and Karl Rove's personal computer, roil Washington 
A lawyer for the Republican National Committee told congressional staff 
members yesterday that the RNC is missing at least four years' worth of 
e-mail from White House senior adviser Karl Rove that is being sought as 
part of investigations into the Bush administration, according to the 
chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. 
The briefing received by the Committee raises serious concerns about the 
White House compliance with the Presidential Records Act, which requires 
that the President =93take all such steps as may be necessary to assure 
that the activities, deliberations, decisions, and policies that reflect 
the performance of his constitutional, statutory, or other official or 
ceremonial duties are adequately documented and that such records are 
maintained as Presidential records.=94 
The White House said Thursday that missing e-mail messages sent on 
Republican Party accounts may include some relating to the firing of 
eight United States attorneys.


April 12, 2007

Fred Fielding, Esq.
Counsel to the President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20500

Dear Mr. Fielding:

We are troubled to learn through the press that the White House cannot 
account for the e-mails of almost two dozen people at the White House, 
including some the Senate Judiciary has asked to question in connection 
with our ongoing investigation.  Apparently these officials utilized 
e-mail accounts, addresses and equipment provided by the Republican 
National Committee and political campaigns to communicate about the plan 
to replace a number of United States Attorneys.  As you know, by letter 
dated  March 28, 2007, the Chairmen of both the House and Senate 
Judiciary Committees wrote to you asking that you collect and produce 
e-mails and documents sent from all e-mail accounts, addresses and 
domains relevant to these investigations, and made specific reference to 
the use of such political e-mail addresses.

The comments of two White House officials, which were cited in today=92s 
edition of the Washington Post, raise questions about whether the White 
House will be able to comply with the March 28 letter.  White House 
spokesman Scott Stanzel reportedly stated, =93[t]he White House has not at 
this point done a good enough job at overseeing the practices of staff 
with political e-mail accounts," and confirmed that "[s]ome officials' 
e-mails have potentially been lost and that is a mistake that the White 
House is aggressively working to fix."   The second official who was 
cited, a White House lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity, told 
the press at a briefing that White House staff is now being advised that 
if they question whether an e-mail is political or official, the staff 
should use their private accounts, but also preserve a copy to be sent 
to White House lawyers for a determination of whether the e-mail needs 
to be saved under the Presidential Records Act.

In light of these comments by White House officials, we would like to 
know what is being done to investigate and remedy this situation.  For 
example, we would like to know if the process described above by the 
anonymous White House lawyer is intended to apply prospectively only or 
if staff is also being advised that they should forward past e-mails 
from their private accounts to White House lawyers for review. 
Additionally, in reference to the statement that the White House =93has 
not . . . done a good enough job at overseeing practices=94 regarding 
e-mail accounts, we would like to know what was done in the past and 
whether any private e-mail retention policies were in place.  We would 
also like to know how and when the White House first learned of the 
problem with private e-mail account usage and when it first came to 
light that e-mails may have been lost.

We recognize that the White House must and should investigate this 
matter in a timely fashion.  We also recognize that the congressional 
committees of jurisdiction have a separate obligation to investigate. 
To accommodate our separate obligations without slowing down or 
otherwise complicating the others=92 efforts, we suggest that the White 
House consult with us and the other congressional committees engaged in 
affected investigations and that we jointly agree upon a fair and 
objective process for investigating this matter, including the use of a 
mutually trusted computer forensic expert.  Such a process would help to 
restore public confidence in the White House=92s desire to comply with the 
Presidential Records Act.  Moreover, it would ensure your office and the 
Congress that this matter is being taken seriously and that an objective 
process is employed to investigate, retrieve and reconstruct the 
information that is reportedly missing due to deleted or otherwise 
unretained e-mails.


PATRICK LEAHY                                                      ARLEN 

       Ranking Member
Politech mailing list
Archived at 
Moderated by Declan McCullagh ( 

Make REAL money with your website!

The entire AOH site is optimized to look best in Firefox® 2.0 on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 or better).
Site design & layout copyright © 1986-2014 AOH
We do not send spam. If you have received spam bearing an email address, please forward it with full headers to