portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts united states

government

WH skirts email system & uses RNC servers

The White House is using the RNC email system to by pass having records kept of their dirty deeds. Problem is this cat and mouse email server game they have been playing is getting out in the open. Amazing is how the self appointed absolute power corruption cabal is getting away with it .... or will they?
I cherry picked through this article on the WH using private email accounts to skip the recording email/data that is required for when a White House Staff members sends an email while on duty. This Mother Jones article is a short two page article and it explains how the sneaky bush club is trying to circumvent the required protocol for their conversations they want hidden form citizens. Which is illegal and morally/ethically wrong.

Here is a few paragraphs from the MJ article written by: Daniel Schulman who is an Investigative Reporter at Mother Jones:
4-2-2007
 http://www.motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2007/03/white_house_emails.html
***********************************************************************************************************************

A little over a week later, Waxman's Committee fired off its own letters to Mike Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Marc Racicot, the former chair of the president's reelection committee, demanding that they preserve White House emails on their organization's servers "because of their potential relevance to congressional investigations"—"multiple" investigations the letter stressed. "The e-mail exchanges reviewed by the Committee provide evidence that in some instances, White House officials were using the nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of the communications." (According to the Waxman aide, Duncan and Racicot have yet to respond.)


In 1993 then-National Archivist Don Wilson inked a secret agreement with George H.W. Bush in the final hours of his presidency giving him sole control over his administration's computer records. (Wilson went on to become the executive director of Bush's presidential library; a federal court later declared their agreement unconstitutional.)

When that moment arrived, scarcely a year into President Bush's first term, the president signed a controversial executive order that, among other things, claims broad authority to review and block the release of presidential papers and extends executive privilege to the heirs of the officeholder and to the Vice President. The order was met with outrage by archivists and historians, some of whom argue that this statute effectively gives the administration the power to write its own history. "This is very much pre-Nixon in the sense that they want presidents and their families to control what people see and what they cannot see, what history they can write and what history they cannot write," says Montgomery, the presidential papers expert. "They want to manage their own historical legacy."

In this context, the news that at least some White House officials are using alternate email accounts to avoid creating an official record of their communications seems to fit a broader pattern. But in many ways, says Steven Hensen, the past president of the Society of American Archivists and the technical director of Duke University's archives, this practice seems "a bit more devious." "It clearly looks like an attempt to conceal official business," he says.

But in many ways, says Steven Hensen, the past president of the Society of American Archivists and the technical director of Duke University's archives, this practice seems "a bit more devious." "It clearly looks like an attempt to conceal official business," he said.

Asked about the use of RNC email accounts during a press briefing on March 27, White House spokesperson "Dana Perino" played down this unusual practice. "What I know—I checked into this—is that certain White House officials and staff members who have responsibilities that straddle both worlds, that have responsibilities in communication, regularly interface with political organizations, do have a separate email account for those political communications. That is entirely appropriate, especially when you think of it in this case, that the practice is in place and followed precisely to avoid any inadvertent violations of what is called the Hatch Act... . Under an abundance of caution so that they don't violate the Hatch Act, they have these separate emails." She added that "people are encouraged, on official White House business, to use their official White House accounts."
The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity while on the job.

But, according to two lawyers I spoke with, both of them well versed in the details of that law, this rationale doesn't entirely hold water. A lawyer who works for the Office of Special Counsel, the agency charged with investigating Hatch Act violations, told me that Senate-confirmed presidential appointees as well as staffers whose salaries are paid from an appropriation for the Executive Office of the President are exempt from some of the strictures of that law and are allowed to engage in political activity. (No federal employee, however, is allowed to fundraise on the job, or solicit or discourage the political activity of people with business before their agencies.)

And even if they weren't exempt, simply using a non-government email account wouldn't make any difference, the lawyer explained. "Using my personal account or some other email account that's not a federal email account would not remove me from the prohibition if I'm still either on duty or in a federal building."

In the Clinton White House, according to an official staff manual circa 1997, there was a strict prohibition against using anything but the official system. In addition, a 2000 directive to White House staff states that "the system designated for EOP [Executive Office of the President] mail... is to be used exclusively for E-mail communications within the EOP Complex and with outside parties. Other applications (e.g., commercial E-mail services) may not be used to send or receive E-mail."

But the email controversy may be of significance not only to historians who will pour over the Bush papers in years to come, but to others who are working to provide present-day accountability. Indeed, among other people, these revelations could be of particular interest to a certain federal prosecutor who recently won the conviction of the Vice President's former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, on charges of obstructing an investigation into the leak of Valerie Wilson's identity. Contained in the lengthy docket of U.S.A. v. Libby is a January 23, 2006 letter from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to Libby's defense team, who were then jousting over classified discovery.

In it, Fitzgerald advises Libby's attorneys, "in an abundance of caution," that "we have learned that not all email of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system." Though the prosecution later received an additional 250 pages of records from the vice president's office, it remains unclear what the true nature of this archiving problem was or whether Fitzgerald received all of the documents that may have been relevant to his investigation. (Fitzgerald's office declined to comment after being provided with a detailed request.) Perhaps Fitzgerald, along with other investigators who have sought White House records, was looking in the wrong place. He may want to check the RNC's servers.

Read the full 2-page report here on MOTHER JONES.com
 http://www.motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2007/03/white_house_emails.html

~joe

homepage: homepage: http://www.joe-anybody.com