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The Dog Ate My Subpoena

(Photo from Transcessive)

Of all the stories I've read about the document dump so far, I think this one, from WaPo's Sleuth blog, might be my favorite:

Congressional oversight committees and reporters covering the U.S. attorneys firing scandal waited with bated breath Thursday night for yet another huge document drop revealing more details in the Bush administration's plan to fire eight U.S. attorneys.

They waited, and waited. But the documents weren't delivered to the House and Senate Judiciary committees until this morning because — no joke — the Justice Department's copy machine broke.

As if the broken copier weren't enough, something even worse happened: the DOJ's computer server went down this morning just as agency officials were trying to email around 2,000 pages worth of documents to Capitol Hill.

But wait, that's not all! After the server went down, the car transporting hard copies of the documents to the Hill got a flat tire.

Or at least that's the dog-ate-my-homework excuse the Justice Department provided to the committees, according to Judiciary committee aides who asked to remain anonymous.

That. Is. Just. Beautiful.  Look for at least another six months of those kinds of unfortunate "accidents."

But the biggest story, which Marcy and Christy have well covered, is the massive gaps in both the White House and RNC e-mail systems, including an 18-month overlap from March 2003 to August 2004 (shades of Nixon's missing 18 minutes, and the 18-day gap in the March 19 DoJ document dump) where there could very well be no e-mails available from either system (unfortunately, it extends into 2005 for Zapmaster Rove and anyone else with the same fastidious e-mail habits).  It's all very fishy in my humble, paranoid opinion, especially considering that that timeframe covers the start of the war, most or all of the 2004 election (again, depending on deletion habits), and most of Jack Abramoff's dirty dealings.  That's a lot of dirt to just accidentally go missing.

On the positive side, the Bush Administration can always be counted on to generate a continuous supply of fresh dirt, and most of their loopholes are now closed.  The one remaining loophole that I know of, and it is a suspicious one indeed, is that Rove was the only WH staffer to have his deletion privileges revoked.  So there remains the possibility that Karl was savvy enough to route his most delicate e-mail communications through his deputies, with a strict unwritten policy that any such e-mails must always be deleted by both sender and recipient. I'm not sure if Karl would actually risk that, though – especially not after the 2006 elections restored congressional oversight.

So unless Karl or other WH staffers were playing with fire, I think the White House has run out of technical excuses not to produce any e-mails pertaining to the Conyers subpoena.  Of course, their bogus executive privilege battle still has to play out, but they're not going to win that one unless they get a very friendly court (uh-oh).

The part of all this that tickles me is that if Marcy's analysis is correct, the only reason that the WH staffers' RNC e-mails are being retained is because BushCo. was in bed with Abramoff.  And the only reason Karl's e-mails are delete-proof is because the Bushies thought it would be a good idea to out Valerie Plame.  Rove survived both investigations, but each one stripped away one of his layers of protection.  Does he have any left?  And if he somehow survives this investigation because of another hole in the e-mail system, will he have enough protection left to survive the next one?  And oh yes, there will be a next one.

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