Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Organized Crime or Government?

Is this obstruction of justice?:

GOP activist: There is concern about what may be in these e-mails

Published: Monday April 9, 2007

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A "back-channel e-mail and paging system" used by Republican operatives has become a White House "headache" now that Democrats are demanding answers, according to a report in Monday's LA Times.

"When Karl Rove and his top deputies arrived at the White House in 2001, the Republican National Committee provided them with laptop computers and other communication devices to be used alongside their government-issued equipment," Tom Hamburger writes. "The back-channel e-mail and paging system, paid for and maintained by the RNC, was designed to avoid charges that had vexed the Clinton White House — that federal resources were being used inappropriately for political campaign purposes."

According to the paper, "that dual computer system is creating new embarrassment and legal headaches for the White House, the Republican Party and Rove's once-vaunted White House operation," as "Democrats say evidence suggests the RNC e-mail system was used for political and government policy matters in violation of federal record preservation and disclosure rules."

"Some Republicans believe that the huge number of e-mails — many written hastily, with no thought that they might become public — may contain more detailed and unguarded inside information about the administration's far-flung political activities than has previously been available," the article continues.

One GOP activist tells the paper, "There is concern about what may be in these e-mails."

Excerpts from article:


Lawyers for the committees say that use of campaign-connected e-mail addresses may make it easier to gather information because it would be harder for the White House to make a broad claim of executive privilege. Lawyers for congressional Democrats have anticipated that the White House will invoke executive privilege in an effort to block requests for information about its role in the firing of U.S. attorneys, Abramoff and other matters.


Sosnik said only a handful of people used the political computers in the Clinton White House, which were purchased with campaign funds. However, he said, the political messaging from the Bush team appears to have been broader than that of Clinton's. He could recall no instance, for example, in which campaign computers or cellphones were used to communicate with the Justice Department.

Levine, the former Bush press aide, said he saw senior White House colleagues, including Rove and his top staff, moving fluidly between the two computer systems, which often sat on officials' desks along with their government computers.




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