Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Outside Counsel Review of White House E-mail Retention

Outside counsel appears to have been using the internal e-mail system which has not been adequately disclosed or part of the discovery process for the US Attorney firings.

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Ref ___ How much money have outside counsel provided in exchange for contracts with the US government?

I need you to forward this to one of the staffers and let them know your impressions of Waxman's comments on the external site.

This is from the firm which is linked with White House counsel. Notice that they're specifically commenting on the document retention standards which Waxman alluded: Ref

Here's the problem: There are two lines of evidence which confirm that certain things were done before, and after key dates. So they've boxed themselves into a problem. Counsel has disclosed and made public certain information which is only known to inside IT personnel, confirming they are aware of specific IT-related issues on a given date.

There's also the issue of the DOJ Staffers formly assigned to the White House counsel; and have made comments after their departure form the White House.

The third line of evidence is this: Ref: It shows that the firm was aware of the issues; and that given the subsequent disclosed conversations related to the IT-area; plus the most recent conversations which Congress knows about, they've boxed themselves into a problem:

1. Counsel at specific computers is linked with specific knowledge of IT-related issues inside the white House;

2. The same personnel are linked with the updates to the White House efforts, operations, and plans, and information related to prisoner transfers to Syria;

3. The firm has also made updates, shown they have an ongoing interest before and after they key planning meeting dates related to the US Attorney firings.

In short, they've fatally left open information which throws them into the middle of the problem. There's nothing they can do to get out of this. They are stuck.

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Interweaving Timelines

Please expand your timelines, and make room for some new connections. It's possible to overlay this timeline with

A. the personnel movements outs of the White House counsels office into the firm;

B. the DOJ Staff transitions and e-mals ; then

1. show how the most recent converstations realted to the White House IT capabilites fit into this knowledge; then

2. add the DOJ Staff counsel e-mails in re the US Attorney firings; then

3. include the AG comments and meetings; then

4. identify the most probable time the President rejected these outside views; and

F. interweave the post-disclosure discussions and ongoing commentary.

They're right in the middle of this.

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When you raise the issue, remind them of the Anderson-Enron document retention problems. They'll want to do a review of the site here; and get an idea when counsel provided the White House information and guidance.

Counsel is aware of the White House Administrative offices. The offices have updated information related to the inner operations of the White House IT-Admin section, indicating the counsel are very familiarly with day to day operations.

Once they've made comments about the document retention standards, then it would seem reasonable that inside White House counsel would have Incorporated this guidance into their planning.

Waxman and others can review the contracts between the White House, the external GOP site Rove is using, and how the blackberries are connected. They'll want to review the times when outside counsel did an audit; or when outside counsel and peer audits did some ting called a peer review on counsel. This is where they do a risk assessment under a given practice area. For the sake of argument, let's pretend they've called it an "Administrative Practice Group" review which the ABA pracice areas have done.

Waxman and others can work with the ABA liaison in the government operations area, review the various checklists that are done in the legal services industry, and get a sense of the types of reviews, audits, and other things that outside counsel has done.

Let's say it is a bi-annual requirement for a review; this will lead to some other contracts, vendors, and other things though OPM and OMB for purposes of tracing the contacts and identifying by name which vendors did the reviews; which procedures are in place to retain the documents; and whether outside counsel did or did not do an adequate audit on the White House data retention requirements.

Keep in mind there are the normal data retention requirements under the government. But the issues at this point is to ompcare the commercial retention requirements through the contract; and see if they are different than what the government requires. Outside counsel should have known about the data archiving requirement for the White House; the issue is whether counsel has failed to ensure that the e-mails were being retained.

The additional problem is that outside counsel cannot claim this is "privileged" when counsel is communicating through the outside e-mail system. It looks like counsel well knew the e-mail system did not meet the legal requirements; but they may ave reviewed the IT retention procedures in the false assumption that this would be detected.

___ Who did the outside audit?

___ How long has counsel known about this outside e-mail system using

___ When did counsel use the blackberries and other e-mail systems outside the White House?

___ Despite the internal control checklists that the ABA administrative law practice group uses, why was outside counsel apparently not providing the peer reviews required?

___ Who did the peer reviews on this outside firm?

___ What were the retsuls?

___ How have GAGAS auditors increased audits scope per Statement of Accounting Standards 99?

___ When was the above information provided to the DC Bar and state disciplinary board for review?

___ What volume of e-mail reated to this outside website is related to the data Fitzpatrick was unable to get in re Plame and the CIA activities?

___ Has Fitzpatrick been brought into the loop to reopen the review of Rove's e=mail issue in light of the disclosed C-Drive information which is linked with the DOJ open release?

___ What concerns did outside counsel raise about the US Attorney firings; but why have these concerns not been mentioned at all in any of the DOJ Staff e-mails?

___ When does White House counsel plan to provide these missing emails to the House and Senate Judiciary?

___ What is House-Senate Judiciary Plan to coordinate with HASC/SASC on issues in re Geneva and allegations that the DOJ STaff is complicit with war crimes, unlawful activity in re prisoner abuse, and grave breaches?

___ How will the evidence gathered be provided to war crimes prosecutors in re The Hague?

___ Is Pelosi aware of the issues in light of impeachment; and what are her views on being prepared to transition into the Presidency after Cheney and Bush are lawfully removed?