Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Two hundred billion emails are sent every day. Seventy percent are thought to be spam or viruses, the rest are sent by 1.1 billion legitimate email users.

According to a report published yesterday by the House Oversight Committee, email records don't exist for 51 of the 88 White House officials who had electronic message accounts with the RNC, the Republican National Committee.

The report says Presidential Senior Advisor Karl Rove sent and received over 140 thousand e-mails on his RNC e-mail account including over 75,000 e-mails to and from individuals with official .gov email addresses, and the RNC kept just 130 e-mails sent to Mr. Rove during President Bush’s first term and none sent by Mr. Rove prior to November 2003. I was doing the math on how many emails Karl Rove must have sent per day – it turns out not to be significantly different from the average user – when I happened to notice the word "gap" in the report and was reminded of something.

Over 30 years ago conversations between President Richard Nixon and various White House staff members were automatically recorded to make it possible to verify what the president said and when he said it. When Archibald Cox subpoenaed these tapes to confirm the testimony of White House Counsel John Dean, Nixon refused to release them, claiming national security. But after various firings and resignations Nixon gave some of the subpoenaed conversations to Judge Sirica. The White House informed the Court that two subpoenaed conversations had not been recorded, and that an 18½ minute gap existed on a third tape. As Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods later testified, "The buttons said on and off, forward and backward. I caught on to that fairly fast. I don't think I'm so stupid as to erase what's on a tape."

Tape, email, whatever. I’m confident that as this story plays out both Democrats and Republicans will provide similarly entertaining testimony. What remains to be seen is how much of it will be spam – or new.

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