Saturday, December 27, 2008

Man who set up alternate email for White House dies in plane crash

Conspiracy theorists awaken! Man who set up alternate email system for White House dies in a plane crashRemember those missing emails that the White House has known about since 2005? They just started looking for them. Update:Democracy Now has much more on this story.

From at-Largely (Larisa Alexandrovna):
 200812201504Mike Connell set-up the alternate email and communications system for the White House. He was responsible for creating the system that hosted the infamous accounts that Karl Rove and others used. When asked by Congress to provide these emails, the White House said that they were destroyed. But in reality, what Connell is alleged to have done is move these files to other servers after having allegedly scrubbed the files from all “known” Karl Rove accounts.

In addition, I have reason to believe that the alternate accounts were used to communicate with US Attorneys involved in political prosecutions, like that of Don Siegelman. This is what I have been working on to prove for over a year. In fact, it was through following the Siegelman-Rove trail that I found evidence leading to Connell. That is how I became aware of him. Mike was getting ready to talk. He was frightened.”

Graham writes: "Unfortunately, he won’t get to talk. He died in a plane crash yesterday."

UPDATE: A curious press release: "Bush Insider Who Planned To Tell All Killed In Plane Crash: Non-Profit Demands Full Federal Investigation(Thanks, Adam!)

(Via Why, That's Delightful)

This is an interesting development...

Take a gander (emphasis mine):

The required transfer in four weeks of all of the Bush White House's electronic mail messages and documents to the National Archives has been imperiled by a combination of technical glitches, lawsuits and lagging computer forensic work, according to government officials, historians and lawyers.

Federal law requires outgoing White House officials to provide the Archives copies of their records, a cache estimated at more than 300 million messages and 25,000 boxes of documents depicting some of the most sensitive policymaking of the past eight years.

But archivists are uncertain whether the transfer will include all the electronic messages sent and received by the officials, because the administration began trying only in recent months to recover from White House backup tapes hundreds of thousands of e-mails that were reported missing from readily accessible files in 2005.

The risks that the transfer may be incomplete are also pointed up by a continuing legal battle between a coalition of historians and nonprofit groups over access to Vice President Cheney's records. The coalition is contesting the administration's assertion in federal court this month that he "alone may determine what constitutes vice presidential records or personal records" and "how his records will be created, maintained, managed, and disposed," without outside challenge or judicial review.

White House spokesman Scott M. Stanzel said last week that "we are making significant progress in accounting for the e-mail records stored on our computer network." But he declined to say how many e-mails remain missing or to predict how long the recovery will take because the issue is the subject of ongoing litigation.

In the case of the vice president's records, the White House has promised a different federal judge that it will comply with a Nixon-era law requiring the preservation and transfer of all documents related to the vice president's official duties, but the coalition has drafted a filing for the court on Monday that accuses Cheney of subtly seeking to circumscribe the legal definition of what those official duties encompass to such a degree that he will be able to take home or destroy countless documents related to policymaking that historians want to see.

Stanzel said the White House is also still "working to acquire" e-mails involving official government business that were transmitted by presidential aides through accounts operated by the Republican National Committee, a problem also first publicized almost three years ago. "We continue to be in communication with RNC officials about recovering official records," he said without offering details. Such records are subject to the Presidential Records Act, which requires their transfer to the Archives at noon on Jan. 20.

This last graph describes (but does not mention and the writers may not even know) what Connell has been alleged to be directly involved in. So forget the plane crash for a moment. Why did Connell make this most recent trip to DC? Was it related to the allegedly scrubbed emails issue? Who did he meet with? These are questions that should be looked at regardless of what the investigators determine occurred with the plane crash. This is the story that some of us having tracking for quite some time. This is the important investigation that must take place. This is why Connell was important, because he was one of the few people who could answer these questions. There are others, a few, but will they be willing to talk now? Anyway, I want to state again - forget the crash for a moment and focus on this part of the story because this is the story of import. These emails must be retrieved if we are to know just what has happened in these last 8 years

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