Thursday, April 12, 2007

Keep Digging

Pat Leahy gets this exactly right:

WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee accused the Bush administration Thursday of trying to bury potentially damaging Republican Party e-mails about eight fired U.S. attorneys and compared the situation to Watergate.

"They say they have not been preserved. I don't believe that!" said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., of e-mails that the White House had said a day earlier might be lost. "You can't erase e-mails, not today. They've gone through too many servers. Those e-mails are there, they just don't want to produce them. It's like the infamous 18-minute gap in the Nixon White House tapes."

Leahy said the idea of lost e-mails was "like saying the dog ate my homework."

His tirade on the Senate floor blindsided the White House and intensified the confrontation between Congress and the presidency over the fired U.S. attorneys.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino responded that the administration is working in good faith with the Republican National Committee and computer experts to retrieve any relevant non-government e-mails and turn them over to Congress.

"I don't know how he could possibly say that when what we've done is endeavored to be very forthcoming and honest," Perino said. "We screwed up, and we're trying to fix it."

The White House acknowledged that some RNC e-mails might be relevant to the congressional investigation into the U.S. attorneys' firings, but it said they may be lost because they were neither sent nor saved on government systems.

"We don't have all of the answers yet, but we are working with the committees. ... I can assure you that we are working very hard to make sure that we find the e-mails that were potentially lost," Perino said of the House of Representatives and Senate panels investigating the controversy.

Keep digging. Keep digging.

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