back to article White House admits non-existent email backups

The Dubya White House has admitted that it has no backup tapes for administration emails sent and received between March 1, 2003 and May 22, 2003. But it says that's not a problem. Last October, two separate government watchdogs sued the George W. Bush administration in an effort to recover millions of messages that seem to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Government: "Do as I say, not as I do"

    Us peons have to conform to silly things like Sarbanes Oxley. Our government, hardly. Of course, congress won't investigate itself on something like this, as it is probably just as guilty.

  2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton

    Monkeying around.

    Words fail me with the total incompetence of the regime. Does he really live in the chandeliers?

    What an absolute total mind wipe.

    I have met people who have been so far gone for so long on booze that their crania seem physically half empty. Their speech patterns are similar to his. The only thing different with him is his balance. And I think that that glazed daze he has is something to do with over-concentration on not falling over.

    No wonder he is always on holiday. I had thought he was just being kept away from the Wit House as a safety measure. I couldn't see why he'd need all that time to recover from exhaustion.

  3. Shannon Jacobs
    Paris Hilton

    18 minutes versus 2.8 months?

    Remember how much trouble Nixon got into when 18 minutes of one of his tapes got "erased"? Did they figure it would look less suspicious this way/

  4. James

    violation of the presidential records act

    this law requires all correspondence to be archived. They did not archive it, so they violated the law.

  5. stephen ensor
    Thumb Up

    simple stupid free gpl with

    Its a great wonder they don't use the free gpl'd product we have it archiving 10's of thousands of email boxes and can search them in a snap

  6. Moss Icely Spaceport


    I didn't know Dubya could write!

  7. E


    Republicans learned their lesson it seems.

  8. Stuart Van Onselen

    Learned their lesson indeed

    The lesson from Nixon wasn't "If you do bad things you will get caught!"

    The lesson was "The press can bring down a government! So don't do anything naughty until you have the press in your pocket."

    Whenever some neanderthal Conservative mutters something about "Liberal Press", you just know that he has a severe Reality Malfunction, and that you'll never get through to him. Modern American Conservatives call anything to the left of Ghengis Khan "liberal".

  9. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Politicians don't back up vital data?

    But... but... but that means they might be human after all...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    email? we don' need no steenkeen' email!

    Hey, what's the problem? Its not as if anything important happened during that time is there?

    what's that?

    oh, *that* war!

    mine is the one soaked in blood and oil

  11. Kenneth Ross

    Don't worry, Echelon will save the day!

    Don't panic, Don't panic - just get a back-up copy from Echelon. They keep everybody's emails, text messages, phone calls, dreams. (Oh dear, black helicopter hovering over house as I type!)

  12. Barry

    @18 minutes versus 2.8 months?

    We're already resigned to Dubya being the "worst president ever". RMN has got nothing on him.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perfect timing for an email blackout

    Anyone else notice that the blackout neatly corresponds with the start of the Iraq war, and the following few weeks?

    I am sure the white house will reassure us that this timing is purely coincidental, and that they have 'nothing to hide'.

    After all, according to US law, recently brought in by dubya, he, cheney and their cronies are automatically innocent of war crimes, therefore any such crimes must never have been committed, therefore the timing of the email blackout must be pure coincidence, right?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy solution

    If anyone sent a message to, or received a message from, the White House between those dates, can they please send a copy of those messages back to the White House?

    Say between 13:00 and 14:00 EST today. That shouldn't cause any problems. Well no more problems than simultaneously flushing all the toilets in the Pentagon.

  15. Christoph

    @ James

    Yes, they broke the law. This is going to worry them?

    Torturing people is against the law. Kidnapping people is against the law. Ignoring the bits of the constitution that aren't convenient for you is against the law.

    And yes, destroying the evidence against you is against the law. But by now it's not so much a crime as a habit.

  16. Steve Evans

    @Stuart Van Onselen

    It always amuses me... In the US being called a liberal is an insult...

    Odd really, as in the UK it generally means you are middle of the road and quite balanced (well they'd have to be given the previous leaders alcohol intake!).

  17. Stuart Van Onselen

    @Steve Evans

    Just about everything about US politics amuses me. :-)

    Or it would, if they didn't have the largest stockpile of nukes on the planet. And if they didn't have a large army that, although woefully unable to keep the peace, is very good at making war!

    Rather give me the Italian politicians. They're lively, colourful and interesting, and they don't have any ability to invade anybody!

  18. Martin

    @Steve Evans, US political terminology

    "It always amuses me... In the US being called a liberal is an insult...

    Odd really, as in the UK it generally means you are middle of the road and quite balanced"

    Thats because in the 1950's everyone in the USA was VERY careful not to be seen as a 'communist' or sympathyser; hence in the US 'liberal' became a euphamism for 'socialist', whereas here it (largley) kept its original meaning ('Liberal' Democrats possibly excepted).

    Quite ironic considering that 'liberalism' would be on the right on the economic left-right scale.

    Oh, and @ Stuart Van Onselen; I never knew Ghengis Khan was an advocate of free-market economics.

    Me? Libertarian tory-voter *hears Guardian readers spitting out tea*

  19. Anonymous Coward

    the truth...

    is that the emails were not archived because nobody informed "the shrub" that his lap to was actually an etch-a-sketch... " so to save a file i turn it upside down and shake?"

  20. Jamie Anderson

    Dubya doesn't send his own emails...

    because his staffers can't figure out to connect his Leapster to the Internet.

  21. Pyros

    Not suprising

    ...considering that they're all covering their arses in one big butt-covering denial-fest. They DID keep a record, after all--it's just "conviently" left in a safe down underground (yes, there's pratically a city down under DC. Nuclear bomb scare, anyone?)

    Oil companies are extreme penny-penchers and complete pigs. They never throw anything out--especially when they might need to "distance" themselves from the Shrub Gov, even if Iraq Freedom gives them tighter control on oil supplies. Curious George is from a family of oil brokers and ranchers, so it's not a far stretch that, even with an IQ lower than his pants inseam, that there's some means of accessing that ol' boy network and pass out those goverment contracts like gifts.

    You get the idea. I'm not saying that we should, but a revolution sounds mighty nice these days...

  22. heystoopid
    Black Helicopters


    So in 2000 they had a choice elect a man with brains to keep the country on the rails and sane or a total insane idiot charlatan without a brain from Texas who would bankrupt it at every level possible.

    In 2004 they had another choice between re-electing a known incompetent idiot draft dodger with visible fingers in the till and a real war hero and they chose the coward who continued on his original insane pathway over the hero again !

    Oh well , the old story , you get what you pay for and pay for what you get in more ways then one but alas January 10th , 2009 seems so long in the distance and a lifetime away at this point in time as it looks like they are seeking a double dose of absolute insanity in preference to some one with brains !

    Quick run for the hills , that which was predicted in 1969 has come to pass and "Idiocracy" is here to stay !

  23. Rick Stockton
    Dead Vulture


    "They" almost certainly voted for the genuine war hero in 2004 (and by the electoral college, not just the popular vote). BUT, I think that a bunch of those hackable-on-purpose Diebold voting machines were used to magically create and destroy whatever votes were necessary to achieve a Bush victory in Ohio.

    The people did OK-- it's the #^$%@#$ machines. (Dead Vulture is most applicable.)

  24. Pierre

    Gotta love the US

    For pretty much any other country looks serious in comparison. The worrying part is that the "if it's good enough for the US, it's good enough for us" line seems to spread...

    BTW, I am really the only one to imagine that maybe they did the bckups, then sent the tape to a storage facility by snail mail?

    Anyway, nothing says Democracy like "fuck the laws, I'm the boss".

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: 18 minutes

    You sparked an interesting thought. I wonder if the tape still exists, and technology 30 years advanced could lift the sound off of it now. Wouldn't it be marvelous to hear what Dick erased?

  26. Joe Stalin

    Irony of all irony

    The first republican President of the US of A was Abe Lincon who was elected on a platform of freeing the slaves. In my book that's about as "liberal" as you could get. Or was that just an excuse for the republicans to start a war? (I don't belive that last question myself but mud does stick.)

    Flame 'cos I'll burn for that last bit

  27. Anonymous Coward

    The truth is out there

    It's all perfectly straightforward. There are no backups that officially exist. However it remains possible to restore from the ones that don't officially exist by means of the sort of executive order that had them deniably creatd in the first place. (You could call this an immanent domain doctrine, if you like. But I doubt you do like...)

  28. Mark Flingstone

    @ Stuart Van Onselen

    "Rather give me the Italian politicians. They're lively, colourful and interesting, and they don't have any ability to invade anybody!"

    If you find them lively, colourful and interesting sure you don't live here. One week is enough to be bored to death seeing them on TV at late nite shows making a*holes of themselves.

    Well for sure they aren't able to invade anybody since (a) they're too smart and too few to build an army of their own and (b) Italians are way too clever for being sent abroad for fighting Dubya wars...

    ... uhm, maybe I am missing something... we went to Iraq after all...

  29. Steve Mann


    I can't say I wasn't expecting this. Actually I did say that in an email, but it has been inadvertently deleted by an intern who was subsequently found to be an illegal alien working for an organization identified on a certain list and, well, I can't say any more and neither can he.

    I remain amazed at two incontrovertable verities:

    Fisrtly, that the bunch of old, rich, white oilmen who orchestrated us into this mess had no idea whatsoever that an oil pipeline that runs hundreds of miles through the desert is inherently fragile and cannot be secured in an all-out war against acts of sabotage, and were completely taken aback when it was repeatedly blown up after hostilities started.

    Secondly, that our president is not faking it and is honestly convinced that posterity will hail him as a hero-genius rather than as the first US president to demand an official definition of torture.

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