Mailgate?

Back in the day Rosemary Woods deleted 18 minutes of crucial Nixon tape recordings. Back in the day Oliver North shredded over 5,000 e-mail in the PROFs system only to find that backups do work. Now, in this day and age, major White House staff have been found to be using AOL among other mail systems for their official work — which mail was not turned over to the congressional committee probing the motivations for and actions taken in the USA firings.

Congress is getting curious.

The slowly-unfolding disclosure that some White House aides use non-government e-mail servers to conduct official business may soon be reaching scandal proportions.

As John D. McKinnon writes in today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required): “The widespread use of private email accounts by some top White House officials is sparking a congressional probe into the practice and whether it violates a post-Nixon law requiring that White House deliberations be documented.

“A top Democratic lawmaker says outside email accounts were used in an attempt to avoid scrutiny; the White House says their purpose was to avoid using government resources for political activities, although they were used to discuss the firing of U.S. attorneys.”

Most of the e-mail accounts at issue are on Republican National Committee servers. For instance: “Susan Ralston, until recently presidential adviser Karl Rove’s assistant at the White House, appears to have used at least four outside email accounts: a ‘gwb’ domain account, a ‘georgewbush.com’ account, and an ‘rnchq.org’ account — all run by the RNC — plus an AOL account.

Scandal Storm, Category 2

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