Finally, some movement on this. I can only hope it’s the start of a glorious run by the courts to stand up to this criminal regime, and begin to enforce the rule of law; enforcement sorely MIA in America the past seven lonnnnnnnnngg years.
On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate John M. Facciola requested from the Justice Department and a private group - input on a proposed court order to preserve copies of all White House emails - a request that White House lawyers argued adamantly against. The aforementioned request comes as a result of a lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) regarding documented "problems" with the White House email system.
This is the first movement in the case for weeks; a case in which every move by the court and plaintiff has been met by roadblocks and unwarranted delays. The private organization claims they’ve been unsuccessful in gaining assurances from the Bush regime that their backup tapes of interdepartmental emails will be preserved and available for scrutiny. CREW, also says it has been unable to get assurances that the White House is using the backup tapes only once.
Facciola made clear that he is concerned. He asked on Wednesday:
"Can the government provide assurances that the White House backup tapes of its e-mails have not been "obliterated and recycled?" asked Facciola. "CREW is trying to make sure the e-mail copies are being preserved so that the lawsuit "does not become an academic exercise."
"The Office of Administration is not recycling backup tapes," Justice Department attorney Helen Hong told the judge.
The AP story appears courtesy of Yahoo! News:
"I don't know how the White House defendants could have been made it more clear," Hong said. She said the administration's position is that there is no need for a court order. She offered to have the administration provide a sworn declaration of what it is preserving.
Facciola adjourned court for 20 minutes, asking the two sides to try to work out wording on an agreement of what has been preserved. After the attorneys said they were at an impasse, Facciola suggested the requirements for a court order had been met.
A private group advocating public disclosure of government secrets, the National Security Archive, had already filed a similar suit, and is anxiously awaiting the magistrate’s final decision on the CREW case as indication of movement in the near future on their own case.
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald originally indicated a problem with the White House email system nearly two-years ago, when he raised the possibility that records sought in the Valerie Plame case may be missing due to an archiving problem. The U.S Attorneys case, involving the firing of U.S. attorneys earlier this year, spotlighted the controversy again; claiming that White House aids improperly used RNC sponsored email accounts for official business. An indeterminate number of emails turned up missing at that time.
Besides being germane to current claims of White House wrongdoing, the emails could prove to be important in the future to historians who dare to delve into the muck and morass that is the inner machinations of the always cryptic Bush regime.
Is this a good sign that finally some justice is to be dealt out here? Will the Bush regime ever be held accountable for their crimes? It’s difficult to tell. But, at least, Magistrate Facciola is demonstrating something sorely lacking in both the Legislative and Judicial Branches of our government these days – a backbone.
Here’s to justice!
Impede, impeach and imprison.