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"Missing e-mails" are the common denominator of every single Bush-era scandal, from the authoring of the torture memos to the U.S. Attorney Massacre.  Since the Justice Department has proven itself absolutely unwilling and unable to police itself, an independent prosecutor or investigative body, with subpoena power, needs to conduct a criminal inquiry into the systematic destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice--namely, "missing e-mails."

It's a CRIME.  See 18 U.S.C. § 2510, specifically § 2517.  Senator Leahy made this point at yesterday's poorly-attended Senate Judiciary Committee hearing (4 senators at a "Full Committee" hearing) into the the Justice Department's shoddy investigation into the torture memos.  BTW, why didn't they subpoena Margolis' ass since he was the man-behind-the-curtain who overrode the entire OPR Report and the most relevant witness? Or Yoo and Bybee?

I know a thing or two about missing e-mails: they never really disappear. The Justice Department has been using this lame excuse since they first pulled it in the case of "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh on which I blew the whistle because critical e-mails "disappeared" in contravention of a federal court order. Even back then (2002), I was able to resurrect the e-mails.

Missing e-mails.  As SNL's Church Lady would say, How convenient . . .

I work at the Government Accountability Project, the operative word being "accountability."  This isn't just a little computer problem.  It's a systematic pattern and practice of evading justice for some of the worst--and criminal--scandals that have tarnished our nation.  For those of you who want to geek out on the criminal basis, see 18 U.S.C. § 2510; in particular § 2517,  This disappearing act also violates the Federal Records Act.

Enough is enough.  Isn't it just rich that the Justice Department cannot find critical e-mails, in the most recent example, between the Justice Department's John Yoo & Co., CIA and White House about the development of torture policy?  The Justice Department can borrow my 12-year-old.  He could probably point them in the right direction.

Or, it can hire a computer forensics expert to recover the missing e-mails, and just as important, expose who deleted them and when.

"Missing e-mails" sounds so innocuous, so accidental (the sole witness at yesterday's hearing, Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, said the whitewash ethics report "does not suggest there is anything nefarious.") But in case anyone needs further evidence of the bad faith here, consider that the Justice Department didn't bother to notify the National Archives--whose very mission is to collect such information--before OPR's ethics report was released last week.  If John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales and countless others have benefited from curiously and mysteriously missing e-mails that document their role in criminal wrongdoing, then there needs to be some independent intervention.  Because all of the bad actors have skated on their actual crimes, we can still give meaning to the old adage that "it's not the crime, but the cover-up" that will ultimately get them.

UPDATE: Thanks, Kossacks, for Rec. Listing me last Monday and today.  You have given me fortitude during what has been a devastating week.  I will try to live-blog later.  I have a migraine (obviously psychosomatic.)

Originally posted to Jesselyn Radack on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 05:32 AM PST.

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