[O]n February 6th, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the administration intended to nominate (and have the Senate confirm) replacements for all the ousted prosecutors. But as the emails make clear, Alberto Gonzales’ chief of staff Kyle Sampson was advising the use of the AG’s newfound power to appoint replacements indefinitely — without the trouble of Senate confirmation.
The Justice Department, remember, has said that Sampson was a conspiracy unto himself, and that he failed to inform McNulty of his machinations before McNulty misled Congress. Sampson, on the other hand, says many other Department officials knew, including those involved in preparing McNulty to testify.
The emails show that Sampson wasn’t shy about the scheme. He discussed it freely with members of the White House counsel office, including Harriet Miers. In October of 2006, he forwarded one of these discussions to Michael Elston, McNulty’s chief of staff.
But wait… if McNulty’s right hand knew, how could McNulty himself not know? Your answer:
“Either Elston did not scroll down on his BlackBerry to read the last section [of the e-mail] or it made no impression on him, because he knew that it did not reflect the department’s plan for replacing the U.S. attorneys who would be asked to resign,” says spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.
There you go: the contemporary version of “I do not recall.”
Outstanding. As someone who administers BlackBerry servers for a living, I’m always pleased to see the new frontiers of its permeation into society. It doesn’t get much better than this. Thanks to Rafe Colburn for the link.
Though I should note that there’s an even better dodge available. On the assumption that the underlying email system is Exchange/Outlook, you could claim that you have an Inbox rule that automatically filed the email in question into a personal folders file (PST). In that case, if the email in question was large enough to have only been partially received by your BlackBerry, you wouldn’t be able to request the rest of it because the BB server can’t access your PST file. It can only process a “More” request for email that still exists on the Exchange server.
Of course, you’d have to make sure you have such an Inbox rule in place if push came to shove. But if you did, then the whole world could see that little red X that appears next to an email on a BlackBerry for which full information is not available. And you can’t beat that for plausible deniability.