Thursday, May 17, 2007

Futile Search For Rove E-mails

Karl Rove is no slouch when it comes to practicing proper tradecraft.

Justice Department officials told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that they'd searched high and low for all the e-mails to, from or copied to White House political adviser Karl Rove about the controversial firings of U.S. attorneys.

Responding (a day late) to a subpoena from the committee, they reported that Justice Department officials searched the e-mail accounts of 16 people, between Nov. 1, 2004, and May 2, 2007. They found exactly two: something old and something new.

The old e-mail, dated Feb. 28, 2007, and previously released, warned that fired New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was about to hold a news conference alleging that Republican members of Congress from New Mexico had interfered with his work.

The something new was a story by McClatchy Newspapers Justice Department correspondent Marisa Taylor, published the same day, which quoted Iglesias saying that he was fired because he wouldn't rush an indictment of Democrats shortly before the 2006 congressional elections.

The newspaper story and the two e-mails were sent "without redaction," Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Hertling assured the judiciary committee.

J. Scott Jennings, the White House deputy political director, forwarded Taylor's story via e-mail to several officials, including Rove, White House counsel Fred Fielding and political director Sara Taylor. He also copied Kyle Sampson, the Justice Department chief of staff who's since resigned.

Jennings marked the e-mail "urgent," but Rove apparently didn't agree. He didn't respond, or if he did, the search didn't turn up his reply.

Maybe it will. Justice's Hertling wrote the senators that his team is "continuing to review the completeness of our efforts."

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