It's the burning question of the Bush Administration: malfeasance or incompetence? Did the White House just lose an untold number of emails because of their "primitive" archiving setup
? Or is there something worse at play -- something criminal?
CREW, which has been pursuing a lawsuit over the lost emails, wants to know
. And today the group wrote
(pdf) FBI Director Robert Mueller to request that he investigate whether White House officials deleted emails relevant to the Valerie Plame investigation.
The complaint is based on evidence that "for the period September 30 through October 6, 2003, there were no e-mails for the entire Office of the Vice President on either the White House servers or on a back-up tape created on October 21, 2003, with the exception of e-mails that had not yet been erased from individual OVP employee mailboxes." Then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales had notified all White House employees that the Department of Justice was investigating the Plame outing on September 30th.
In its release, CREW says that it doesn't have all that much confidence that the FBI will follow up. That's because of their experience with ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL): months before the scandal exploded, the group brought evidence to the FBI of Foley's inappropriate advances toward male House pages. The FBI did not open an investigation, but when the scandal broke, unnamed FBI officials were quoted claiming that was because CREW had withheld key evidence -- a claim that was later shown to be untrue