8:42 am, May 30, 2015

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  • I am not really sure what the big deal is here
    First, the records are readily available for FOIAs. Second, the NSA has a copy that will last 6 years. Third, in 5 to 10 years the National Archives will lose most of it anyway. They don't have the facilities to store every electronic or hard copy document the government generates for all time. Many of my offices hardcopy files have been lost to "fires" after 5 years, or the Archives determines the records don't need to be kept anymore and disposes of them. Besides, one of the oldest tricks on the books is still keeping everything in draft form. This prevents most FOIAs from picking them up. In any case, this practice really became popular under the last administration when Congress was investigating things like the Valorie Plame incident and the evidence of WMDs and the waterboarding of prisoners. Congress was subpeonaing digital records all over and they were never provided with private account data. I am sure this was also going on under Clinton to some extent too. It is hard to tell how far back the practice goes. Funny thing is, if you really want something to stay secret, write it down by hand and shred it. Congress doesn't have the staff to search through every piece of paper in even a moderate size government office. Even if it is never shredded, it will likely be lost in the shear volume of paper.
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