Turns out they’re still lost.

When we last heard from Libby’s lost emails, CREW and National Security Archive had reached a settlement with the White House to restore 33 days worth of email and examine 21 days of low volume email to see whether prior restorations had really worked (among other things).

I’m still reading through the documents to figure out what has happened since (aside from Libby’s emails still being lost–but then, that’s not news). The eye-popping takeaway is that, for the 21 days of emails supposedly restored, 83% of the emails weren’t restored:

As documented [in a report from Microsoft included in CREW's available documents] the comparison of the two data sets–one containing emails previously identified as the archival email records of the Bush administration for the 21 days in question and one containing emails extracted from backup tapes for those 21 days–revealed a huge discrepancy between the two. Specifically, 190,819 email messages on the backup tapes were not found in the archival set of email messages. Conversely, 31,819 emails contained in the archival set were not found on the backup tapes for those same days. In other words, 83% of the universe of known emails for those days were not archived and would not be available today but for actions of CREW and the Archive and the resulting restoration project.

Now, the discrepancy, to me, is even more interesting than the sheer numbers involved. It suggests that two totally different sets of emails were captured in the multiple archiving processes. Which suggests a great deal of emails may have been tampered with between the time they were written and archived. (Though I await the tech wonks to explain this in more depth).

And then there’s this bit.

[On May 10, 2006], the estimated cost for one of [the options for restoring White House email]–restoring all dates of low volume email for EOP components–was $2,414.221 [sic]. The Bush White House did not pursue this option, and instead hired multiple contractors to perform various costly analyses aimed at winnowing down the number of days that arguable could be considered as statistically low volume.

In other words, rather than spend what now looks like a pittance (less than $2.5 million) to restore everything, the Bush White House instead spent even more money paying consultants to argue that not all these days needed to be restored. And that decision was taken, of course, at a time when Libby’s case was in discovery and any indictment of Rove had just been declined. And, presumably, Patrick Fitzgerald still may have had lingering suspicions that Libby and Judy (if not Novak) were emailing back and forth about outing Plame.

But really, none of this is suspicious at all.

Meanwhile, CREW just recently started this whole process over again to get John Yoo’s missing torture emails.

Does no one else see the pattern here?