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February 28, 2010

Did John Yoo Have an “Other Government Agency” Email?

Posted in: FISA,Torture

John Yoo tells us that we’re silly to worry about his disappearing emails because DOJ emails are unclassified. (h/t Jason Leopold)

In fact, the investigation is the gift that keeps on giving. On Friday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) excoriated Margolis’ superior officer because OPR claimed it could not access 2002 e-mails from me and another Justice Department official who worked on the memos. Leahy’s outrage displays how little he and OPR understand the basics of intelligence.

The Justice Department’s e-mail system is unclassified and could not be used to discuss interrogation methods, which were classified at the highest levels of secrecy. Nor do I have any idea why OPR now asserts that the e-mails, which were sought years after I had left the government, have gone missing. During my interviews, OPR lawyers showed me several printouts of my e-mails. If they need more they should look in the files of the other lawyers on the network. The suggestion of a cover-up is just Leahy chasing his own tail to feed left-wing conspiracy theories.

I’m not sure I believe John Yoo (and why should I) when he says the whole of DOJ’s email system is considered unclassifed.

But just for the sake of discussion, let’s say it is. Does that mean he’d be carrying on top secret conversations on another email system–as it looks like Steven Bradbury was doing in 2007 when he was trying to give telecoms retroactive immunity? This email turned over in EFF’s FOIA (page 55) seems to show that Bradbury was conducting his top secret conversations about NSA on an NSA email.

Also note–the emails that OPR did get? First of all, they note that they were unclassified. And guess who turned them over to OPR?

On August 31,2004, Bradbury gave OPR copies of unclassified documents relating to the Bybee Memo, including email and documents from the computer hard drives and files of the former OLC attorneys who worked on the project.

Update. Okay, this is an email that Jim Comey sent Chuck Rosenberg talking about torture memos–so presumably it was sent in roughly the same email system that Yoo’s emails were sent. And while they don’t let us see what the domain name is, it’s clear it’s not the unclassified usdoj.gov email.


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