- Jun 2007
Flashback: Rove Erases 22 Million White House Emails on Private Server at Height of U.S. Attorney Scandal ? Media Yawns | Pensito ReviewNot long after George W. Bush assumed the presidency in 2001, Rove, his top political aide, set up a private email server for use in the White House. The stated purpose of the system — the primary domain name on which was gwb43.com — was that it would be used exclusively for the sort of political correspondence that Bush and Rove were not permitted to do on the taxpayer’s dime.
Seven years later, Bush and Rove were embroiled in two competing scandals — the Valerie Plame scandal, in which operatives for Vice Pres. Dick Cheney, including Rove and Scooter Libby, were accused of unmasking Valerie Plame, a CIA specialist in the black market for weapons of mass destruction, for purely partisan reasons, and the U.S. Attorney purge, in which Rove’s political operation in the White House was accused of ordering Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to purge eight U.S. attorneys who were qualified prosecutors and replace them with political hacks with little or no prosecutorial experience.
Rove escaped prosecution in the Libby case, but Libby was convicted (Bush quickly commuted the sentence) on March 6, 2007, at the same time Bush and Rove were under fire for purging the U.S. attorneys. During the investigation, it came to light that Rove’s server had been used to send official, non-political emails — correspondence that was required by law to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act.
On April 12, 2007, Rove’s operation admitted that it had deleted at least 5 million emails from the server. In December 2009, technicians who had examined the server reported that the number of emails that had been deleted was far greater — 22 million.
What was in the emails? No one will ever know.