The White House and Illegal E-mail

I just read a flurry of accounts describing the many ways the Bush Administration has repeatedly violated the Presidential Records Act.

There’s an excellent segment explaining why this act requires White House officials to communicate via their official e-mail addresses and how much of the activity behind the Gonzales / AG firings scandal took place on RNC servers, where the data transmitted could be encrypted, deleted, and stay out of the public eye. You can click here and listen to the segement on this from this weekend’s On the Media:

Additionally, we now know that the White House has added five years of delay into the process of releasing presidential records (since 2001) if for nothing else than to cover their asses.

Further investigation of this issue points to conspiratorial — but heavily documented — accusations that Karl Rove is the kingpin of covert (and illegal) e-mail communications in concert with a Republicans-trusted server farm based in Tennessee.

UPDATE: Coptix is now taking credit for manufacturing the digitally altered photo referred to below.

This post at CorrenteWire explains best how a recent photo of Rove with a Coptix folder unravels into a long paper trail of activity involving the nameserver gwb43.com and Rove (he privatized his e-mail there). This method helps him, and other White House staffers, like his ex-assistant Susan Ralston, feel confident that they will not be held liable as they can destroy any evidence that might lead to a subpoena. But, alas, might the circumvention of white house communication policies alone be enough to serve a subpoena. Furthermore, the same company, Coptix, also SmartTech, is said to have been involved with filtering election results through their servers.

OK, now — I know it’s April Fool’s Day and this sounds incredibly tin-foiled-hatty as I’ve tried to relay it, but listen to the short radio piece and read the Corrente piece (and comments)…. Of course, this isn’t the first (or last) time BushCo will be caught breaking laws, but…

Finally, in another careless and potentially fatal blow (the Department of Homeland Security seems to be able to do whatever it wants):

“At an ICANN meeting in Lisbon, the US Department of Homeland Security made it clear that it has requested the master key for the DNS root zone. The key will play an important role in the new DNSSec security extension, because it will make spoofing IP-addresses impossible. By forcing the IANA to hand out a copy of the master key, the US government will be the only institution that is able to spoof IP addresses and be able to break into computers connected to the Internet without much effort. There’s a further complication, of course, because even ‘if the IANA retains the key … the US government still reserves the right to oversee ICANN/IANA. If the keys are then handed over to ICANN/IANA, there would be even less of an incentive [for the U.S.] to give up this role as a monitor. As a result, the DHS’s demands will probably only heat up the debate about US dominance of the control of Internet resources.'”

read the article DHS Wants Master Key for DNS (via slashdot).

Yahoo! Goes Underground

Choosing to launch on April Fool’s Day, Yahoo! is live with its eccentric, odd news portal, Yahoo! Underground.

Despite whispers that this may in fact be a hoax, this project was mentioned in an October interview (as set for January ’07) with Y! News exec Scott Moore for the PBS Frontline series “News War.”

According to the transcript, Moore says, “We have another project coming out in January that’s called Odd News Underground, and it involves a journalist who also writes songs. So it’s a singing reporter, if you will, and he will be covering a number of very interesting sort of eccentric subject areas.”

In the televised version — you can stream it here — at just over halfway through Chapter 20 of News War, we see a snippet of what would qualify for a great April Fool’s prank, were it not broadcast in February on PBS.

The clip matches up to the content in the Gay Rodeo post, which promises: “We’ll lasso you into a two-step in April.”

The idea is a good one — everybody loves Odd News and profiles of fringe culture, and Brad Miskell has the talent to attract a younger audience to dig the news but unfortunately, the UI is pretty outrageous as you can see below.

As far as making the news fun again, I’m more optimistic about the proposed Luke Burbank-hosted Morning Edition alternative planned for NPR or even (OK, now this is sort of a joke) ONN, the Onion‘s planned 24-hour “news” network.

Smilin’ With Brian Humphrey While LA Burns

andy sternberg brian humphrey lafd burbank hollywood fire hillsLAFD blogger Brian Humphrey was lucky to have the day off today as a fire broke out in the Hollywood Hills. Instead he was at the OJR Conference at USC Annenberg, as was I. Soon after the fire broke out, though we couldn’t see it from SC, David Markland and myself (he was also at OJR) posted about it at Metroblogging LA and LAist respectively.

During the break I put KTLA’s live video stream of the fire on the overhead which inspired David to take the above freaky, evil-looking, and ironic photo. You can’t get that at Sears Family photo.

Thanks, David! Crazy-awesome fire photos — uploaded immediately to flickr — made it possible to track this fire even before the TV choppers were there. Below is a feed of flickr photos tagged “fire” and “hollywood” dated 3.30.07.