The missing emails

When the Bush administration took office, it was promised that the White House would operate like a lean, efficient corporation, unlike the messy ways of the Clintons. After all, the president was a Harvard MBA and the vice president the former CEO of a huge multinational corporation.

It didn’t work out that way. At times, like with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, White House officials seemed to be clomping around in clown shoes. Now comes the curious case of the missing e-mails.

A White House chart drawn up in response to a congressional investigation shows that a total of 473 days’ worth of e-mails over 20 months, including 12 days from the presidential office and 16 from the vice-presidential, is missing.

That was after a White House spokesman had said that there was no evidence any e-mails were missing.

The e-mails are public documents and the law says they should be saved, but the Bush administration apparently dismantled an archiving system installed at the end of the Clinton administration. And before October 2003, the White House recycled its backup tapes by taping over them.

For Washington hands, this display of organizational incompetence recalls the mysterious reappearance in a White House storage room of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s long-lost and long-sought billing records. And the Clintons were both lawyers.

Next administration, how about we let the English majors run things for a change?