Senate panel seeks missing White House records A U.S. congressional panel investigating the firing of eight federal prosecutors authorized subpoenas on Thursday for e-mails the White House has declared may be missing.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, challenged the White House assertion, saying, "It's not a question of e-mails being lost, it's e-mails they don't want to retrieve."
The White House said on Wednesday some of its staff, including President George W. Bush's senior political adviser, Karl Rove, and several of his deputies, wrote e-mail messages on official business on Republican Party accounts, and some may have wrongly been deleted.
It also said some of the e-mails may have dealt with the firing of eight of the nation's 93 U.S. attorneys last year, seven of them on December 7.
The administration insists that while the dismissals were poorly handled, they were justified and that prosecutors serve at the pleasure of a president. Critics charge that the dismissals appear to have been politically motivated.
Openly questioning if the White House wants the American people to learn "the truth about these matters," Leahy argued e-mails cannot be eliminated on a federal computer system. "These things stay forever," he said.