Attorney General Michael Mukasey has appointed prosecutor Nora Dannehy to investigate whether former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other Administration officials should face criminal charges in the firing of nine US attorneys. The launch of this investigation follows a 358-page report citing a lack of cooperation by senior White House officials and the Justice Department in Congress' inquiry into the US prosecutor purge.
A critical link to the Justice Department and White House's involvement in the firings lies in the missing White House emails, which have reportedly been purged from White House servers.
Although several administration officials, including Gonzales have testified before the Judiciary Committee, there is one person, yet to be interviewed, who may hold the keys to the missing emails -- Bush IT expert Mike Connell. Most people have never heard of Mike Connell. But that's no surprise as the very nature of his job keeps him behind the scenes. Connell is the architect and cyber keymaster of George W. Bush election websites including GeorgeWBush.com and GWB43.com, the site Karl Rove used for 95 percent of his email communication. Connell is also the CEO of Govtech Solutions, the company responsible for building and managing congressional email servers and firewalls.
According to SourceWatch, Connell also developed websites for the House Intelligence, Judiciary, Financial Services, Ways and Means, and Administration Committees.
For obvious reasons, this would appear to be a conflict of interest since Connell has a history of building partisan websites including RNC.org, anti-Kerry website swiftboatvetsfortruth.org and former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth J Blackwell's election websites, to name a few. Connell currently heads up IT for the McCain campaign.
Like former Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell who in 2004 penned a letter stating he was committed "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President," Mike Connell told Inside Business magazine in 1999, "I'm loyal to my friends and I'm loyal to the Bush family."
An October 11, 2006 meeting between Connell, GovTech Solutions President Randy Cole (who is now running for State Representative in Ohio) and Cybrinth CEO Stephen Spoonamore, raises more than a few questions regarding Connell's loyalty to the Bushes. At the time, Spoonamore, a leading cyber security expert, was considering a project with Connell. During this meeting, Spoonamore indicated that Connell asked him about ways to "permanently destroy hard drives." Spoonamore said, "If this is what I think you're talking about, this meeting is over."
Spoonamore provided the following notes from his meeting, which was confirmed by a source close to the situation.
On Oct 11, 2006: 14:30-16:00 Mike Connell and others from his firm(s) met with me and others from my firm at the Cybrinth LLC offices to discuss three things:
1 - Some overseas IT incidents that effected clients both of us service in a negative manner. Nothing to do with White House that I know of.
2 - Cybrinth's ongoing work in data destruction to protect communications from latency intercepts. This was something of keen interest to them, and Cybrinth has better working knowledge of this area than they did at that time. We were, and are, working on this issue for several elite clients.
3 - GovTech's needs to upgrade email and communication system security with several clients. Mike specifically stated this included some systems impacting the White House email. I don't know if these were .gov domains or off-the-books domains.
Spoonamore says while he doesn't know whether Connell had a role in the White House email purge, he is vital to uncovering the truth about the missing communications. Spoonamore adds, Connell has knowledge of where the emails were routed and where they may be recovered because he built and maintained the system.
"Mike is much more of a partisan than I am... and has been involved, certainly in building the front ends, the website application ends of many of the same people that I would have concerns about and would like to talk to."
While the last time the two met was nearly two years ago, Spoonamore and Connell's paths continue to cross in unexpected ways. Spoonamore, a life-long Republican, is currently serving as a star witness in a lawsuit charging the GOP with rerouting Ohio 2004 election headquarter tabulators to SmartTech servers in Chatanooga, Tennessee before releasing them to Secretary of State Ken Blackwell's office. The lawsuit maintains that Karl Rove, with the assistance of Mike Connell, architected and directed a strategy to manipulate elections through the use of computers.
Although this all sounds like fodder for conspiracy theorists, it should be noted that SmartTech servers also run the GeorgeWBush.com and GWB43.com websites and email systems.