House panel subpoenas AG records

The House Judiciary Committee today issued a subpoena to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, requiring the Justice Department to produce 'documents and electronic information' pertaining to the ongoing inquiry into the firing of several U.S. attorneys around the country.

Over the past several weeks, DOJ has released thousands of pages of documents, including e-mail, related to the issue. But information was redacted from many of those documents, and an unidentified number of documents were not released due to privacy concerns, the department said.

Preserving or reconstructing electronic records may be becoming more important, as earlier document dumps disclosed that several political appointees, both at DOJ and in the White House, have been using e-mail networks operating off the Republican National Committee's servers, rather than government networks.

'In order to better ensure that we can conduct a thorough and fair review, I am asking'for complete electronic information, including embedded data and metadata,' said committee chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) in the letter accompanying the subpoena. 'This will include all document and data file productions, whether from word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail, or instant messaging applications, or from other electronic data repositories, all in native file format so that the metadata accompanies each electronic document or data file. This will give'access to any information that may be obscured in the printed documents previously provided to us."

The subpoena gives the Justice Department a deadline of 2 p.m. Monday, April 16.

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