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The CIA and Homeland Security Want to Delete Almost All Their Emails

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They spy on us and say “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” But when we want to oversee them, it’s “DELETE ALL THE THINGS!”

Both agencies submitted proposals that outline their plans to delete many years’ worth of emails.

“An entity that knowingly deletes information relevant to pending litigation is said to have spoliated evidence, and faces nasty penalties in court… so the strategy is usually to create a rule like this one, and show that the deletion took place according to policy, and totally had nothing to do with concern about any evidence that’s lurking in there.” ~ [Handshape](

In other words, this looks really bad.

“If approved, all the correspondences of every person to ever be employed by the CIA will be flushed down the digital toilet three years after they leave. All messages older than seven years old will also be nuked, and only the digital missives of 22 top officials will be preserved — something which several senators do not want to happen.

Led by California Senator Dianne Fenstein, the group sent NARA a letter detailing why they want the Archives to reconsider its tentative approval of the CIA’s proposal. Based on what was written there, the senators seem concerned that the agency might use that opportunity to expunge any important correspondence or materials (say, any evidence of dubious activities) not filed as a permanent record.

Homeland Security, on the other hand, says it submitted a similar proposal, because the emails it wants to get rid of don’t contain any research significance and would save the government money meant for storage (which costs around 0 per terabyte a month). Its critics worry that this would delete important records of the agency’s surveillance system called Einstein, among other things, which monitors government websites’ traffic. Losing Einstein documentation could either mean bidding valuable data farewell or destroying evidence that it never worked as the agency intended in the first place.”


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“The CIA and Homeland Security Want to Delete Almost All Their Emails”