Thursday, August 21, 2008

News You Can't Use

Good afternoon ladies & gentlemen! We start this edition of “News You Can’t Use” with this gem:

White House Missing as Many as 225 Days of Email
Well, let’s just file this one under “isn’t that convenient”. At least they gave the dead horses of “executive privilege” and “national security” a well deserved break. In all actuality, this should be illegal, because it is for a lot of other folks. Here’s why:

The Sarbanes-Oxley act of 2002 (SOX) was legislation that came out of the numerous corporate scandals involving Enron, Tyco, etc. I’m not expert on SOX, but one of the things that it requires is that companies be able to provide email records if audited or face criminal prosecution (see the fine print below).

I only know this because back in 2005 when I worked for VERITAS Software (later Symantec), when the deadlines for meeting SOX requirements were looming, the big thing everyone was asking about was our email archiving solution, Enterprise Vault, which had already been in existence for years. The short & long of it is, companies were required to be able to recover emails, and solutions existed (even way back then) that enabled them to do that. For the government to say that they “lost” 225 days of email reeks of 1) incompetence, or 2) corruption. That we would tolerate either in the Office of the President is simply a bad reflection on us.

Sarbanes-Oxley, however, only applies to public corporations, but if we require this of public companies, should we not also require it of the U.S. Government in general and the White House in particular?

Criminal Penalties for Violation of SOX: Section 802(a) of the SOX, 18 U.S.C. § 1519 states: “Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

On to story #2, (not to be confused with certain bodily functions that share that designation). Since we’re already on the subject of incompetence, here’s a sweet dish from those fine folks at the Department of Homeland Security who continually assure us that they can protect us if only we give them every civil right we own:

FEMA phones hacked; calls made to Mideast, Asia
I feel so safe. Don’t you?

And the best for last . . . . You don’t even have to read this one; the title tells you everything you need to know. Without a doubt, this is a man who is “in touch” with the trials & tribulations of the everyday American.

McCain unsure how many houses he owns

Well, that’s the news folks! Good night, and good luck. (You're gonna need it.)

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