Record Removal - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Record Removal

Some former staffers of then-Gov. Mike Huckabee and one current employee of the office that did some of the destruction are saying that the media shouldn’t assume that all computer data and other documents were destroyed in the aftermath of Huckabee’s order to literally wipe the slate clean after he left office.

Huckabee had ordered that the hard drives in 83 personal computers and four servers be destroyed. That equipment and data resided in the state Capitol, a state office in Washington, D.C., the Arkansas State Police airport hangar, the governor’s mansion, and the Arkansas State Police drug office. Additionally a number of paper documents were shredded and burned.

Huckabee’s office claimed the records were destroyed as a courtesy to the incoming governor. Critics believe that the records — particularly those from the governor’s mansion and the airport hangar — were destroyed to further conceal ethical breaches from an administration that many considered more ethically challenged than that of Bill Clinton.

According to the office of the Arkansas Department of Information Systems (DIS), while the data off the 83 personal computers is largely lost, the material on the servers was backed up, and two sets of back-up tapes were given Huckabee’s former chief of staff, Brenda Turner. “One for the governor, the other for whoever he wanted to give it to for safekeeping,” says a current employee of the Department of Information Systems, who asked to not be identified out of fear for their job. “We didn’t keep anything, though.”

One former Huckabee aide, however, says they were informed several months ago that material the state office in Washington, D.C. might also have been saved, including e-mails, memos from the governor’s office, and other state materials. “There is some nervousness within the Huckabee presidential campaign that there is material out there that is unaccounted for. They’ve been trying to track down who was involved in destroying the Washington material.”

According to the DIS employee, hard drives from the Washington computers might have been removed by an outside contractor and shipped to DIS offices for destruction. The effort to cover up Huckabee’s trail didn’t come cheap, either. Overall, the effort cost Arkansas taxpayers almost $350,000. “It cost about $13,000 to destroy the materials and another $330,000 to replace all of the equipment after Huckabee left office,” the employee says.

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