Gov. Christie Staff Learns Deleted Email Rarely Goes Away

Christie BridgeGate scandal provides cautionary tale of email

Christie Private Emails
AP
After so many scandals in politics and business, after so much information, once hidden, that has burst on the scenes to ruin reputations, destroy careers, and even ended reigns and administrations, you'd think that people like those who once worked for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would learn a lesson.

To paraphrase the Princess Bride: "You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well known is this: Never write down your plans when mischief is on the line."

There is no need to laugh maniacally as did Wallace Shawn when he played the movie's criminal mastermind Vizzini. Actually, the continuing unwinding of the alleged scheme to paralyze traffic in Fort Lee, N.J. as a form of political retribution is too sad and predictable.

In emails leaked last week to reporters, a top aide to Christie asked to have three busy traffic lanes shut down on the George Washington Bridge, as the Associated Press reported. A local paper, the Bergen, N.J. Record, had requested such emails under the state's open records law but was told they didn't exist. State Assembly members who gained access through a subpoena made them available.

Christie's aide, former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly, had used a Yahoo email account, rather than the state government's system, to exchange messages with the Port Authority to request the shut-down, which many presume was a way to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, who did not back Christie for reelection. (As the Huffington Post notes, Rachel Maddow had another theory as to who the Fort Lee closure target might be.)

Christie ultimately fired multiple people on his staff, claiming that he was unaware of the plan. No documented link has yet to be found showing Christie's direct knowledge.

Whatever the reason, whatever the theory, it is amazing that in this day and age, so many people still underestimate the pervasiveness of email and online documents. Something you "deleted" may still exist on a server somewhere. Use a third-party email or messaging provider -- Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, or Facebook, for example -- and copies of what you write could sit on someone's cloud until demanded by some legal action or other.

And now a new set of emails suggest another mayor was punished for refusing to endorse Christie's campaign, as The Hill reports.

It's not as though having emails resurface only to offer embarrassment and legal fodder is anything new. Last summer, some Obama appointees conducted official business using secret government email accounts, according to AP. Sarah Palin fought to keep 1,100 emails secret, according to Mother Jones, but the move was unsuccessful and they were eventually released and then made public by the likes of the New York Times.

Some politicians seem to learn. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo uses messaging on his BlackBerry, which is virtually untraceable, according to the New York Times, and not the government's email system. But they are few and far between.

Emails have been no friendlier to businesspeople, where prosecutors have used them in insider trading cases and in cases against large financial institutions, according to the New York Times.

No matter how damning, it seems that people are addicted to documenting their doing in ways that other people will be able to see ... eventually.

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lu25lu

Oh, my gosh, Enough is enough! Christie won in a landslide! He didn't need either one of these mayors endorsements! Are all of you idiotic writers and readers really making this into something so big you named in Bridgegate? Your damn President slept while our ambassador died and three other Americans in Benghazi! He died in a cage that was placed there for protection and burnt to death!!! Yet, these writers and liberal news outlets wasted very few precious minutes of their "skills" on informing you of it. That's what should be making American people mad, the disproportionate reporting on the truth and facts. They have talked more about Christie and these lane closings then the IRS targeting conservatives and conservative groups. We are going to economically crash over Obamacare, but let's all worry about traffic jams!! Did it occur to any of you nim wits that this entire thing is probably just a set up by the Clinton camp to get the competition out of the way. And how preposterous that you would find this story, small by comparison to a woman throwing up her hands during the Benghazi trials and saying," They are dead, what difference does it make how they died!" Now that's shocking, coming from your Secretary of State. How about all of the dozens of people the Clinton's have been linked to having killed to cover their tracks, not horrible enough for you, just a traffic delay!! And it's all never mentioned. Come on people, wise up, this mainstream media doesn't want you to hear the important stuff just what advances the left getting and staying ahead. Are you really better off then five years ago??

January 19 2014 at 5:24 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Alex

Oh yes.........hello MxOverdriv - appropriate name, I see.

January 18 2014 at 7:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alex

Only an ignorant and stupid person would make this about Obama. Republicans everywhere are trying to throw eggs at our President......as their own party is melting down to nothing. Just take your little balls and go home now, nobody wants to hear about how you believe Obama conspired to keep his phone in order to do criminal acts. Very, very sad.........and really old news.

January 18 2014 at 7:31 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
cdm1012

Untouchable, that is the mentality of people when they are carrying out there own justice. I'm not so sure if this is going to end well for this bunch. The scope of the investigation seem's to be growing..............

January 18 2014 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
boller123

I'm not a fan of Christie, and if he did know about this, he deserves to swing for it. But if he didn't, does it not occur to anyone that maybe these "rough staffers" did what they did to undermine Christie's political future?

January 18 2014 at 6:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ART

Still waiting on when Christie comes in on this thing - I think that I will wait a long time !!!!

January 18 2014 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mxoverdriv

I didn't know that messages from a Blackberry were virtually untraceable...no wonder Obama insisted upon keeping his Blackberry when he took office!

January 18 2014 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
simpljb

emails remain outhere for ever - I'm surprised non of those "brainiacs " did not understand , or knew this , maybe they din't care - they got what they deserve - as for technology , I saw on Leno the other night that one of Mark Cubans company is workin on new technology that will delete your text immediatley with an app you can purchase for your phone

January 17 2014 at 4:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brucie

Same with the "Book of Life," Our thoughts, words, feelings, unseen doings, or be seen of doings, etc; it cannot be deleted unless forgiven by Jesus Christ on the Judgment Day. I make mistakes blaming on the Obama's Presidency while he's trying so hard to turn things for better, while he's being a public servant? I did detested ebay's CEO John Donahoe for making $30 million dollars in bonuses each year after laying off 1500 ebay employees, was I correct to bad mouth him, no, I was wrong to do so. madkono's correct and it's got me thinking.

January 16 2014 at 5:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Brucie's comment
ART

Trying so hard to cover his Ass

January 18 2014 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
madkono

it's better to learn your lesson, by other peoples mistakes, then your own!!!

January 16 2014 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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