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Where There’s Smoke: What is the ACLU Hiding?

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From John Bambenek of Ravings of John C. A. Bambenek:

According to Drudge Report:

American Civil Liberties Union has been shredding documents over repeated objections of its records manager and in conflict with longstanding policies on preservation, disposal of records… Developing…

Lawyers have the strictest document retention policy around. They keep everything. Yet here we are with the ACLU destroying documents. Andersen did this to hide what they did with Enron and they were annihilated as a corporation (despite having their conviction ultimately overturned). What does the ACLU have to hide? This could be a bogus lead from Drudge, but if not it is explosive. Is the ACLU under criminal investigation and is worried that documents normally protected by attorney-client privilege would be taken? Do the documents show that the ACLU has been taking funds or shuffling funds to organizations it shouldn’t be?

There is no honest reason to be destroying documents for a law firm, something is amiss…

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About John Bambenek

John Bambenek is a political activist and computer security expert. He has his own company Bambenek Consulting in Champaign, IL that specializes in digital forensics and computer security investigations.
  • JG

    This has been picked up by the NYT – not just drudge.

  • http://elbichoshive.blogspot.com El Bicho

    Cn’t wait to read your post:

    Where There’s Smoke: What is Tom DeLay Hiding?

  • http://www.arma.org/ James McGill

    Lawyers have strict document retention rules, yes, but that does not mean they “keep everything forever”. There are some documents that *must* be destroyed, some documents that are committed to fiche or optical disk on a routine basis and destroyed, some that are burned in the lawyer’s wastebasket as soon as they are read, and some that are kept in temperature controlled storage facilities for generations.

    But it is certainly incorrect to claim that “lawyers keep everything forever.” It is nowhere near that simple.

    Learn something about document retention before trying to claim that shredding documents is in all cases improper. There are just as many cases where *not* shredding documents is a liability, although in the Anderson case, it certainly looks suspicious (you don’t normally find the accountants doing the document destruction themselves, it’s usually a routine weekly pickup by the archives truck…)

    http://www.arma.org/

  • Adam

    “There is no honest reason to be destroying documents for a law firm” is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve read all week. There are LOADS of valid, honest, run-of-the-mill, mundane reasons for a firm to destroy documents. Quite obviously, this writer has absolutely no first-hand knowledge of legal practice…and about the same amount of credibility.

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    Adam and James:

    The ACLU’s own record officer seems to be on my side on this one…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Where There’s Smoke: What is Tom DeLay Hiding?<<

    I think DeLay’s misdeeds are already a matter of public record so I don’t expect an article on it – we actually already had quite a few last month, as I recall.

    Dave

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    Tom DeLay is hiding the same thing about 50 other people in the House (include Nancy Pelosi) are hiding. When all of them regardless of party affiliation get whacked, then we’ll talk. But when two Democrats take the same trip paid for by the same lobbyist as Tom DeLay and only DeLay gets beat up over it, you’ll understand my skepticism.

  • http://gribbitsword.blogspot.com Gribbit

    More info can be found on this here

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    Thanks for the additional links

  • PeterK

    Based upon my reading of the NYTimes article the ACLU’s records management program seems lacking. The placing of materials into a destruction container leaves one to wonder if the records managers/archivists review all the materials prior to destruction to make sure nothing related to litigation, audits or investigations is being destroyed. Normal procedures within an organization require some type of review process prior to the destruction of any records to make material is not destroyed that is subject to litigation, audit or investigation. Considering the number of containers the ACLU may have and the size of the containers I suspect that alot of material is being destroyed, that should be retained.
    Arthur Andersen’s problem was that they were inconsistent in the application of their document retention program.

    what I would like to know is this – The article refers to a policy, but does the ACLU have a records retention schedule. This is the key document that tells organizations what to keep and for how long

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    I’m sure the more poking around the more will come out. I think there is a policy, but the problem is that it doesn’t seem to be followed, or the policy is not what they expect from those the litigate against.

  • dominick

    I bet everyone in the ACLU is a athiast they always against Chistianity.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Why is it always the ACLU with you, Bambenek? I don’t get it.

    That is all.