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Mitt Romney Defends Aides' Purchasing Of Hard Drives While He Was Governor Of Massachusetts

First Posted: 11/20/2011 12:33 am Updated: 11/20/2011 1:09 am

On Saturday, Mitt Romney again defended his aides' decision to purchase their government-issued hard drives and erase official emails as Romney finished out his run as governor of Massachusetts in 2006.

MSNBC reports that the GOP contender claimed that the staffers' hard drives may have contained confidential information, and that "putting it in the public domain would be violating their trust."

The Boston Globe reported on Thursday that at the tail end of Romney's governorship, his aides decided to purchase the hard drives that had been officially issued to them, then erased all their official emails from a server. Computers in the office were replaced before Deval Patrick assumed the governorship in 2007, leaving no trace of Romney's electronic communications while in charge of the state.

That story quoted Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, as defending the practice. “In leaving office, the governor’s staff complied with the law and longtime executive branch practice,’’ she said. “Some employees exercised the option to purchase computer equipment when they left. They did so openly with personal checks.’’

The spokeswoman also accused Obama of colluding with friend and current Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick to discredit Romney.

On Saturday, Romney claimed that his administration had followed protocol the letter of the law. From MSNBC:

In what seemed like a circular answer, Romney explained his reasoning. "The reason I presume you would make sure if you're not going to make something public, you in effect don't make it public. By having computers with that information on it, why would you make it public? Which may well be a privileged, confidential medical-in-nature [item] that would not be appropriate to be in the public domain."

When asked by NBC News how transparent a potential Romney White House would be in light of his past performance and recent calls for transparency from the Obama administration, Romney only said, "I would anticipate while I have not been in federal office ... we would do what's required by the law and then some."

As CBS News reported, Romney first defended the practice on Friday, when he spoke with reporters after a campaign event in New Hampshire.

"We actually put 700 boxes of information into the archives that wasn't even required so we followed the law exactly as intended and as written," he said then.

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Filed by Benjamin Hart  |