WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice is claiming that a critical 18 days worth of emails pertaining to the U.S. attorney-firing scandal have gone missing. The emails cover the time period from November 15 thru December 4, 2006 and could offer a crucial glimpse into why the attorneys were fired and the strategy for containing the political fallout.
The missing emails were last seen with a short Hispanic man named Hernando Gonzales, who drives a black SUV with tinted windows and a Washington, D.C. license plate. The Justice Department is actively searching for the man for information on the whereabouts of the emails.
Mr. Gonzales approached Justice Department officials on the afternoon of March 19 to say he needed to borrow the now-missing emails for an hour, but a spokesman for the department said it was unclear where Hernando went after they were in his possession.
"The time frame of the missing emails has got the White House and Justice concerned," the spokesman said. "Family members claim that Mr. Hernandez does not have a history of going missing for extended periods of time," he added.
Hernando is described as a mustachioed 5 foot 7 inch, 180-pound Hispanic male with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should contact the Office of the Attorney General at (202) 353-1555.