Scruggs’ lawyer: FBI copied hard drives of Scruggs law firm, failed to find document

Check it out in this Associated Press story.  Seldom am I at a loss for words, but I don’t know what’s going on with this very strange new development, so until I know more, let’s just leave it at that. I do note, however, that the story says the FBI was at the Scruggs firm until 6:30 p.m., a full day of searching.


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2 Responses to Scruggs’ lawyer: FBI copied hard drives of Scruggs law firm, failed to find document

  1. MS Smitty

    As I wrote on your other post, hard drives are treasure troves unless Scruggs’ IT staff was actively using state-of-the-art software to permanently delete files and, even then, it takes disciplined end user participation to keep such a file management scheme always current.
    When you delete a file that file doesn’t disappear even if one empties, for instance in MS Windows, the Recycle Bin. Rather your computer just eliminates the record of where the file began … in other words the computer forgets that the file is there. The space reserved to that file remains allocated until the computer needs the space for something else and with hard drives today storing upwards of a terabyte of data the need to overwrite due to space considerations happens quite infrequently.
    Unless Scruggs was regularly using some heavy duty software that eliminates files for good there may be real trouble even if a hard copy of a particular file couldn’t be found in yesterday’s search.
    Some software that works on a file-by-file basis overwrites those forgotten files with lots of random data so they can’t be recovered but even then it has be written elsewhere that intelligence agencies use highly sophisticated tools that can reverse those overwrites. Assuming Scruggs is using Windows, if the FBI “mirrored” those drives then they’ll also know which software applications were in use — currently or in the past — which could provide them with valuable information to reverse random file overwrites.
    Other software is available that completely kills data on hard drives leaving the entire drive unrecoverable but it seems unlikely that Scruggs was employing that software if his office was actively using the computers as alluded in the AP report.
    Time to sweat bullets. I’m no expert but I do know enough to have never disposed of a computer — sold, donated or otherwise — without first having extracted the hard drive and physically destroying it. That is how damning the situation could be.