The fact that the e-mails had gone missing was revealed by the Office of Professional Responsibility in a report on its inquiry into the conduct of Yoo and Jay Bybee (pictured below). The Office said that after it became apparent that the records they requested were incomplete, "we were told that most of Yoo's records had been deleted and were not recoverable."
Also missing were e-mails from Justice Department attorney Patrick Philbin, who had raised questions with Yoo and Bybee about their position.
Grinder was unable to explain what happened to the emails, though he said he had met with an information technology specialist concerning the matter. That prompted Leahy to implore Grinder to find the e-mails and threaten to subpoena them.
The Office of Professional Responsibility inquiry found that Yoo and Bybee made errors and employed bad judgment. It initially found that the two men had committed professional misconduct, but that decision was overruled by career Justice Department attorney David Margolis. Investigators said the inquiry was limited by the fact that e-mail records were incomplete.
In December, millions of Bush White House e-mails believed to be lost were recovered after a court battle.