US Congress has long been clamouring for the Mueller report, and the US Justice Department finally delivered the report yesterday. With a twist. Congress got the 400-page report on some now semi-ancient tech: CDs.
Attorney General William Barr held a press conference earlier this week to present his interpretation of the report. Now, a redacted version has been delivered to US Congress via CD. It’s also available to the public online.
As if getting the report and deciphering its salient points amid a sea of redactions weren’t enough of a hurdle, Congress also had to find computers with working disc drives. Apple did away with built-in drives on Macs many moons ago, and they’re no longer quite as common on Windows laptops either.
Thankfully, the House Judiciary Committee was reportedly ready for the possibility and found at least one computer with a working optical drive. That’s possibly because the US Department of Justice is known for delivering documents for public records requests on CDs.
.@PaulaReidCBS reports the Mueller report will be delivered to the Hill on CDs tomorrow.
House Judiciary Committee staff was prepared for this possibility — among many — and checked they still have a computer with a working CD-ROM drive (they do).
— Rebecca Kaplan (@RebeccaRKaplan) April 17, 2019
As for why CDs happen to be the DOJ’s delivery method of choice, it probably boils down to security. USB thumb drives might have greater storage capacity and are cheap and convenient, but those same benefits make them attractive to hackers.
And while the DOJ is unlikely to infect Congress’s computers, it isn’t clear what sort of security hygiene politicians are practising, if any. Cloud-based options — such as a password protected Google doc — have the problem where anyone with a password could view it. In other words, it’s just easier to play it safe when it comes to sensitive documents and use hard copies.
As Wired notes, certain members of Congress were expected to receive a version of the report with fewer redactions. Delivering them by CD ensures they get to the exact right person and makes it harder to spread sensitive information quickly.
Still, the idea of politicians scrambling around to find a working CD-ROM drive is pretty entertaining, even if the contents of that 400-page document aren’t.