Congress has long been clamoring for the Mueller report, and the Justice Department is expected to deliver the report later today. With a twist. Congress is getting the 400-page report on some now semi-ancient tech: CDs.
Attorney General William Barr held a press conference this morning to present his interpretation of the report. And soon, the Associated Press reports, a redacted version will be delivered to Congress via CD between 11 am ET and noon. It’ll also be 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 now has 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 has found at least one computer with a working optical drive. That’s possibly because the Department of Justice is known for delivering documents for public records requests on CDs.
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’s not clear what sort of security hygiene politicians are practicing, if any. Cloud-based options—like 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 are 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.