Email messages don't disappear that easily

A lot of political blogs are reporting today that White House staff and operatives evaded regulations and used outside email services, such as their RNC accounts, resulting in the deletion of reportedly five million email messages:
BREAKING: White House lost Over FIVE MILLION e-mails in two year period | Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Thing is, email is harder to kill than Dracula. Email messages inherently hop from server to server (in packets) on their way from sender to recipient. Each of the interim hop-stops might easily have a backup copy, if the system administrator is doing a good job.
Remember how the Iranians painstakingly reconstructed shredded documents from the U.S. embassy in Tehran by literally piecing together the strips? It would be much easier to recover and reconstruct these supposedly “lost” five million email messages the White House doesn’t want us to see.