June 14, 2014

"Did The IRS Really Lose Lois Lerner's Emails? Let a Special Prosecutor Find Them."

That headline — at the National Journal — says exactly what needs to be said.

For decades the received wisdom has been it's not the crime, it's the coverup. And here we see evidence of a coverup. What kind of crime must there be that after all these years of warnings that it's the coverup that will get you, we've got a glaring, egregious coverup?!

Oh? Do they say maybe it's not a coverup? Maybe Lois Lerner's emails really did disappear in a computer crash? We need a neutral prosecutor to find out what happened. There's zero reason to take that on faith.

How could it possibly be that government operates this way, with high-level government officials working with one computer that could crash and take everything with it? Aren't there central computers, backed up multiple times, with a record of everything?

We're talking about the IRS. Doesn't it have multiple, backed up records on all of us taxpayers?

Give us a special prosecutor, because it's not acceptable to tell us we're supposed to believe this story of disappearing evidence....

132 comments:

campy said...

Nothing to see here. Move along, you racist wingnutz.

Meade said...

Time to lose the IRS.

Sorun said...

Regular (weekly) backups of network data in organizations is pretty standard fare.

Bob Boyd said...

Rep Jason Chaffetz tweeted this:

"IRS Commissioner testified in March Lois Lerner emails were archived. Here is the video #IRS http://youtu.be/Ax6QGmKhRwo"

Ann Althouse said...

How can anybody be prosecuted for tax evasion if one can simply lose all one's records and expect that to be the end of it?

It's like the old Steve Martin routine "how to make a million dollars and never pay taxes."

Rusty said...

You got some splainin to do Lois.

jim murray said...

Obama is much better than Nixon. Nixon lost 18 minutes, Obama lost 2 years.

Mr. D said...

Al-Qaeda has 'em -- found the emails in an abandoned weapons depot in Mosul. Either that or they lost the emails on a secret VA waiting list.

rhhardin said...

They didn't lose them. They destroyed them, most likely.

That takes some IT talent, which means a bunch of people. Somebody needs to turn one of them.

Meade said...

Redact the IRS.

mezzrow said...

At what point will we find our Alexander Butterfield? The truth exists.

iowan2 said...

Corporations are required by federal law to produce emails. Failure is punishable by jail time. There are hundreds of judicial rulings from the bench that reject the notion of lost emails and assumes those claiming the loss as guilty as charged.
Lois Lerner is now guilty. Punish her.

On a larger note. Why would we expand govt power if they are incapable of producing documents on a timely fasion???
Fast and Furious, Solyndra,Bengahzi,etal.?

madAsHell said...

Her computer crashed!?!?
This is a statement of utter ignorance. Her computer doesn't manage the email system.

Anglelyne said...

The dog ate my emails.

gspencer said...

Some guy, when in college, posts some pictures of himself drunk at a party. Or some young girl, pressured by a boyfriend to send some sort of revealing pictures, does as requested.

These images stay forever. Sometimes haunting the people involved: Loss of a job; embarrassments; denied interview opportunities; and more.

But her IRS emails are lost forever?

No way! They're out there.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Speaking of political cliches, isn't it standard practice to release news you hope no one notices late on a Friday? So it was especially troubling for Obama to release this information late on a Friday.

PB Reader said...

Yes. There are backups. It is not credible that these emails could have been lost without affecting a large number of other IRS employees.

While a particularly user's personal computer may have crashed, the email is easily restored from the server replica. The servers are backed up nightly as are the log files of incoming and outgoing emails.

Also, other government agencies have separate email servers with similar backup processes, so that any email sent or received by Ms Lerner from anyone else in government is also retrievable.

For them to make this claim buried deep on a friday afternoon notable. However the mainstream media is buying it.

John said...

Forget just now who it was but a Congressman or Senator said that NSA should provide the metadata.

Seems reasonable to me. They have admitted that they collect metadata on everyone so there is no secret being let out.

I hope the guy was serious and this will lead to forcing the NSA to release it.

Otherwise what good are they?

There is one worry I have. If they release the metadata in this case, would that set a precedent? Would they be forced to release metadata in civilian criminal cases?

In civilian civil suits?

Much as I would like to see the metadata released on Lerner I don't think we should be collecting it at all. I would hope that President Paul will order collection ceased.

I would hope that President Paul will order what has been collected destroyed.

John Henry

Bob Boyd said...

Without a trace of irony President Obama yesterday said what is needed in Iraq is “a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities.”
The President then added, "Take my advice. I'm not using it anyway."
I may have made up that last part.

Michael K said...

This is so absurd that it demonstrates the arrogance of Obama and his people. They assume the news media will cover for them. It also brings up a quote from Watergate. Nixon henchman Jack Caulfield astutely complained that the IRS was a “monstrous bureaucracy…dominated and controlled by Democrats.”

They knew that in 1974 and it has proven even more true now.

BDNYC said...

This is incredible. It sounds like the sort of excuse a computer illiterate 70 year old would use in response to a computer illiterate 80 year old's request.

Anyone who works at a company or for the government and uses email regularly knows that emails are regularly archived and subject to disclosure. Hasn't the IRS implemented certain document retention protocols because of FOIA?

Anonymous said...

"it's not the crime, it's the coverup."


I would say 'it's the crime AND the coverup'.

Meade said...

Can we hire Edward Snowden to find the missing emails?

Rusty said...

Meade said...
Redact the IRS.

Somebody's been audited.

The Godfather said...

Remember Oliver North? He thought he'd destroyed the Iran-Contra emails. I agree about the appointment of an independent counse and I expect the Walker Administration will make that a priority in 2017, but maybe the IC could hire Ollie as a consultant.

Tom Gallagher said...

It's nice to know the people who manage these bureaucracies will be looking after our health care.

Mark said...

They lost ALL the backups? I don't think so.

I'd be amazed if Lerner's laptop(s) didn't have copies of PST files on them as well.

And what about her "private" emails? Hasn't Obama's administration been fairly famous for using private accounts to avoid just such emergencies?

And of course, there are the copies on the various devices of those in communication with Lerner. Lots of members of Congress, as I understand. Not to mention the emails of all her direct- and second-level reports.

Talk about opening up some good fishing holes.

RonF said...

I'm in IT. Have been for 30 years. This is bullshit. I flatly don't believe it.

garage mahal said...

They didn't lose them. They destroyed them, most likely.

A federal court in Chicago ordered the hard drives containing redistricting files to be delivered to the court by the WisGOP. And they did, but completely wiped clean of all data or files. "Oh, you meant with the files on them?????"

Sorun said...

I have a friend that does IT for a large tax preparation company. She tells me that every company that deals with money and government is legally obligated to have years of email stored and available for inquiry.

But the government finds an exception for itself?

Anonymous said...

BO ate them.

Obama will find them when he eats BO.

exhelodrvr1 said...

You voted for him.

Anonymous said...

Garbage: Look, squirrel

Anonymous said...

The IRS is taking a page from Governor Walker's playbook.

Curious George said...

"Obama needs to address this 'phony scandal' and the public trust with real transparency."

He can't. He's complicit.

Original Mike said...

These people are lawless. If they've disappeared, it's because they were destroyed. Does Trey Gowdy's committee have the power to pursue criminal charges against those who did this?

Terry said...

How dumb are journalists?
a "computer crash" is not some mysterious, apocalyptic event. Assuming "computer crash" means "disk drive went bad" (did anyone even ask?) there are still a lot of questions. Where is the drive now? Can anything be recovered from it? What were the symptoms of the failure? How do we know that Lerner didn't just wipe the drive and claim that her "computer crashed"?

Original Mike said...

Ron Fournier: "President Obama needs to act."

Really, Ron? I think he did act. Presumably, there was pretty incriminating stuff in the e-mails, though I suppose it's possible this is being done just to drag out the investigation.

Paul said...

All I can say is...

Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon, Nixon.

And the 2 year gap makes Nixon's 18 minute look like a honest mistake.

And remember folks WHAT HAPPENED TO NIXON!

Paul said...

And one more thing. 99 percent of the businesses use GroupWise for their email systems.

It is on a separate server and not on any employees server. It is backed up nightly to CD or DVDs or tapes.

It is impossible for a 'crash' of a hard drive to have destroyed the 2 years of emails.

Yes a Crime and a Cover up. And like Nixon it won't end well.

Edward Lunny said...

" A federal court in Chicago....." Ahh, yes, previous unsavory behavior justifies the repetition of said behaviors by others. So you won't squeal at all when a republican administration summarily strips any, every ?, lib organization of its tax exempt status ? Your argument is asinine in the extreme, at least.

Original Mike said...

Unsurprising but still appalling; this story is not reported in the NYT.

http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2014/06/14/18-12-minutes-vs-2-years-which-is-worse/

(I'd embed the link, but it's such a pain to do on an iPad).

gerry said...

How do we know that Lerner didn't just wipe the drive and claim that her "computer crashed"?

A good computer forensics lab can recover a lot of stuff from a wiped drive, unless it's been erased a number of times.

This administration sucks unimaginably.

St. George said...

Our Constitutional system is broken, has been probably since the mid-1960s. That it took more than a year to get Nixon out office proved it, as did Vietnam. Our horse-and-buggy era political system wasn't upgraded for the electric age, and it's certainly not ready for the digital age. We've been fooling ourselves for nearly 50 years. Ponderous checks-and-balances work in an era when life moves slowly and warships have sails. We still need the checks-and-balances, but the system needs to be accelerated so we can get the Nixons, LBJs, and Obamas of the world out of office before they can do irreparable harm.

traditionalguy said...

The media guys are not that easy to lie to unless they chose to be lied to.

Hillary's miff at the NPR interviewer person who forgot the rules of the game are that she always wins was revealing. The Clinton people called the interviewer out for being mean to a victim. That reveals the expectation of positive story lines only.

An all pervading fear of losing a government funded job has cast a dark spell over the media in the USA. Not so much so in England where the media remember the Rights of the City of London. They understand a tradition of living under Kings does require media stories have to report some things the King doesn't like.

But darkness continues to drive out light in the Kingdom of Obama I.

Michael The Magnificent said...

I'm a software engineer. My computer hard drive can crash. Hell, my whole house could burn to the ground, taking every last computer I own with it, and I wouldn't lose a single email.

That's because the emails reside on an off-site email server (which automatically gets backed up daily), not my desktop computer.

If you think the IRS's email server was being run on Lois Lerner's desktop computer, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Furthermore, 15 years ago a hard drive full of 5 years worth of work stopped working. I sent the hard drive to Ontrack Data Recovery, and $1000 later they had every last file from that hard drive burned to a set of CDs.

Anyone willing to swallow this line of BS (I'm looking at you, MSM!) is a willful idiot.

Larry Nelson said...

The NY Times, Washington Post and cable news will be all over this obvious coverup!
Oh wait... nothing to see, move along. Really?
Is the sewer in DC really that rotten?

Curious George said...

"madisonfella said...
The IRS is taking a page from Governor Walker's playbook."

Because?

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Bullshit.

Fritz said...

I worked at the Smithsonian for the last few years. Back in that era, at one time, we were told to put our archived emails on our own computers because of lack of central storage. Since then they have gone to a centralized archive system.

Now, the IRS should have been more rigorous than that, especially for high ranking official whose word matter but. . .

I don't believe them for a minute, but the scenario is at least remotely possible.

Mark said...

Senders and receivers, folks. Lerner's emails are scattered all over Washington and presumably throughout IRS offices nationwide.

Even if they took flame throwers to the servers (and archive rooms; as someone pointed out best practices put backups on read-only media such as DVDs) servicing Lerner's office, there are all those recipients out there with pieces of the document trail. And now there's good reason to subpoena all of them.

Blackbeard said...

I'm generally not one for conspiracy theories but something must be really rotten here for Obama to take the chance of having these emails destroyed. Of course nothing will happen as long as the Obama gang is running things but perhaps if a Republican is ever elected president we could put some of these crooks in jail.

These guys stole an election in plain sight and will probably get away with it. Sad day.

chillblaine said...

This makes sense to me. I have learned that the email backup was done on an IBM XT 10MB hard drive running MS-DOS 2.01. That hard drive was archived to an Apple IIe running AppleDOS. They have top men looking for the 8" floppies formatted with CP/M that archived that system.

Top. Men.

Fred Drinkwater said...

I was going to post something frivolous about Gov IT, but I looked at my posting and said Eff it, I'm not LAUGHING here, I'm PISSED OFF. AGAIN.
And there are STILL people out there who think government should DO MORE to make our lives BETTER. %(*&^!!
(Ya know, I'm not an all-caps kind of guy. Usually.)

Mark said...

Combining Nixonian morality with Carterian competency.

Ah, but who are we kidding? McCain would have been worse.

Beta Rube said...

I am not an IT expert, but even I kinda think that the emails would be stored on an exchange server or some such, and not on a PC.

Scooter Libbey was tormented over nothing, and these treasonous f**ks get away with destroying the constitution and using the unchecked power of Federal agencies to destroy the opposition.

Is there a "last straw", or are they just too good at this?

David said...

Michael K said...
This is so absurd that it demonstrates the arrogance of Obama and his people.


It could also indicate their desperation. The contents could be so bad that the only path to self preservation was to destroy them.

That was the assumption in Nixon's case.

Biff said...

The double standard is astonishing. I've mentioned before that I work in the healthcare tech space, and, as I commented over Instapundit, "If any of my clients were to say today, 'Our computers crashed, and we lost two years of executive emails' in response to a regulator's inquiry, the results would be nuclear. By the time the investigation would be finished, there wouldn't be enough rubble left to bounce."

For most of my life, friends and colleagues have accused me of being as charitable, cheerful, and even-handed as the most earnest of Boy Scouts. This administration has made me into as corrosive of a cynic as any I've ever known. I don't like that.

David said...

Phil D said...
"it's not the crime, it's the coverup.


Ultimately it's the coverage. As in media.

n.n said...

Special Auditor.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The IRS uses MS Exchange, for which the basic setup includes redundancy. Those emails exist in the MS Exchange Database.

Government regulations also require what's known as RAID (redundant array of independent disks) to be in place at all agencies.

If those emails do not exist in redundant Read-Only format on separate databases we are dealing with only two possibilities:

a) conspiracy to violate federal and regulations by not creating redundant copies, or

b) destruction of evidence

We must remember, it was Republicans who forced Nixon out of office for far, Far less.

Unless African-Americans do the same thing I shall assume their complicit approval of what is unquestionably a "high crime".

Obama and his administration are sowing the seeds of a civil war. I dearly hope we can avoid that outcome; and that African-Americans are not so pathologically stupid as to make themselves an easily identifiable target in such a tragic development.

Jupiter said...

"What kind of crime must there be that after all these years of warnings that it's the coverup that will get you, we've got a glaring, egregious coverup?!"

Have you considered the possibility that coverups are commonplace, and almost always successful?

Michael said...

The IRS operates under the French system. The acused must prove their innocence. Taxpayers had better keep detailed, accurate records. Or pay up.

The administration rightly believes the public to be stupid. We have to remember this

Rae said...

I'm a system administrator. In an org like the IRS, the email should be managed though a central server, backed up nightly at a minimum, hourly more probably. Old backups would be warehoused in an appropriate offsite facility.

It wouldn't matter if an individual computer crashed, or even if the owner of the computer deleted all the emails. It's backed up - unless an admin went in and deleted them.

And it's very hard to cover that up.

Seize the backups. Subpoena the IT admins.

Anonymous said...

"The IRS is taking a page from Governor Walker's playbook."

Another squirrel together with complete BS and a hit-job.
Not bad for an nincompoop.

The Crack Emcee said...

"How could it possibly be that government operates this way, with high-level government officials working with one computer that could crash and take everything with it? Aren't there central computers, backed up multiple times, with a record of everything?"

BWAAAAAA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!!!!

PHILIP MATKOVSKY, ASST. DEP. VA UNDER SECRETARY (6/9/2014): "Our scheduling system scheduled its first appointment in April of 1985. It has not changed in any appreciable manner since that date."

Timing,...

traditionalguy said...

IRS/SS Bureaucrats are the basic government terrorists used to destroy any enemies of the Kingdom of Obama.

A basic terrorist's goal is fear creation from successful communication of dire threats.

So Lerner's IRS/SS in your face getting away with this total lawlessness is part of the game plan. They wanted us to know that we cannot stop them.

Fernandinande said...

A good computer forensics lab can recover a lot of stuff from a wiped drive, unless it's been erased a number of times.

Urban legend (based on advertising). Once is enough.

jr565 said...

The left keeps saying that these are non scandals. Yet, by having emails conveniently lost (wcich is unfathomable by the way) it suggests that there is a lot more fire than smoke.
Are liberals really accepting of this "excuse"? And would they under the Bush administration. Because if they are, and this is the game they want to play Republicans should simply do what they want and then conveniently have hard drive chrashes every time there is a subpoena.

Your time is up to cover for this adminsistration without looking like complete and utter liars.

jr565 said...

If the got can lose 2 years of email, what does that say about their handling of your medical records and/or payments for insurance.

vermonter said...

I worked in IT for a federal agency. Even at our low level (a National Park) I made tape backups every night. Weekly backups were for every file, daily backups were for new or changed files. Any email that wasn't sent/read/erased on a day was backed up and was probably on a large number of weekly backups. Also, we only had one email system, not one for internal mail and another for external. Our tape backups also contained all email received, not just sent so the other agencies, should also have backups of the incoming mail. There were numerous times I had to restore a user's email files after a computer crash, from the weekly tapes then each appropriate daily tape. Are the IRS IT management people that stupid!?

Gahrie said...

And remember folks WHAT HAPPENED TO NIXON!

What happened to Nixon was that the Republicans had some integrity and forced him to resign. The Democrats have no integrity, and there is literally nothing he could do that would convince the Democrats to force Obama to resign or impeach him.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Hanlon's razor says Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

The Obama administration has spent the last five years raising the bar on what can be explained by stupidity. Even so, this demands and outside investigation.


Lost My Cookies said...

Paul,

Groupwise? Not even in 1998. The IRS uses MS Exchange. All email sent or received is automatically captured by an internal journaling process and packaged in a special email called a journal report. This special email is sent to a special mailbox called a Journal Recipient. The IRS owns one of the few email archiving applications (from Symantec, EMC, HP or one of the cloud vendors) that connects to the journal recipient and pulls the emails into an indexed and searchable archive. The government requires the storage the archive sits on to be redundant and highly available. One hard drive failure would not lose the email. The email would have to be disposed of manually and the audit log would exist. If it was a hard drive failure, either the index, audit or archive would exist, because they would be stored on separate drives. Probably separate devices.

Not to mention regular backups. This is all bullshit.

Lost My Cookies said...

Paul,

Groupwise? Not even in 1998. The IRS uses MS Exchange. All email sent or received is automatically captured by an internal journaling process and packaged in a special email called a journal report. This special email is sent to a special mailbox called a Journal Recipient. The IRS owns one of the few email archiving applications (from Symantec, EMC, HP or one of the cloud vendors) that connects to the journal recipient and pulls the emails into an indexed and searchable archive. The government requires the storage the archive sits on to be redundant and highly available. One hard drive failure would not lose the email. The email would have to be disposed of manually and the audit log would exist. If it was a hard drive failure, either the index, audit or archive would exist, because they would be stored on separate drives. Probably separate devices.

Not to mention regular backups. This is all bullshit.

Ralph Hyatt said...

I have worked in IT since 1981 which included stints as a sendmail and Unix administrator.

I also have a masters degree in information assurance.

Claiming that "my computer ate my email," is utter and complete nonsense. It is a lie.

If it true then please provide the name of the system administrator who failed to do his or her job and the reprimand placed in his or her file for that failure.

Original Mike said...

I bet Obama's really angry over this.

Scott said...

Not one of the major media newscasts (CBS, ABC, NBC) carried this story Friday night. Lots of puff pieces though.

Gahrie said...

There is no way in hell Holder is going to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate this.

Just Mike said...

Dems are just not good record keepers, that's all. Remember also Hillary "misplaced" her Rose Law Firm records? http://www.ego-vero.net/main/?p=951

Bob R said...

I would be nice to hear some serious proposals to abolish the IRS. I don't see it ever happening. Pols won't give up the opportunity for graft and corruption. But the tax code is too complicated and the process is too intrusive. Why the hell is it the government's business how I made my money? Replace the income tax with some sort of consumption tax. Give a universal rebate to make the process progressive. Laugh with joy at the tears of the tax consultants and estate planners.

Gahrie said...

"What kind of crime must there be that after all these years of warnings that it's the coverup that will get you, we've got a glaring, egregious coverup?!"

We know what the crime was. The White House, the DoJ and the IRS collaborated in an attempt to harass and intimidate their political enemies.

jacksonjay said...

So, obviously, it is time for John Lewis to go all Selma on Issa's ass!

BLOODY SUNDAY!

Twist and Shout!

Anonymous said...

The Republicans control the House, which is where impeachment proceedings occur. If impeachment doesn't happen over this then the GOP is also trying to hide something and their hand-wringing is nothing more than political theater.



Meade said...

madisonfella said...
"The IRS is taking a page from Governor Walker's playbook."

Gee, you must be doubly outraged.

Big Mike said...

This gambit fools no one who isn't already desperate to be fooled. This administration is simply daring us.

Since Obama appears to be immune to impeachment, the proper response is to impeach the individuals around him, to make everyone else in his cabinet and on his staff realize that they are potential sacrificial goats and let them decide for themselves whether their love for the Democrats includes seeing their own careers and reputations destroyed.

Gahrie said...

If impeachment doesn't happen over this then the GOP is also trying to hide something

You're kidding right?

The Left is praying (or would be if they weren't all secular progressives) that the Republicans will start talking about impeachment.

If the Republicans take the Senate, and hold the House, in November...we might actually start to get somewhere on these scandals.

Anonymous said...

Gee, you must be doubly outraged.

Absolutely. Unlike you and yours, I don't give one side a free pass.

Gahrie said...

Wanna hear another scandal? Go look at Memorandum at the links to the sites covering this story. They are all opinion blogs....the news organizations aren't even covering this online.

Bruce Hayden said...

Some others have said this better, likely because they are closer to it than I am. But, here is my take.

Email services are provided by an email server. In the home market, that is usually your ISP. They provide email to you via POP, IMAP, etc. services, and receive it from you via SMTP. They then send emails back and forth between each other using SMTP. So, you send an email to your server when you hit transmit, it sends it to the mail server at the other end, and the recipient retrieves it from their mail server. That is essentially all that services like GMail, etc. do. Mid to large companies and law firms, as well as many government agencies, run their own email servers. You can do it yourself, I did for years - all it requires is some freeware, a dedicated computer, a dedicated IP address, and some DNS entries. What must be remembered though is that the primary copy of an email is on the email server. Everything else is a copy.

Apparently, the IRS uses MSFT Exchange for its email. Not surprising - a lot of mid to large sized organizations do. The basics don't change there - the primary copy of the email is still on the (Exchange) mail servers. You just have copies on your desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone, etc. The big difference though is at the back end, what is done on the email servers. In my case, I used multiple hard drives to protect against disk failure. In my last law firm, the email was run from secure locations, and was completely redundant. We likely wouldn't lose more than one or two emails in the entire firm in the case of a nuclear strike on the primary location.

When a poster above mentioned journaling, what he was essentially talking about is that all of the emails sent and received by enterprise level email servers are routinely saved somewhat sequentially, archived, and loaded into databases for ease of retrieval. When you click "delete" on your email, a flag maybe set/cleared on your email server, and it is somewhat deleted from your immediate email account. It doesn't disappear. Not even close. Multiple copies are hanging around in archives and the like for years. At least not with an enterprise level server. For businesses, it sits in storage until the IRS, in particular, tells you that that you can delete it. My memory is 7 years for a lot of things. 20 for some, etc. (And, yes, I have worked on data retention standards - but that was around the time of Y2K).

Anonymous said...

You can always tell when Democrats are scared and think it's a real scandal.

"The IRS is taking a page from Governor Walker's playbook."

They always point at Republicans and say, "They did it too!!!!"

ALP said...

I wonder if there are hackers out there working on dredging up these "lost" emails? That would be rich, gov't claims emails lost, 14-year old prodigy hacker finds them.

Bruce Hayden said...

Someone above mentioned a .pst file. That is the local copy of your email when using Microsoft Outlook. It is possible to "delete" emails from your email server, and have them still on your hard drive in your .pst file. And, it is somewhat probable that is what they are talking about. That Lerner's local copy of emails had been lost in a disk crash. As I noted before, this isn't the primary copy, but rather, a duplicate, that may linger after the primary is officially (but not really) deleted on the email server.

So, actually losing all of Lerner's emails is nonsensical, even for the IRS, which would not think the dog ate your email excuse humorous if offered to them in an audit. It just wouldn't happen. But what might be going on? Some theories.

First, Lerner apparently was using a personal email account to conduct IRS business, etc. Commercial ISPs dump email as soon as they can, usually in months, as contrasted with companies and govt. agencies. So, some of the only copies of those emails might have been on that crashed hard drive.

Secondly, in electronic discovery, you want as many copies of emails as you can get your hands on. Know some lawyers who made quite a bit of money on discrepancies they found between different copies of the same email (email, essentially, are ASCII text files that can be easily manipulated, at least outside of enterprise email servers). Moreover, you often don't see who all the recipients are - and that may be critical here, when we are talking the possible commission of felonies by sending taxpayer information outside the IRS (e.g. to the DoJ, etc. - which would have to prosecute those felonies).

Alternatively, the IRS could just be obdurate here. They don't want to respond, and so intentionally misunderstand the document request.

Or, finally, that this is taken out of context, and the IRS was just saying that they couldn't provide the local copy of emails sitting on Lerner's computer when its hard drive crashed.

Terry said...

"If impeachment doesn't happen over this then the GOP is also trying to hide something and their hand-wringing is nothing more than political theater."

So what were the house Dems who refused to impeach Bush in 2007 trying to hide?
There are some pretty stupid people in Madison. Must be its proximity to institutes of higher learning.

Naut Right said...

If the objective is to build an airtight case for impeachment of the president,we can save ourselves the troulbe. Everyone knows it is a political impossibility. If the objective is to find prosecutable evidence of a crime by LL and others, while laudable, doesn't get to the root problem. The root problem is a rogue administration. The solutions is to atrangle it. Cut off it's energy supply. The Republicans in the House are loathe to use the power of the purse because it pitts their collective will against the President's will. Yet, they would have us believe his will would crumble if a mere Republican majority were present in the Senate. That is not so and not so by any measure. They either use the power they clearly have or they should tell the public there is nothing here to see and move on.

Meade said...

madisonfella said...
"Absolutely. Unlike you and yours, I don't give one side a free pass."

Not even one? Seems a little stingy. Unlike me and mine - we generously give free passes all the way around.

Paul said...

Ok gang,

Several of us here being in IT have now chimed in about how emails are stored.

I thought GroupWise but now MS Exchange.

Anyway all no-IT posters here see that to have Lerner's drive crash due to disk failure would have no effect on her emails existence.

Just as the emails I get are kept by the company I use for my internet service and not on my PC (but I can get a copy put on my PC if needed.)

So the White House's excuse is so transparently false it begs one to wonder who in the WH came up with the story!

So bottom line... it's all LIES for the Administration. LIES to cover their crimes not unlike Nixon did.

So if we can't vote Obama out... LETS VOTE EVERY DEMOCRAT OUT TO SHOW OUR DISPLEASURE. Mid-term elections are almost here!

Vote to save America. Vote Democrats out..

Old Dad said...

Say you were some dunderheaded spokestwit at the IRS.

Why not lie? It would be a bit more professional to craft a more plausible lie, but why not?

Say you were Susan Rice...

Tom said...

I work for the federal government (Department of Defense). All work is on network servers, which are backed up every night.

This is such unbelievable bullshit, but they must be really desperate to hide something that they resort to what they have to know no one will believe.

libertariansafetyguy said...

As soon as Repulicans get control of the Senate, congress should cut all funding for executives at the IRS. Start with 5% salary sequester per month until the emails are produced. After six months, cancel their pensions. Include any executive who worked at the IRS for the last 3 years.

Joe Schmoe said...

Other officials in this administration have been known to use personal emails with pseudonyms to conduct their shady business. I say get a warrant to comb through all her personal accounts as well.

PackerBronco said...

This isn't a "my dog ate my homework" defense; it's a "my dog went to several different houses and selectively ate everyone's homework." defense!!!

Lydia said...

According to Politico.com, here's what the IRS said in its letter to the investigative panel:

The IRS explains in the letter that it has not always backed up all employee emails due to the cost the agency would incur for allowing 90,000 employees to store their information on the IRS’s internal system.

Currently, IRS employees have the capacity to store about 6,000 emails in their active Outlook email boxes, which are saved on the IRS centralized network. But the letter and background document sent to the Hill Friday said they could only store about 1,800 emails in their active folders prior to July 2011.

When their inboxes were full, IRS employees had to make room by either deleting emails or archiving them on their personal computers. Archived data were not stored by the IRS but by the individual.

Such archived emails on Lerner’s computer were what were lost when her computer crashed.

“Any of Ms. Lerner’s email that was only stored on that computer’s hard drive would have been lost when the hard drive crashed and could not be recovered,” the letter reads.


Sounds like what Fritz up-thread said about the Smithsonian's lousy system. Hard to believe.

Anthony said...

This administration is nothing but a series of Monty Python's dead parrot routines.

Jason said...

It was a video!

Jason said...

Ok, there's a big, BIG dog that I don't hear barking yet: I just scanned some of the major trade pub websites for government IT types. Nothing on the IRS. This should be the number one hot topic for anyone involved whatsoever in government IT at any level, and I'm seeing crickets so far. What's the deal?

rcocean said...

"I work for the federal government (Department of Defense). All work is on network servers, which are backed up every night."

I work for a big Corporation and used to work for a Federal Agency (non-DoD) all files were/are back-up weekly. There's no way the Email's could be "lost" in a "computer glitch".

rcocean said...

"I work for the federal government (Department of Defense). All work is on network servers, which are backed up every night."

I work for a big Corporation and used to work for a Federal Agency (non-DoD) all files were/are back-up weekly. There's no way the Email's could be "lost" in a "computer glitch".

rcocean said...

"I work for the federal government (Department of Defense). All work is on network servers, which are backed up every night."

I work for a big Corporation and used to work for a Federal Agency (non-DoD) all files were/are back-up weekly. There's no way the Email's could be "lost" in a "computer glitch".

Anonymous said...

Lydia wrote;

"The IRS explains in the letter that it has not always backed up all employee emails due to the cost the agency would incur for allowing 90,000 employees to store their information on the IRS’s internal system.

Currently, IRS employees have the capacity to store about 6,000 emails in their active Outlook email boxes, which are saved on the IRS centralized network. But the letter and background document sent to the Hill Friday said they could only store about 1,800 emails in their active folders prior to July 2011.

When their inboxes were full, IRS employees had to make room by either deleting emails or archiving them on their personal computers. Archived data were not stored by the IRS but by the individual.

Such archived emails on Lerner’s computer were what were lost when her computer crashed.

“Any of Ms. Lerner’s email that was only stored on that computer’s hard drive would have been lost when the hard drive crashed and could not be recovered,” the letter reads."

Well, I can tell you, I work for the Federal Government and have for the last 18 years. The above is absolutely true. We get messages all the time telling us to back up old Emails that we want to keep or they are going to be deleted.

However, I've always been told that in the Federal Government, we are required by law to keep everything for 7 years. So when they said things would be deleted, I didn't think "deleted deleted" but rather, removed from my availability to access.

Original Mike said...

"The IRS explains in the letter that it has not always backed up all employee emails due to the cost the agency would incur for allowing 90,000 employees to store their information on the IRS’s internal system."

This is legal? The IRS is not required to keep copies of employee emails?

rhhardin said...

My own opinion, for what it's worth, is that you have a constitutional right to destroy evidence.

If they want to prosecute, let them find their own evidence.

Self-incrimination and all that.

Nichevo said...

Wait. The point has been made, right, that every day a backup of the servers is cut to tape and the tape(s) are trucked to a climate controlled bomb shelter under a mountain somewhere? That with a proper request, you can get a user's emails from any date range you like? No business that likes to exist keeps less than 7 years' worth of records and if the IRS doesn't...

No. Just no.

Is Congress truly powerless to investigate?

dave in boca said...

Any third-rate techie knows that a busted hard drive means nothing concerning lost records, which are always saved on servers.

Anyone who thinks the IRS is not a criminal RICO outfit can now rest assured that the taxman stealth.

Original Mike said...

And there are people who want more government? Are they idiots? What they do to your opponent, others will do to you next time around.

Unknown said...

We now live in a state of permanent corruption. The Executive branch tells obvious lies, and there's nothing we can do about it. The media won't even focus on the story. The implicit message is that we should ignore this and just go about our lives. This is tragic.

David in Cal

Scott M said...

The Left is praying (or would be if they weren't all secular progressives) that the Republicans will start talking about impeachment.

If the Republicans take the Senate, and hold the House, in November...we might actually start to get somewhere on these scandals.


There's simply now way, politically, Congress can impeach the first black president, anymore than Congress will be able to impeach the first woman president.

gk1 said...

I'm sorry, not even my bay area liberal co-workers believe this horseshit. Like me they feel insulted they would even toss out such an excuse. It shows amazing contempt. This is pretty much it for the obama presidency. No wonder Obama's shopping around for retirement mansions.

Hyphenated American said...

One thing I don't get - why can't Congress "ask" IRS to bring that computer with the hard drive? Let's take a look at that allegedly damaged hard drive and see what happened to it. If it's been formatted - well, then let's ask IRS who did it.

Rusty said...

Unknown said...
We now live in a state of permanent corruption.

It's how things are done in Illinois.
I warned you.

Mrs Whatsit said...

Among other reasons that this is transparently, ludicrously unbelievable: emails are communications with OTHER PEOPLE. It should not be difficult to identify correspondents -- starting with any known correspondents, then expanding to anyone in the higher levels of the IRS and/or Cincinnati and anyone in the White House -- and subpoena THEIR accounts for messages sent to or from her. They all work for the government; their mail isn't "private" and having to turn over anything with her name on it is no more invasive than having her turn over the same message.

Michael The Magnificent said...

From IRS lost emails by official in tea party probe

The IRS was able to generate 24,000 Lerner emails from the 2009 to 2011 because Lerner had copied in other IRS employees. The agency said it pieced together the emails from the computers of 82 other IRS employees.

But an untold number are gone. Camp’s office said the missing emails are mainly ones to and from people outside the IRS, "such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices."

tim in vermont said...

"“Any of Ms. Lerner’s email that was only stored on that computer’s hard drive would have been lost when the hard drive crashed and could not be recovered,” "

Let's just say that, for the sake of argument, the above is true. As has been pointed out, the email could still have been recovered, even from a crashed drive, and destroying it would also be destruction of records.

And an interesting line of questioning would be to ask Ms Lerner, exactly how she did her job after losing all of that communication and history. Oh wait, she took the fifth, I forgot.

I guess there is nothing to see here then.

Biff said...

Jason wrote (6/14/14, 5:48 PM): "Ok, there's a big, BIG dog that I don't hear barking yet: I just scanned some of the major trade pub websites for government IT types. Nothing on the IRS. This should be the number one hot topic for anyone involved whatsoever in government IT at any level, and I'm seeing crickets so far. What's the deal?"

It was the same way with the healthcare IT trade press during the rollout of Obamacare. After several years of detailed, rah-rah articles, it was almost total radio silence once it became clear the rollout was going to be bumpy.

So, what's the deal? Simple: you don't bite the hand that feeds you.

If you are a supplier of services to government IT departments (or to the closely related, highly regulated healthcare IT space), you are very careful to avoid criticizing the people who authorize the purchase of your services. In practice, even if not necessarily intent, that makes you beholden to Democratic Party policies.

Don't expect any serious discussion of the question in the government IT trade press. To the degree it will be discussed, it will be in the general IT press, e.g. publications like Infoworld, and it will be limited just to a handful of articles.

Terry said...

Tim in Vermont wrote:
"And an interesting line of questioning would be to ask Ms Lerner, exactly how she did her job after losing all of that communication and history. Oh wait, she took the fifth, I forgot."
The IRS says that it did not store Lerner's emails because it did not have the resources to store all 90k IRS employees' email. Am I the only one to see how stupid this excuse is? Lerner was not a rank-and-file employee, she was a division head.
So, in the IRS, a division head can lose years of email communication in a laptop crash? That is literally unbelievable.

Unknown said...

IRS released in their statement their policy, that backups are only kept for 6 months and after that are reused again. So they weren't as stupid as you all make them out to be. This is a dead end.

tim in vermont said...

"IRS released in their statement their policy, that backups are only kept for 6 months and after that are reused again. So they weren't as stupid as you all make them out to be. This is a dead end."

Back to the original question, would this excuse fly with the IRS if the subpoena were issued by the IRS against a private corporation.

The other question is why wasn't an effort made to recover the disk, surely the communications of an official as important as Lerner was worth the thousand dollars or so it would have cost to recover the emails from a crashed hard drive.

What we have here is that an official took the fifth, and coincidentally suffered a hard drive crash of her personal computer.

If this is not a cover up, it is the best imitation of one I have seen.

Rusty said...

So when the IRS calls you in for an audit and wants to see your records, just say your hard drive crashed.

Loren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren said...

"I bet Obama's really angry over this."

He will be once he reads about it in the paper. But, as far as I know, the papers don't think this is news yet. So Obama doesn't even know about this yet.

PackerBronco said...

Blogger Unknown said...
IRS released in their statement their policy, that backups are only kept for 6 months and after that are reused again. So they weren't as stupid as you all make them out to be.


So, let me get this straight. The IRS gets into litigation over tax returns in which the litigation can sometimes lasts YEARS, and they're trying to tell us that they delete e-mail messages involved in that litigation after 6 months?

Yeah, right ...

Nichevo said...

It's a lie. It is inconceivable that they would operate that way. They literally have all the money in the world to spend on IT. They have records going back to Wilson.

Makes you wish for ISIS to come down there and chop heads till somebody confesses.