National Review: The Dog Ate My Emails, For Two Years

Originally posted at National Review by John Fund.

IT experts and the IRS’s own manual note that backups of Lerner’s emails must exist.

Who knew that the Obama administration had a penchant for black humor? Earlier this year, in February, President Obama told Bill O’Reilly during an interview on Fox News that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS scandal involving the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups. In July 2013, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew foreshadowed his boss’s nonchalance by insisting that there was “no evidence” that any political appointee had been involved in the scandal.

Now we may know why. After months of delay in responding to congressional inquiries, the IRS now claims that, for the period of January 2009 to April 2011, all emails between Lois Lerner – the IRS official at the center of the scandal – and anyone outside the IRS were wiped out by a “computer crash.” As House Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp wrote in a statement, this loss means that “we are conveniently left to believe that Lois Lerner acted alone.” After all, there isn’t a “smidgen” of e-mail evidence to suggest otherwise.

A growing number of computer professionals are stepping forward to say that none of this makes sense. Norman Cillo, a former program manager at Microsoft, told The Blaze: “I don’t know of any email administrator [who] doesn’t have at least three ways of getting that mail back. It’s either on the disks or it’s on a TAPE backup someplace on an archive server.” Bruce Webster, an IT expert with 30 years of experience consulting with dozens of private companies, seconds this opinion: “It would take a catastrophic mechanical failure for Lerner’s drive to suffer actual physical damage, but in any case, the FBI should be able to recover something. And the FBI and the Justice Department know it.”

In March of this year, John Koskinen, the new IRS commissioner, testified before Congress that all the emails of IRS employees are “stored in servers.” The agency’s own manual specifies that it “provides for backup and recovery of records to protect against information loss or corruption.” The reason is simple. It is well known in legal and IT circles that failure to preserve emails can lead to a court ruling of “spoliation of evidence.” That means a judge or jury is then instructed to treat deletions as if they were deliberate destruction of incriminating evidence.

Read more at National Review.

 

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