The Inspector General's report
is being characterized as finding no evidence IRS employees told to destroy information
. This is true... but misleading. What would need to be found in order to claim IRS employees had been told to destroy information?
You'd basically have to find am email saying "Hey, you know all those emails Congress is subpoenaing in that national controversy? Yeah, those. Delete them all." We already know Lerner was cagey about what she put in email -- and that's from email after
her hard drive crash. Only a fool would put such an order in writing. Let's briefly summarize the evidence of a coverup that we do have.
1) Lerner's hard drive crashed on a weekend
, shortly after Lerner was notified of a Congressional subpoena that would have required her to produce emails relating to the targeting.
2) Some 20 other people involved in the targeting had their email or computer records destroyed or lost.
3) Among the emails that were not lost were emails from Lerner warning her employees not to put sensitive information in email because it could be provided to Congress.
4) The backup tapes
that would have held all of those lost emails were not just "lost" but actually destroyed
, in violation of an order requiring they be preserved...
5) ... by the night shift
6) ... just one month after the IRS realized some of Lerner's emails were missing, and before they informed Congress...
7) ... and the records of who accessed the building when those backup tapes were destroyed were also
8) And the other conclusion of the IG's report, that no one at the IRS bothered looking for the backup tapes
when working to produce evidence to Congress. Clearly, if they looked at the backup tapes, there was too much risk they might actually find evidence.
In light of that, I read the report as describing a successful coverup rather than an innocent series of unfortunate coincidences.
I'd convict based on that set of facts if a specific individual could be presented as responsible for the tape deletions. But we don't have a specific individual for that -- no evidence any orders were given -- because the evidence was destroyed
. Unless someone talks, or we find more evidence somehow, we won't know who ordered those deletions and who carried them out. (Maybe someone though to have the backup tapes checked for fingerprints?)
However, given the evidence we do have, it's not a difficult inference to make that someone
gave those orders. Probably verbally.
We just don't know who.