Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service informing the Committee that they have lost Lois Lerner emails from a period of January 2009 April 2011. Due to a supposed computer crash, the agency only has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame. The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.
Do the words obstruction of justice ring a bell?
There is no way this was anything other than a completely deliberate attempt to cover up incriminating evidence.
When it was Nixon, they said "It's not the crime, it's the coverup."
Folks, I've been running my own email servers for 15 years, and about a third of that time I was running them for a startup that grew into a 50-person company. I have also worked for a government agency briefly (which shall remain unnamed). From that experience I can identify a number of problems with what is being sold to us here.
1) Any email Lerner sent from her official email account would exist not (only) on Lerner's own personal computer, but also on the government email servers run by the IRS. Any claim that the emails cannot be recovered because Lerner's personal computer had a problem is false. If I was going to recover an employee's email, I would go to the server, not the individual.
2) Those servers have redundant hard drives. If one fails, unplug it and plug in a new one. No one other than the admin will notice.
3) Those servers are backed up. Multiple times, to different physical locations, usually on a schedule (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly). If you lose the live copy, you go to the backup. Any one of the backups, really. In a government agency, likely those backups go to a group that does audits and is under different administrative control. Those groups exist to enable audits and refuse requests to remove embarrassing material.
4) Even if, somehow, the server AND all of the backups were destroyed, you don't get selective destruction. You would lose email to and from ALL locations, not just emails sent exclusively to other agencies. There is no reason for an email server to distinguish between internal and external emails in this respect. You would lose email from everyone on the server, not just Lois Lerner, not just to and from other agencies. You might lose email from just one time period (say, if the server was installed in 2009 and crashed in 2011).
5) Even if, somehow, the necessary data was limited to a single hard drive, there are companies that do data recovery. Ship them the hard drive and have them recover it. You might not get everything, but you would get the vast majority back.
6) If Lerner was illegally using an external email account for some of her communications with other government agencies -- as seems very likely -- those agencies should have the emails on their servers, which have all the same protections as above. But all those agencies have been referring people to the IRS to collect the data. Why? This is a good time to go back to those agencies and tell them to give up whatever they do have.
7) If both Lerner and the recipients of her communications were using external, non-government accounts -- something that, in government, is illegal for a variety of good reasons -- then depending on the details, you might expect to find those emails on the computers of the sender, recipient, and email servers of both parties. Those servers would not necessarily have retention policies as strict as that of government servers. But making use of those back-channel methods to deliberately evade government record keeping is both illegal and evidence of criminal intent.
I think the odds indicate that Lerner was communicating with other agencies using an external, non-government email account. When caught, Lerner trashed her hard drive and told her superiors to stonewall document production until the external email servers were likely to have automatically purged their records. We've now reached that point.
So how do we move forward?
We need to demand a complete list of every email address every used by Lerner while she worked at the IRS, including personal and private addresses; also the list of ip addresses assigned to her computer. Pass that list to the admins at *every* *single* *government* *agency* and demand they immediately produce anything in their records to or from those email addresses. Then make the same demand to the email providers.
If the list of addresses is obtained and the subpoenas issued quickly, it may still be possible to block the destruction of records. Even if it is too late for that, the use of external email addresses is damning in and of itself.
And one final point: I am a private individual running my own email server. Admittedly, I work in computing, and so my environment is probably more robust than the usual. But in order to "lose" emails like this, you would have to destroy:
My home desktop (4 hard drives) My home gaming machine (2 hard drives) My primary email server (2 hard drives) My backup email server (2 hard drives) My work-provided laptop (1 hard drive) My phone
And I'm one guy, not a government agency. Admittedly, I don't have complete backups going back five years. On the other hand, I still have emails going back to 2003.
This entry was published Fri Jun 13 15:36:04 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger
and last updated 2014-06-15 20:35:52.0.