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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the conspiracy-theory-activate dept.

Communications 465

phrackthat writes with an update to Friday's news that the IRS cannot locate two years worth of email from Lois Lerner, a central figure in the controversy surrounding the IRS's apparent targeting of Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny. Now, the IRS says there are another six workers for whom the agency cannot locate emails. As with Lerner, they attribute the unrecoverable emails to computer crashes. Among them was Nikole Flax, who was chief of staff to Lerner’s boss, then-deputy commissioner Steven Miller. Miller later became acting IRS commissioner, but was forced to resign last year after the agency acknowledged that agents had improperly scrutinized tea party and other conservative groups when they applied for tax-exempt status. Documents have shown some liberal groups were also flagged. ... Lerner’s computer crashed in the summer of 2011, depriving investigators of many of her prior emails. Flax’s computer crashed in December 2011, Camp and Boustany said. The IRS said Friday that technicians went to great lengths trying to recover data from Lerner’s computer in 2011. In emails provided by the IRS, technicians said they sent the computer to a forensic lab run by the agency’s criminal investigations unit. But to no avail.

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Massive conspiracy (4, Interesting)

amightywind (691887) | about 6 months ago | (#47259229)

This is a massive conspiracy. The IRS is hopelessly corrupt. We need a special prosecutor and get people under oath. There needs to be a lot of jail time handed out, starting with the vile Lois Lerner.

Re:Massive conspiracy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259247)

If it's not corrupt, then at least massively inept.

Re:Massive conspiracy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259305)

...and just see what happens when YOU tell the IRS you've "lost" your financial records. Better get that ass high up in the air so you can fully enjoy the insertion of the jumbo-sized pineapple decked out in razor blades.

But the IRS will get completely away with this. It's all theater at that level.

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Funny)

AHuxley (892839) | about 6 months ago | (#47259587)

I would say massively smart. A wider selection of the US public now understand how files, projects and details can be consistently hidden from oversight, FIOA, courts, the press and whistleblowers for generations.
With small sets of compartmentalized computers and networks, nothing can be found with any form of system wide 'networked' search.
This keeps projects safe from all US courts, the press with friends on the inside, political parties with friends on the inside, cults, dual citizens helping spies via US front companies or any other group been observed.
A computer at a desk used by one person without the usual network backups can keep an ongoing project a bit more secure from a cleared network wide search.
Past events showed too many trusted/political active courts/bad people can do cleared network wide searches without ever been noticed at the time.
The compartmentalized system as set up is working well, even when detected nothing much is found that seems readable.
Imagine what every other branch of the mil, contractors and gov can work on in the same way without any outside/gov/court issues :)

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259285)

> This is a massive conspiracy. The IRS is hopelessly corru

Beware of confirmation bias. The question we should ask is how many people who are not "under investigation" have also had their emails lost. I bet it is most of them. This just sounds like typical big-organization incompetence.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Re: Massive conspiracy (5, Insightful)

hawks5999 (588198) | about 6 months ago | (#47259417)

Any suffieciently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1, Interesting)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 6 months ago | (#47259461)

Wish I had a mod point at the moment - Well stated Sir!

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259699)

I have a mod point for you at home, but until I get there...

This is definitely an interesting point. To play devil's advocate, they may have lost everyone's email purposefully. That way, it won't looking glaringly obvious that key accounts disappeared.

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 months ago | (#47259333)

How does this get -1? I think I would like to hear from people who disagree with this perspective.

I suspect the word "conspiracy" is the problem. A conspiracy has ALREADY been proven in this case. They already admitted to targeting specific people for additional scutiny and persecution. That is conspiracy. The point now is to find out how far up it goes.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259451)

because obama is president, so the government is beyond accusation right now. come back in 2 years.

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Funny)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 6 months ago | (#47259487)

Clinton only had Lewinski. Obama has the entire press core fellating him. Where are the Woodward and Bernsteins when you need them?

Under 24h surveillance (4, Insightful)

Marrow (195242) | about 6 months ago | (#47259673)

Thats the point

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259621)

I don't know, I didn't moderate it, but I think one possible explanation is the "vile Lois Lerner" part.
I found it a bit unneeded, personally. I would have ( and did, I have mod points ) left it alone as most of it is expressing a point of view with possible validity ( I find it difficult to believe that the entire IRS is a left wing controlled persecution factory as implied, but I can see that there might be some personnel on the left working there that abused a position of trust and authority ( and I could see a right wing affiliated person doing the same.. ) ).
And it could be someone misusing mod points to promote an agenda.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

mlw4428 (1029576) | about 6 months ago | (#47259627)

I don't see how it 's a conspiracy. I don't recall tax law as being akin to criminal law and thus "innocent until proven guilty" doesn't really apply. All they did was target political groups (both conservative and liberal according to TFA) and audited them. I truly don't understand the big deal over this -- personally I think ALL political non-profits should be audited several times a year to ensure they're following all financial laws.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259343)

If I ever assume power, I will dedicate one of the Aleutian Islands for the reassignment of incompetent and/or venal Civil Servants. I'm afraid it will get crowded quickly though.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259401)

Only if you include arsonist Darrel Issa and the rest of the criminals in Congress

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 6 months ago | (#47259499)

We need a special prosecutor and get people under oath.

Ahh yes the dreaded Oath. Nothing gets lying people to tell the truth more than a verbal agreement to tell the truth backed up by supernatural threats if they dont.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 6 months ago | (#47259527)

The idea is to get them to commit perjury, then it is easy to send someone to prison. The leftists know this well.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259575)

The idea of being under oath has nothing to do with swearing on a bible, but activating legal consequences after proof of their lies comes out in evidence. Penalties for perjury are no joke.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 6 months ago | (#47259663)

There is more than just supernatural threats, there are legal ones involved as well.

Re:Massive conspiracy (-1, Troll)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 6 months ago | (#47259533)

Cue the obama cum-lappers 3...2...1...

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Funny)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 6 months ago | (#47259541)

How many emails does it take to equal 18 minutes of tape?

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259579)

It might very well be a conspiracy.

But let me ask this:
When the Bush administration used non-official email systems around 2007 and emails where "lost", was that also a conspiracy?

I am curious if those protesting this ( and I'm, again, not saying things are OK, they look *wrong* at this point ) are cheerleaders for right wing politics and looking to count coup on "the enemy", or are truly interested in right and wrong.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259693)

Can we just agree that coverups are wrong? It doesn't seem like that is a hard stance to take... Wrong for the left. Wrong for the right.

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#47259581)

This is a massive conspiracy. The IRS is hopelessly corrupt. We need a special prosecutor and get people under oath. There needs to be a lot of jail time handed out, starting with the vile Lois Lerner.

For everyone that wants to jump to protect Obama... keep in mind republicans are likely to win the next election, and they'll have the opportunity to use the IRS in the same way if this doesn't get fixed. I personally think they're all scum.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 months ago | (#47259623)

In the private sector.... it is industry standard that enterprises ARCHIVE every message that goes in and out of their system. They do this automatically, for security and compliance reasons, and they have retention policies that govern the destruction of e-mail, so they can always answer legal requests made of them.

It seems like the IRS has ignored standard minimal industry security standards and found a complete end run around records laws, by maintaining a policy that seems to intentionally avoid creating records in machine-readable format, AND that doesn't make anything a permanent record, unless the employee who sent the message decides that it is worthy and preserves it by PRINTING IT [irs.gov] , and filing it with the papers.

This essentially GUARANTEES, that if e-mails are ever requested, there are going to be some lost.... routine hard drive failures can cause it to happen, if there was an oversight: and the employee accidentally failed to recognize that a crucial message needed to be kept as a record, OR if the employee maliciously decided to withold the e-mail from the printed record, so they could delete it later at any time they wanted, or press a big "PANIC" button and format the hard drive, before the formal orders came in to deliver records, if the staffer suspected they would come under intense scrutiny in a few months.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

Simulant (528590) | about 6 months ago | (#47259683)


Having worked in government IT for a bit, I'd say their story is entirely plausible and not entirely unreasonable. How many years of backups should they be required to keep? But hey, don't worry. Congress shall pass laws mandating backups and we will spend millions on tapes to be used once until
subpoenaed.

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence"

In any case this is some petty, inconsequential, political bullshit we are talking about. Did the extra scrutiny result in anything? Anything at all?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1, Flamebait)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 6 months ago | (#47259687)

I think it's ok because it's against the nutjob tea baggers. They should just take their freedom elsewhere. This is the USSA!!

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259241)

Do these people not run Exchange or some other centralized emailing system? When I used to work as a systems administrator, none of the companies I worked for stored emails on the client side. It was all done through Exchange, held on the company servers and backed up to tape. If a client crashed, at most they lost a few minutes of unsyncronized drafts.

Re:Huh? (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 6 months ago | (#47259261)

Remember this IS the government we're talking about here. They aren't accountable to anybody but themselves. Notice how the IRS sent these computers to its own criminal investigations unit? Yeah...

Re:Huh? (2)

SteveWoz (152247) | about 6 months ago | (#47259421)

When you make the rules, you are right when you're wrong.

Huh? (1)

youngone (975102) | about 6 months ago | (#47259273)

Of course they do. This is just someone trying very hard to cover their arse. Not a very good attempt I would say.

Re:Huh? (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#47259387)

Of course they do. This is just someone trying very hard to cover their arse.

Simple (unrealistic) proposal for a new law: for every employee under investigation the IRS has "lost emails" for, American taxpayers get a free year to use the excuse, "Oops, I just lost the financial documents for my audit" without any punishment, fines, or further questioning. By my reckoning, we all should have absolute defenses against tax audits until 2021 so far.

That will stop this nonsense fast.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 6 months ago | (#47259275)

Yes, of course they do. And they do regular backups. This story only flies with people who are not knowledgeable about computers in a business environment. Apparently the IRS thought there were enough of those that the people crying bullshit could be made to seem like right wing loonies.

But this isn't a right wing vs left wing issue -- whatever the current administration gets away with, will be fair game for the next administration, regardless of party.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259349)

> Yes, of course they do. And they do regular backups. This story only flies with people who are not knowledgeable about computers in a business environment.

Actually, anyone who has handled email admin for a big business knows they have email "retention polices" [d4discovery.com] where they explicitly delete all email older than X days (often just 90 days) except for what each user deliberately saves off. They do it to preemptively destroy evidence that might be used against them. But they never say that, they always have reasons that sound legitimate to the credulous, like lack of resources or being appropriate to the business culture, etc. They also routinely over-write or discard the backup-tapes as part of that retention policy because that would defeat the purpose if they didn't.

I can totally believe that some chucklehead IT manager with experience in that sort of environment decided to implement the same polices for the IRS because it is an industry "best practice."

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259443)

Except that Federal Law requires that any record be retained, usually for years, sometimes for decades, occasionally forever. There is no way in hell that deleting all emails that the IRS has, after just 6 months, was legal.

And that the compliance office signed off on this policy for years. And that the Inspector General didn't object. And that the criminal investigations division, which relies on copies of emails between the IRS and citizens, also had this same policy.

Re:Huh? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 6 months ago | (#47259485)

Yes, but... he still has a point. If the "computer crashed" story doesn't fly for whatever reason, they might throw a local sysadmin under the bus for "implementing a typical industry email purge policy, not realizing that it's illegal for a federal entity to do so". Watch for that story.

Re:Huh? (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 6 months ago | (#47259601)

There are specific Fed regs for email. In fact, a hard copy is required. This is a blatant sham.

Re:Huh? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 6 months ago | (#47259617)

There are specific Fed regs for email. In fact, a hard copy is required. This is a blatant sham.

Agreed.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

subanark (937286) | about 6 months ago | (#47259415)

Government is also slow on the technology pickup. The university back home still only keeps emails up to 1 year on their servers (citing space issues) and tells teachers and staff to archive emails if they want them longer. Typically, email hasn't been a "must keep a record of this" on the list of documents you save. The only reason they still have the computers that crashed is probably due to a requirement that they be properly disposed of to avoid leaking out sensitive data, and they just didn't get around to disposing of them.

Fine, sure 3 computers crashed, they were probably way out dated and many computer equipment isn't built to last. How many computers did they retrieve emails from? What percentage of these 3 is of the total?

Re:Huh? (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 6 months ago | (#47259479)

Yea, I noticed that slow pickup at the NSA complex in Utah - those are Commodore 64's right?

Re:Huh? (0)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 6 months ago | (#47259523)

Bloody sycophant. Jeez. The computers of six people who were targets of Congressional investigation almost simultaneously crash and the backups deleted (without the effected computers having their emails restored shortly after the crash as would normally be the case) AND they can't locate the local or backup copies of the emails on the recipient computers or backup systems?

I guess for you it's Donkeys all the way down. . .

Re:Huh? (1)

packrat0x (798359) | about 6 months ago | (#47259331)

Do these people not run Exchange or some other centralized emailing system? When I used to work as a systems administrator, none of the companies I worked for stored emails on the client side. It was all done through Exchange, held on the company servers and backed up to tape. If a client crashed, at most they lost a few minutes of unsyncronized drafts.

Yes, the IRS runs Exchange. Yes, they have back-ups of the servers. However, back-ups from more than 2 years ago may age out. Thus, if you wait 2 years and dd if=/dev/[zero|urandom|random] the harddrive, you can make emails hard to recover.

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 6 months ago | (#47259691)

2 years is a ridiculously short time to "age out" email archives. Especially for an agency that takes longer than that to handle basic interactions. I just got a call last month from the IRS regarding the estate of a relative who passed in 2011. And the IRS claims they have the authority to go back six years for substantial errors so I'd expect them to be keeping their emails at least that long. More realistically, I'd expect them to keep their emails indefinitely. Storage is getting cheaper faster than email accumulates. What does the average person accumulate in a decade? 5 gigs? IRS has around 90,000 employees so that's 450,000 gigs of data give or take. Shit, I've got 32,000 gigs of storage 2' from me. I could expand that to 78,000 by swapping in bigger hard drives. And 144,000 by swapping in bigger drives and adding more ports. That's with stuff I could order from Newegg and assemble on the dining room table. If I went with real equipment, the only limit would be my wallet.

Last company I worked for, had been archiving email for years before I started and hadn't thrown out (or lost) a single email when I left 5 years later. If legal needed something from 2005, they'd give me the particulars and I'd plug them in and the system spit out a compilation of every message that met the specs. I also made an image of every employee's hard drive when they left the company before I put a fresh image on their computer. Just in case they'd stored something important on their local drive instead of their department's server. Only needed that a few times but the cost was so negligible we spent more on donuts and bagels than storing drive images.

Their failure to have a redundant, secure archive of such recent email is either intentional destruction or gross incompetence.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259367)

I have seen a number of companies do it too. I even tried to change it, but got yelled at by my boss who said it wasting server space.

NSA to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259263)

Not to worry. NSA has a copy.

Put them all in Jail. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259271)

And throw away the key.

These are the kinds of people whom solidify in the mind of the protester the need for Violent Radicalization, and in the mind of the Patriot, the need for Terrorism and Civil War. That path invariably ends in sorrow; nearly every revolution and insurrection has resulted in the election of a despot. America is one of the very few historical example of a civil consequence of Revolution, and it's people very much so, despite it's governments best efforts, believe in a higher existence.

You can only "Nudge" people so far before they break (Yes I'm referencing this book: ISBN 978-0143115267, because so many policy makers think of it as a bible)

Also, the individual who asked or ordered them to do this; that person, jail.

Also, any organization which requested this, those people, charge with treason, then either publicly execute or jail.

Re:Put them all in Jail. (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 months ago | (#47259321)

America is one of the very few historical example(sic) of a civil consequence of Revolution

America was .

FTFY.

Re:Put them all in Jail. (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 6 months ago | (#47259489)

Sad, isn't it?
Oh wait, America needs to be apologized for because we are the "Great Satan". Never mind,

US Government is Hopelessly Corrupt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259277)

What's the matter with you, America? In Europe we go through governments like fat people go through Cheetos. Why can't you people kick these criminals out? They just keep getting re-elected over and over and over again.

I just don't get it.

Re:US Government is Hopelessly Corrupt (1)

callahan2211 (1963904) | about 6 months ago | (#47259379)

"Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result" translated to voting parlance "Voting for the same people over and over again and expecting a different result". Conclusion, the American voter is insane.

How do we blame this on BOOOOSH!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259295)

This is all BOOOOSH!

Decision made to intentionally lose email. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259297)

Having worked in Government IT before. What I can say is that the standard IT model is to not keep any data, especially email, stored primarily on the local desktop pc. What ever is happening is deliberate for sure. The standard model is to have a working copy - your outlook inbox on the local pc, at most, if its not stored on the MS exchange server which it should be to meet any records retention policies. So, to lose the email, they would have to have lost email for the entire exchange email server, and, all of its daily backups, weekly, and monthly backups for the past 2 years, and the hard drives of the local desktop computers. Then, once a critical failure occurred they would have had to purposely made the decision to not restore the backups to retrieve the email, and intentionally lose it. Its managements responsibility to make sure that never happens also.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259299)

Bullshit. The same laws apply to me. My email is not "stored on my computer". While it is cached, there are many parts of law that prohibit it from being stored there, starting with the Official Records Act. All email that I send that provides any official direction is stored IAW the official records act. To do otherwise is a crime.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259449)

> there are many parts of law that prohibit it from being stored there, starting with the Official Records Act.

Probably does not apply to "work product" aka the daily crap that most people email during work. The ORA is swiss cheese. The last couple of presidents did their damndest to make sure their emails never entered the permanent records and they all got away with it.

NSA: For All Your Backup Needs (4, Funny)

Carnildo (712617) | about 6 months ago | (#47259337)

I'm sure the NSA has copies. Perhaps someone should request them?

Re:NSA: For All Your Backup Needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259551)

Re:NSA: For All Your Backup Needs (1)

sethradio (2603921) | about 6 months ago | (#47259665)

No, honey, the government does not spy on the government. (Ignore the whole intelligence committee/CIA debacle that has Dianne Frankenstein up-in-arms)

Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259347)

Assuming they are responding to a subpoena, this is perjury on the face of it. There is no way the crash of a desktop workstation could destroy the contents of a hard drive at the level that all the 1's and 0's are not recoverable by forensic analysis. Not to mention the server and backup records.

Unless the "crash" was a laptop in an airplane crashing into an erupting volcano. Or the disk was overwritten many times by a military grade eraser program and them filed down with an industrial sander.

Peaple need to do serious jail time for this. If this passes without consequences, it will be used by both parties repetitively in the future and the government will become even less accountable in the future.

Wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259355)

Are the jackass repubs still fucking this dead story? Tons of libs targeted too. As if they give a shit about that.
They can burn.

No Democratic groups were targeted (2)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 6 months ago | (#47259429)

Tons of libs targeted too.

Name one.

As far as I know, the only "liberal" groups that were targeted were liberal groups that were also against the current administration. Pro-Democrat Party groups, on the other hand, were not targeted.

This is absolutely a political issue and a gross overstepping of power on behalf of the current administration and they absolutely should be investigated for it.

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259473)

How about a bunch [thinkprogress.org] to upset the little lies you're told on AM radio to get up your dander.

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 6 months ago | (#47259501)

So you go for a biased site rather than the Inspector General's report?

Bravo!

Keep enjoying your Kool-Aid.

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259585)

Like many ThinkProgress articles, that article just throws a bunch of b.s. up in the air and hope something sticks to the right people.

If you have an argument to make it, make it. Stop posting such incoherent garbage.

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 6 months ago | (#47259637)

I'm pretty sure that article actually proves my point, but it's impossible to tell, because the very first thing they do is throw up a histogram where they should be using a pie chart. (At least, I think those bars are showing percentages. It's hard to tell because their method of data collection is utterly inscrutable.)

But it looks like the "progressive" groups that were targeted were almost exclusively pro-marijuana groups. You know, progressive groups that are against the current administration's policies. Which is what I said: the only progressive groups targeted were those that went against the current administration. (Remember, while Obama may be left of center, many progressive groups are even further left.)

Groups backing the current administration were simply not targeted. Only those against it - be they right or left of the administration - were targeted.

Re:Wtf (2)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 6 months ago | (#47259645)

Nice BS AC. Try again. The IRS Inspector General's office stated in a letter that only 6 groups with “progress” or “progressive” in their names were given any scrutiny at all for potential political activity, while 70 percent of “progressive” groups received no additional scrutiny. The letter continued, “In comparison, 100 percent of the tax-exempt applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were processed as potential political cases” and subjected to intrusive scrutiny. Finally, the letter concluded that it “did not find evidence that the IRS used [the term “Progressive”] as selection criteria for potential political cases.”

Further, all of the leftist political groups received their approval very quickly whereas most of the tea part groups have waited years and still haven't received approval of their applications! The reason why "repubs" are still "fucking this dead story" is because it isn't dead you brain-dead fucktard. Nixon merely wanted to use the IRS to oppress his political opponents but was denied - Obama fucking succeeded!

I can see through it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259361)

Transparency! Transparency! Transparency!

Move along people, nothing to see here.

Do they have ANY emails of their employees??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259363)

Seriously...

Check the backup tapes

Waaaaaaaait a second. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259365)

Why would the user's computer crashing destroy the emails on the server? Why wouldn't the IRS have backups? Isn't this agency's core competency knowing about records and stuff? Can you imagine if GM or Microsoft was accused of evading taxes and all of the incriminating emails vanished due to tragic accidents just as they were subpoenaed? How about an ordinary peasant like you or me?

Even assuming client side storage of email wasn't a ridiculous proposition, what kind of "crash" would render it unrecoverable via forensics? Was it accidentally left on an artillery range? Perhaps it accidentally fell into a nuclear explosion? Were the hard drive platters accidentally dropped into a particle accelerator?

Also, how did the crashes affect all the employees who would have had knowledge of executive branch involvement at the same time? Was it just a tragic "bring your hard drive" field trip where all of the IRS's executive leadership left their emails next to an MRI machine or something?

Email recipients (4, Interesting)

sir-gold (949031) | about 6 months ago | (#47259369)

Can't they subpoena data from everyone else at the IRS who sent or received emails from the employees under investigation?

By it's very nature, there are always 2 copies of every email, one on the sender's PC and one on the receiver's PC.

Re:Email recipients (5, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 6 months ago | (#47259453)

. . . unfortunately, the receivers' disk have also crashed.

It should be pretty obvious to everyone now. The IRS is not going help the investigation. If fact, they are obstructing it.

Re:Email recipients (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 6 months ago | (#47259457)

I'm not sure they can do that. I think subpoenas need to have a "target" - you can subpoena Fred Smith for any emails he sent; you can subpoena John Doe for any emails sent, and fill in the correct name when you've been able to determine who it is, but you can't subpoena "anyone who sent emails to this address", because you have no way to serve such a subpoena.

Re:Email recipients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259607)

Nope, but you can sure as fuck subpoena someone for all the emails they have sent to or received from a certain person.

Re:Email recipients (1)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 6 months ago | (#47259667)

They subpoena organizations because the systems are theirs - not the individuals. Hence, the subpoena was directed to the IRS. They also need to be directed to the organizations that Lerner and her flunkies communicated with - the White House, the DOJ & the FEC. Of course, Obama will then assert "executive privilege."

Re:Email recipients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259497)

Who were the recipients? And what of the emails these 7 people (the subjects of this investigation) sent to each other?

B.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259371)

Obviously a coverup by the IRS. Anyone working in IT knows this is B.S. or total incompetence.

what kind of hardware failure can do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259375)

“It is unfortunate that the IRS experienced equipment failure that resulted in several computers crashing and some email data being lost from Lois Lerner’s hard drive between 2009 and 2011,” said Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. “But every equipment failure is not a conspiracy. The IRS has taken every step to restore the data, and has already retrieved the emails sent internally during that time period from non-impacted computers.”

What kind of equipment failure, loses data from more then one computers hard drive AND the email server?

Maybe raid failure? And email is never stored locally on the client, and no one noticed and the backups overridden?

It's possible I guess :/ - I'm not sure how much I'd believe it though.

Re:what kind of hardware failure can do this? (2)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 6 months ago | (#47259471)

What about where the emails were sent? The emails that were "lost" were sent to the White House, the Department of Justice (Lerner sent other emails that we know of trying to coordinate with DOJ to try to drum up prosecutions of Tea Party groups) and the FEC to try to target any alleged political speech. Each of these departments should have independent backups and records on each of the recipient's computers.

A member of the House has already sent a request to the NSA for any metadata [arstechnica.com] it may have on Lerner's emails. Hopefully this will help track down any "lost" emails and who the recipients were.

Re:what kind of hardware failure can do this? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 6 months ago | (#47259491)

Don't hold your breath or you'll turn blue and pass out.

Re:what kind of hardware failure can do this? (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 6 months ago | (#47259653)

We call that kind of hardware failure a "Rose Mary Stretch".

Fp ta+3o (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259385)

So they didn't try to retreive the data? (0)

future assassin (639396) | about 6 months ago | (#47259439)

You'd figure the gov would have access to some powerful hd data forensics teams. Shit I just saved a very important HD that was failing with lots of bad sectors and slow as hell using Acronis backuo. I'm sure a freezer and some other recovery software would worked.

IRS or NEW KGB of US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259455)

They are covering their buts and the man that put them up to it. They no longer serve the US population as a bias government organization. WELCOME TO THE NEW KGB OF THE US..

They don't want you to know what else they did. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259483)

No wonder I got audited after donating to Ron Paul. First time I ever donated. First time I ever got audited in over 20 years of working to pay other peoples bills.

Some questions (5, Insightful)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about 6 months ago | (#47259495)

Sorry to repeat myself, but this was a late post to the first incarnation of this story.

Sharyl Attkisson (investigative reporter formerly with CBS) has posted some questions [sharylattkisson.com] that should be asked:

  • Please provide a timeline of the crash and documentation covering when it was first discovered and by whom; when, how and by whom it was learned that materials were lost; the official documentation reporting the crash and federal data loss; documentation reflecting all attempts to recover the materials; and the remediation records documenting the fix. This material should include the names of all officials and technicians involved, as well as all internal communications about the matter.
  • Please provide all documents and emails that refer to the crash from the time that it happened through the IRS’ disclosure to Congress Friday that it had occurred.
  • Please provide the documents that show the computer crash and lost data were appropriately reported to the required entities including any contractor servicing the IRS. If the incident was not reported, please explain why.
  • Please provide a list summarizing what other data was irretrievably lost in the computer crash. If the loss involved any personal data, was the loss disclosed to those impacted? If not, why?
  • Please provide documentation reflecting any security analyses done to assess the impact of the crash and lost materials. If such analyses were not performed, why not?
  • Please provide documentation showing the steps taken to recover the material, and the names of all technicians who attempted the recovery.
  • Please explain why redundancies required for federal systems were either not used or were not effective in restoring the lost materials, and provide documentation showing how this shortfall has been remediated.
  • Please provide any documents reflecting an investigation into how the crash resulted in the irretrievable loss of federal data and what factors were found to be responsible for the existence of this situation.
  • I would also ask for those who discovered and reported the crash to testify under oath, as well as any officials who reported the materials as having been irretrievably lost.

Re:Some questions (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 6 months ago | (#47259583)

Good. Someone with a functioning brain cell is asking the right questions.

Re:Some questions (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 6 months ago | (#47259599)

One more:

How many emails does it take to equal 18 minutes of tape?

Re:Some questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259695)

On one hand, this insane level of documentation is the primary cause of unnecessary bureaucracy that contributes to the inefficiency of many large government agencies & corporatins.

On the other hand, this is the agency that tried to fine me $15,000 if I could not find a copy of a five year old schedule C, so no sympathy. I look forward to someone from the DOJ doing to the IRS what the IRS has been doing to the people.

Lots of computers crashing? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#47259509)

Coincidence?

I have this mental picture of lots of computers flying off the roof of a building. Or cars backing over them mysteriously. Something like a Monty Python sketch.

Re:Lots of computers crashing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259603)

They employ 90k people. You're thinking the loss of 7 people's email accounts is "lots"?

You're this guy, eh? http://xkcd.com/705/

More likely a specialized program (1)

Marrow (195242) | about 6 months ago | (#47259697)

Pop this program on, and "Poof" you have a crash that is guaranteed to wipe the stuff you wanted to hide and do it in a way that is undetectable.

Great Length? (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 6 months ago | (#47259519)

Who has the "great length"? Obama, Lerner, Pelosi Reid, Jarrett, Levin. They couldn't get a great length between them combined! I pray for a fatal yeast infection and prostate cancer to strike them all!

Re:Great Length? (1)

stevez67 (2374822) | about 6 months ago | (#47259661)

I see you're working on your humanitarian award ... got to love when you leave your decency and morality at the door and proceed to wish pestilence on people simply for not agreeing with you.

why doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259549)

someone investigate all these corrupt illegal organizations (mostly right wing, "tea party") that are claiming to be tax exempt, even tho they are primarily political.
Looks like a vast right wing conspiracy to commit tax fraud and steal elections

Congress Churns, Federal Institutions Do Not (3, Interesting)

Scot Seese (137975) | about 6 months ago | (#47259571)

Senators and Representatives blow like the leaves during elections, but our federal institutions persist. Their executive personnel may turn over, but the organization doesn't.

You can have as many Senate hearings and bluster on CSPAN as you like, possibly even terminate and reappoint senior level officials, but the organizational mission of the NSA & CIA is skullfuckery, treachery and manipulation, and the IRS exists to refill the wallet of the federal government every way imaginable.

What will come of this? Well, a probe into data archiving pract Oh look a tornado just wiped out a town out West and one of the Kardashians is pregnant again. Just a sec, gotta look at Reddit on my iPhone. What were you saying?

but LEGALLY, how do you proove (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | about 6 months ago | (#47259573)

that an email on someone elses computer came from the shown recipient ?
after all, people could be going to jail, or loosing their pensions: it is not enough to say, hey, lets look at other hard drives; you need forensic chain of evidence.

Gotta love the right wing conspiracy nuts (0)

stevez67 (2374822) | about 6 months ago | (#47259619)

In fact the IRS was scrutinizing the left wing organizations too. This is just trolling biased BS.

Let's simplify this (1)

BobandMax (95054) | about 6 months ago | (#47259641)

The Congress should provide a list of all IRS employees under suspicion so that the IRS can lose all their emails and documents from the relevant period. Then, the Democrats will declare the investigation closed and we can move to the next scandal. P.S.: I got this plan from Harry Reid, Thanks, Harry!

how about joe peon, clerk level 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47259685)

can you find HIS emails?

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