Following Darrell Issa's subpoena of Lois Lerner's hard drive, the rather stunning (and ripped from the pages of a badly written inside-Washington TV mini-series) news is that the IRS reports that the hard drive in question has been destroyed (just as we hinted last night). "We've been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away," Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said in a brief hallway interview and as Politico reports, Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s crashed hard drive has been recycled, making it likely the lost emails of the lightening rod in the tea party targeting controversy will never be found, according to multiple sources. Issa is pissed... blasting in a statement that the 'lost emails' meme was "just one more attempted deception... e-mails of a prominent official, don’t just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention." His response... requesting the White House attorney's testimony on Lerner's emails.
Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s crashed hard drive has been recycled, making it likely the lost emails of the lightening rod in the tea party targeting controversy will never be found, according to multiple sources.
“We’ve been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away,” Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said in a brief hallway interview.
“IT experts have weighed in and said yes — we can get those” emails, said Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) earlier Wednesday.
The latest news suggests such professionals may never get the chance to try again — and the IRS has even said its criminal investigators who specialize in rebuilding hard drives to recover hidden information from criminals were unable to restore the data back in 2011.
“We believe the standard IRS protocol was followed in 2011 for disposing of the broken hard drive. A bad hard drive, like other broken Information Technology equipment, is sent to a recycler as part of our regular process,” an IRS spokesman said in response to a query from POLITICO.
So the standard IRS protocol is to wipe away all the evidence? Can US taxpayers then use the same protocol to "wipe away" their W2s?
As for this latest fiasco, who could have possibly seen that coming? Well, everyone.
As for the hard disk, we have a suspicion it will not only have passed through a massive magnetic field first, but ultimately Issa will receive something that looks like this:
At that point it will be up to America's army of White Hat hackers to attempt salvaging whatever data is on it. Because only in the US government - the same government that demands businesses retain electronic data for years at at ime - is there no requirement to back up one's communications and files.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, issued the following statement on news that the IRS destroyed Lois Lerner’s hard drive containing e-mails from the time period of IRS targeting:
“If the IRS truly got rid of evidence in a way that violated the Federal Records Act and ensured the FBI never got a crack at recovering files from an official claiming a Fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination , this is proof their whole line about ‘losing’ e-mails in the targeting scandal was just one more attempted deception. Old and useless binders of information are still stored and maintained on federal agency shelves; official records, like the e-mails of a prominent official, don’t just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention.”
And finally his latest request:
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa requests testimony on Tuesday from Jennifer O’Connor of the White House Counsel’s office, according to statement from Issa’s office
Committee seeks answers from current White House attorney who supervised IRS’s response to congressional inquiry
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., today requested that Ms. Jennifer O’Connor of the White House Counsel’s office testify on Tuesday, following Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen’s testimony on Monday.
“From May 2013 until November 2013, you served in a career position at the IRS as the Counselor to the Commissioner, with the primary task of ‘navigat[ing] the scandal over [the IRS’s] reviews of conservative organizations,’” said Issa in the letter. “In this position, you had a direct and substantial role in the IRS’s response to congressional requests for documents, including documents sent or received by Ms. Lerner. In fact, IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins, when asked who was supervising the collection of, ‘documents relating to the committee’s requests for material,’ responded ‘Tom Kane and Jennifer [O’Connor] are the two I would identify as the key supervisors.’ Given your prominent role in supervising the IRS’s document review and production processes, you likely knew or should have known that the IRS was missing a portion of e-mails sent or received by Ms. Lerner responsive to the Committee’s subpoena.”
Ms. O’Connor earned a promotion to the White House earlier this year. The Oversight Committee had previously subpoenaed Koskinen for testimony which comes as a result of the agency’s recent statement that the IRS lost an unknown number of emails pertaining to the activities of former IRS official Lois Lerner from January 2009 to April 2011. It also comes on the heels of the IRS’s repeated empty promises of compliance with oversight.
One wonders how long before her hard drive fails? and also how long until Americans finally realize they too have had enough, and proceed to inform the IRS they have systematically "lost" all tax forms documenting income sent to them in the last several years as well?