Former Obamacare Boss Admits She Deleted Emails Sought By Congress

Tyler Durden's picture

On the bright side, Marilyn Tavenner - appointed by President Obama to take over CMS within the Department of Health and human Services in 2013 - did not suffer a hard-drive crash. However, as MSNBC reports, she may be unable to cooperate with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenas because she deleted emails.


As MSNBC reports,

A team of HHS officials is now working to reconstruct Tavenner’s inbox by collecting emails from people she typically corresponded with and through other methods. They expect to recover “most, but not all” of Tavenner’s emails, the letter adds.


“While we have not identified any specific emails that we will be unable to retrieve, it is possible that some emails may not be available to HHS, and we are therefore filing this memorandum,” Kathleen Cantwell, a records management official at the agency wrote.

The excuse:

According to the letter and two senior HHS officials with knowledge of the matter, Tavenner receives an unusually large number of emails –  some 10,000-12,000 per month – since her address is public and advocacy groups occasionally urge their members to contact her. In order to stay below the agency’s Microsoft Outlook email size limit, Tavenner would regularly delete emails after copying or forwarding them to her staff for retention.


While it’s impossible to know how many messages might be missing, HHS staffers studied her email habits for a month and estimated that at least 90 percent of her traffic was within the agency, the officials said.

But this is still the most transparent administration ever...

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TeamDepends's picture

Not to worry, as NSA has copies of them all.

gmrpeabody's picture

The stench from this White House will never clean up....

Pladizow's picture

"A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar." - H.L. Mencken

whotookmyalias's picture

She's not going to be a good scapegoat, telling the truth and all

hedgeless_horseman's picture



But this is still the most transparent administration ever...

How many Obamacare customers still paying premiums after 8 months?

Here is the good one...

$5,000 In-Network deductible, plus the all-new $10,000 Out-of-Network deductible, and essentially zero specialists are in network!

exi1ed0ne's picture

Who cares about customers paying.  Congress controls the purse strings, and those spineless idiots deserve to be dissed if they won't ever cut budgets in response.

Say What Again's picture

Anyone who has worked in even the smallest IT shop knows that there are copies of that e-mail in the backup files of the e-mail servers.

This kind of news is more about drama than it is about facts.

Wait a minute.  Are you telling me that the IT folks at this agency never back-up the servers?

N2OJoe's picture

"would regularly delete emails after copying or forwarding"

Oh good, so they're in the "sent mail" folder instead of the inbox. Try looking there, you lying sacks of shit.

Manthong's picture

Nice to be above the law..

Nation of men (and liberal twats), not of laws.

Say What Again's picture

I wonder if I can get a job consulting for these folks.  I have a bunch of old floppies and out-dated JAZ drives that need to be put to good use.

Liberal's picture

This is all Bush's fault.



A Nanny Moose's picture

If you like your email, you can keep your email.

You didn't delete that.

GetZeeGold's picture




Excuse me.....why can't we arrest this bitch again?

Say What Again's picture

If a message made its way throught the netweork, and landed in the mail server, then it was persisted somewhere in the file system.

Here is a hint for you idiots in congress.  Try these term;

Change Logs

Changed Data Capture

Backup tapes    wanted to see if you're reading

Ayr Rand's picture

These things are obvious to the 10% that understand technology. Unfortunately, that does not include the white house, Congress or those who elect them. Otherwise Lois Lerner would be solidly behind bars now. (I'm sure she has been at the front of many bars, but not the same in my book.)

exi1ed0ne's picture

I've been in IT a LOOONG time, and I agree it is beyond farcical there are no backup tapes with the info.  However, why would they bother looking if there is no consequences of telling Congress that the dog ate it? Restoring email in Exchange can be a pain in the ass, so why burn man-hours when bullshit will do?

AGuy's picture

"I've been in IT a LOOONG time, and I agree it is beyond farcical there are no backup tapes with the info. "

Correction, you worked in IT (outside the federal gov't) for a long time. Most of the Fed system only do DR backups. The backup tapes are recycled after 30 to 45 days. All they need to do is stone wall for a couple of months and Poof! its all gone!



exi1ed0ne's picture

My point still stands:  If Congress is going to do nothing about bullshit answers, they will keep getting bullshit answers.

Nick Jihad's picture

You oversimply - this isn't "Congress" being passive, it's Harry Reid and Senate democrats protecting the IRS from oversight.

divide_by_zero's picture

As came out in the IRS email BS, they can recycle tapes but not the data. Fed law is they have to keep it somewhere for 10 years.

Son of Loki's picture

The law is for the little peeples. See what happens with the rebellous teen who goes for a joy ride, for example. He's phucked over good, maybe getting 5 years in jail for grand larceny.


The law needs to be applied equally. If you destroy evidence it should automatcially a presumption of your guilt with the burden on the destroyer to prove their innocence with some sort of other evidence.


PT's picture

All I know is that I once pressed the "wrong" button on my computer and it re-downloaded every single email I had ever received, including the ones I had deleted.  Most annoying at the time.  Shame I can't remember what that "button" was.  It might have had something to do with getting a new computer, I really can't remember.  But those emails are still there, somewhere.

sleigher's picture

You know they are using exchange.  And you know that exchange is backed by some name brand storage.  NetApp, HP/P9/3Par, EMC.  Multiple redundant servers and backend storage means that if those emails are gone they were deleted.  Yes there are backups and if there isn't then someone should be going to jail.  End of story.  You should see the hoops the feds make us jump through for email.  Are they not jumping the same hoops?

NoPension's picture

I'm not even close to tech savvy. I have deleted and cleaned crap for years. And I bet I can, within minutes, dredge up crap from 2 years ago.
Is it true???? .... If you manage to really " eliminate" electronic data, that you have done something pretty unique?

Seems to me certain elements have tried, and .gov seems really good at always recovering data. But we are supposed to believe these "folks" have special systems, and wipe data from existence routinely.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Plausible deniability....bytchez!!!

Freddie's picture

The corruption is staggering.  If this was a non-NWO Republican - they would all be in jail.

drendebe10's picture

"There is nuthin uglier than an old white woman." Fred Sanford 

Four chan's picture

so the republicans were right. for once,

ThroxxOfVron's picture


The ANTI-STATISTS that despise and distrust Govenment Bureaucracies are proven right again.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Bingo. All others are pretenders, buying votes from the unenlightened. Unfortunately, we will all pay for their stupidity.

Manthong's picture

Amazing how so few pixels can attract such attention..

Regardless.. no f’n politician is right today.. the fact that they (like bankers) are there in the first place makes them evil.

Gee, is there a reason for this slight degree of skepticism?

TeamDepends's picture

Speaking of beatings, it can not be denied that some of these people deserve a good old-fashioned behind-the-barn pummelling.  Okay, most of them.

Save_America1st's picture

oh, I am 1000% with you on that one, man! 

Sudden Debt's picture

Dude, even I can recover the emails after being deleted.
The mails aren't gone, they where just to retarted to look for deleted mails.
Just shows you how stupid they are.

It's actually pretty damn hard to delete anything in outlook...

And than there's the system backups that are stored in secure locations every day, week, month....

If they want them, they'll have them.

Relentless101's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong, but deletion doesn't actually delete anything from memory. It only delete the association of that value with the specific memory location. Therefore, the emails are still there unless that memory location has been allocated to a new value. I haven't taken many computer science classes, but I am assuming this is fairly basic. NSA hears everything but can't recover emails? Fuck you Barack Osama.

theonewhowaskazu's picture

I think you're thinking of disk space not memory.

Unfortunately, I think outlook stores emails in the same file, so assuming new emails were downloaded since, they're pretty safely gone.

Doesn't make the situation any less ridiculous though.

N2OJoe's picture

Because email providers don't store your emails in a dabase for easy handing to the NSA, right?

exi1ed0ne's picture

If it's Exchange, then being in a database is exactly why it doesn't work like a regular file deletion on the file system.  When you delete emails, it creates a "hole" in the server database file.  Rather then growing the file, Exchange will plug the holes with new information.  You CAN set an "undelete" period where it doesn't actually get removed from the database, but that defaults to 14 days.  Some systems store flat files, such as Qmail, where the files would be unlinked but still there.  I doubt they are running a MS Exchange alternative though.

Still, all this is just stupid, since there is a backup tape out there somewhere.  Someone is telling Congress to STFU since there are no consequences for this behavior, such as defunding the agency or putting people in jail.  If there were real personal consequences, you bet your ass they'd find the info.

TheRedScourge's picture

They undoubtedly have a retention policy that handles this sort of thing, but are leaving that obvious fact out.

TheRedScourge's picture

Unless they're on the "exclude these cronies" list.

Sudden Debt's picture

Nop, the mails are still there. It's not like recovering a file that was delted on a sd disk or something.

In outlook, you need to delete the file 3 times before it's really gone.

If you find the second, you know a shitlot about outlook.
If you find thr third, you have a very very good it knowledge. And she doesn't look like one.

The best way to recover them now is this:
1. Call the IT guys
2. Tell them they're going to jail for 20 years
3. Unless they can recover them in the next 5 minutes

Let's see how long it would take...

Option 2 is to call India

PubliusTacitus's picture



They should have had every low-level IT staffer in IRS shitting themselves with subpoena and arrest threats back in Feb/March when this fully corrupt bullshit was becoming evident.


Fuck the politics, they need to put people in jail, starting with Lois Lerner and this bitch.

A Nanny Moose's picture

25 Years of IT/Exchange Architecture and Support/Info Sec/IT Forensics experience....

Outlook stores in a local file, only if cached mode is enabled. The emails are either in the remnants of that file, on the Exchange server disks, in some Exchange archive service, or on backup tapes.

Spaces on disk are only marked for deletion. The underlying data is only over written, when the sectors on the disk are needed to store new bit of information.

Berspankme's picture

Deleted emails are not "gone". Even a child like Obama could recover them