Yesterday, the republican campaign to get to the bottom of IRS' targeting of conservative groups was dealt an absolutely idiotic blow when the IRS, in all seriousness, announced that it had lost two years worth of emails to and from the chief subject of the investigation: former agency official Lois Lerner.
As House Ways and Means Commitee chairman Dave Camp said, "The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to congressional inquiries,” he said in a statement. "There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General."
According to NRO, the agency informed Camp that a computer crash resulted in the loss of e-mails between January 2009 and April 2011 sent between Lerner and outside agencies such as the White House and the Department of Justice. "Those messages are particularly relevant given revelations earlier this week that the agency in 2010 transmitted a database to the FBI containing confidential taxpayer information, potentially in violation of federal law."
The IRS said in a separate statement that it has or will produce 24,000 e-mails from the period between 2009 and 2011 using the files of 82 individuals with whom Lerner corresponded, and that it has produced nearly all of the 67,000 e-mails sent and received by Lerner during her time at the agency.
Apparently lack of document (and email) retention is a crime for everyone, but not for the IRS. And furthermore, only when it comes to the IRS, can a single computer crash destroy the entire email path history, even as it crosses through countless servers across the world, and ultimately lands in somebody else's inbox.
It goes without saying that for the IRS to even assume someone would believe this particular, and quite spectacular, lie is beyond insulting to even the most gullible idiot among the US population.
So we won't say it.
What, however, was simply a bizarre, if idiotic, lie has just been taken to a whole new level of ridiculousness, when moments ago, representative Steve Stockman (R-Texas) announced he would request that the National Security Agency help in the hunt for missing emails to and from the IRS’s Lois Lerner, and recover two years worth of "lost" emails. From the Hill:
In a letter to NSA Director Michael Rogers on Friday, Stockman requested that the NSA turn over information it has about emails between Lerner and outside groups between January 2009 and April 2011.
Stockman’s request for the NSA’s “metadata” on the emails comes as congressional Republicans probe whether the IRS mishandled applications for tax-exempt status from Tea Party and conservative groups.
In a statement, Stockman said the NSA’s information “will establish who Lerner contacted and when, which helps investigators determine the extent of illegal activity by the IRS.”
“Your prompt cooperation in this matter will be greatly appreciated and will help establish how IRS and other personnel violated rights protected by the First Amendment,” Rogers wrote.
Turns out all those jokes about people calling the NSA and asking for backups of lost emails and of course files (because remember, courtesy of complicit megacorporations, the NSA has full backdoor access to everything anyone does) - they weren't jokes at all.
And now the NSA is caught between a rock and a hard place: because if it refuses an officialcongressional demand, it shows once again that the spy agency is entirely separated from any concept of checks and balances and accountability; if it complies, it confirms that all the NSA is, considering it can't even tap into a bunch of Al Qaeda phones and figure out what the jihadists' strategy is in Iraq, is just a massive data repository of all US electronic information, to be abused at will by corrupt, criminal government workers, some of whom will likely have to resort to the "dog ate my emails" excuse in the immediate future.