Days after the IRS humiliated itself, revealing that the dog at Lois Lerner's emails, some two years worth between the years of 2011 and 2013, representative Steve Stockman (R-Texas) went so far as to petition the NSA to recover the lost emails. However, this track would hardly lead to anything actionable for various reasons: as we explained, "the NSA is caught between a rock and a hard place: because if it refuses an official congressional 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."
So in order to avoid even further questions about the true role of the NSA and thus risk even more embarrassment of the broken US government apparatus (because the IRS scandal is really symptomatic of a greater issue: the deteriorating of checks and balances in the US legislative branch), the man who has been most steadfast in his pursuit of Lois Lerner's, and the IRS', pursuit of conservative groups, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on Tuesday issued a subpoena to the Internal Revenue Service, ordering the agency to turn over the hard drive they claim is responsible for wiping out two years of critical email communications.
According to the Washington Examiner, Issa is not only seeking emails, but wants equipment, “communication devices,” printed documents and just about anything else related to former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has refused to testify before Congress and who the GOP believes is a central player in the targeting scheme.
"After a year of beating down efforts by the Obama administration and its allies to obstruct an investigation into targeting, the IRS now says it lost perhaps the most critical evidence,” Issa said. “We still do not have answers about how and why the IRS tried to deceive Congress about these missing e-mails. This subpoena seeks those answers.”
Per the Examiner here are the items Issa is asking the IRS to produce:
- All back-up tapes, external drives, thumb drives, or other storage media the IRS used to capture, archive, back up, or otherwise record e-mails sent or received by Lerner from Jan. 1, 2009, to Sept. 23, 2013.
- All hard drives, external drives, thumb drives, and computers Lerner used from Jan. 1, 2009, to Sept.23, 2013.
- All electronic communication devices the IRS issued to Lerner from Jan. 1, 2009, to Sept. 23, 2013.
- All electronic files, including, but not limited to, .pst files, relating to the IRS e-mail account Lerner used from Jan. 1, 2009, to Sept. 23, 2013.
- All documents and communications that Lerner printed and/or stored for Federal Records Act compliance purposes from Jan. 1, 2009 to Sept. 23, 2013.
- All documents and communications referring or relating to the production to any congressional committee or member of Congress of e-mail communications sent or received by Lerner from Jan. 1, 2009, to Aug. 2, 2013.
- All documents and communications referring or relating to the creation of “Enclosure 3” from the June 13 letter from Leonard Oursler to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, titled “Description of IRS Email Collection and Production."
- All documents and communications between or among IRS employees and employees of any Executive Branch entity referring or relating to the IRS’ production of documents to Congress from May 10, 2013, to the present.
- All documents and communications referring or relating to the subpoena issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Aug. 2, 2013.
- All documents and communications referring or relating to the subpoena issued by House Oversight to Koskinen on Feb. 14.
Surely it will be next to impossible for the IRS to claim that it has "lost" all the items on the above bullet list, although we are confident it will try.
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.
We wonder: how long until Americans finally realize they have had enough, and proceed to inform the IRS they have systematically "lost" all W-2 and 1099 statements sent to them in the last several years as well...