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July 02, 2014

Megan McArdle: If Lois Lerner's Computer Gave Her The "Blue Screen of Death," As a Witness Claims, That Means The Data On It The Hard Drive Was Probably Recoverable

The system is willing, but the user is weak.

[T]he Blue Screen of Death is an operating system error. The operating system lives on the hard drive. Which raises a question: If Lerner’s hard drive was so thoroughly malfunctioning that no one could even get the data off of it, how was it booting up far enough for the operating system to malfunction? This is not the description of the problem that I would have expected to hear; I would have expected to hear that her computer wouldn’t really boot up at all, perhaps while horrible grinding noises emanated from its innards. In most cases, a computer displaying the Blue Screen of Death is a computer with a hard drive functioning well enough for data recovery. If I were Lerner's IT support person, I would waste no time in getting the hard drive to a working computer, where I’d connect it as a secondary drive and transfer off all the files, because the Blue Screen of Death is often a harbinger of future hard drive failure. But it was not, in my experience, usually a symptom of the actual failure.

Meanwhile, the Daily Caller suggests possible reason for Lois Lerner's hair-trigger on auditing Chuck Grassley: Grassley had just blocked a political appointee from taking over a powerful post at the IRS which would have made it harder for them to target conservatives.

Grassley made it more difficult for the IRS and DOJ to work together to target conservative groups by blocking Obama’s political appointee Mary L. Smith from taking over the DOJ Tax Division, which prosecutes criminal cases for the IRS. Grassley held up the nomination in early 2010, just as Lerner and fellow IRS officials were mapping out their targeting strategy. The White House later withdrew Smith's nomination.

The source confirmed to The Daily Caller that the White House and IRS officials "were very upset at Senator Grassley and Republicans for blocking a vote on Mary Smith’s nomination."

The IRS relies on the DOJ Tax Division to prosecute both criminal and civil cases, and has entire legal teams devoted to making DOJ referrals. Placing a political appointee as assistant attorney general for the DOJ Tax Division was a top priority for the Obama White House.

Of course it was. Grassley kept a non-political, career bureaucrat in the job for another two years.



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posted by Ace at 12:58 PM

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