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June 26, 2015

TIGTA: Lois Lerner's Hard Drive Crash Was Most Likely Caused by an Impact of Some Sort
Inspector General: The Tapes Were Deleted Due to an "Unbelievable" Series of Coincidences, Not Intent

Via Hot Air, oh yes, they're just destroying evidence in blatant fashion now, and daring you to do anything about it.

Our investigation determined that on Saturday, June 11, 2011, between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm, Ms. Lerner’s IRS issued laptop computer stopped communicating with the IRS server system. The IRS server system sends messages out to all of the network-connected computers every two hours. The last communication between Ms. Lerner’s laptop and the server system occurred around 5:00 pm, and at that time, based on consistent network reporting for more than a week, the laptop computer was likely located in Ms. Lerner’s office. The laptop failed to respond to the server at 7:00 pm.

On Monday, June 13, 2011, Ms. Lerner reported that she found her computer inoperable when she entered her office, and the malfunction was reported to the IRS Information Technology (IT) staff. The assigned IT specialist determined the hard drive had crashed, and following standard protocol, he placed a new hard drive in Ms. Lerner’s laptop. In addition to the hard drive, a Hewlett Packard (HP) contractor replaced the laptop’s keyboard, track pad, heat sink, and fan. When interviewed, both the IRS IT technician and the HP technician reported that they did not note any visible damage to the laptop computer itself. When asked about the possible cause of the hard drive failure, the HP technician opined that heat-related failures are not seen often, and based on the information provided to him, the hard drive more than likely crashed due to an impact of some sort. However, because the HP technician did not examine the hard drive as part of his work on the laptop, it could not be determined why it crashed.

On July 19, 2011, Ms. Lerner requested IRS IT to attempt to recover data from her crashed hard drive because, according to her, she had “personal information” on the drive. The IRS IT management agreed and requested assistance from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI). After receiving the hard drive from the IT technician, the IRS-CI technician attempted, but was unsuccessful in recovering data, so he returned the hard drive to the IT depot at the IRS headquarters building for its ultimate destruction. According to the IRS-CI technician, he noted some scoring on the top platter of the drive, and he believed there were additional steps that could have been taken to attempt to recover data.

Oh, and then they deleted the back-up tapes -- which by law they're supposed to keep.

As AP reports, according to the IG's deputy Timothy Camus, two "lower-graded" employees at the IRS center in Martinsburg, West Virginia, erased 422 computer backup tapes that contained as many as 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner.

It gets better: the tapes were erased in March 2014, months after congressional investigators requested all of Lerner's emails, and months after Zero Hedge, among many others, said to simply track down the server backups.

And the punchline: according to George, who before "investigating" IRS crimes, was a page for the 1980 Democratic National Convention and a founder of the Howard University College Democrats, the workers might be incompetent, a lead investigator said Thursday, but there is no evidence they were part of a criminal conspiracy to destroy evidence.

Don't worry, though. The IG has cleared the IRS -- see, it was all just an "unbelievable series of coincidences."

The IRS erased backup takes with Lois G. Lerner's emails even after the messages were subject to a congressional subpoena, but it was an "unbelievable" chain of coincidences rather than a malicious intent to subvert Congress, the tax agency’s inspector general said Thursday.

As many as 24,000 emails may have been permanently lost, but the inspector general has managed to recover about 1,000 messages from the tapes because the IRS only "degaussed" the tapes but didn't destroy them.

Still, the move to erase the tapes after they had been requested by Congress didn’t sit well with Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who accused IRS chief John Koskinen of obstructing Congress‘ investigation into the emails and tea party targeting.

"They destroyed evidence. That’s what they did," Mr. Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said.

He wondered whether it was a “coincidence” the erasure came just a month after President Obama dismissed the tea party-targeting scandal as a nonissue.

I concede -- it is in fact "unbelievable." Look that word up in the dictionary, and the come back to me, because I have some follow-up questions.

Jim Jordan and other Republicans are considering impeaching IRS Fixer Jon Koskinen.

Um, that's a start.

I really object to Ed Morrissey's deprioritization of this to talk up James Clapper.

Can we actually talk about impeaching this guy without having the peanut gallery diver us into talking about other people?

So, the government is officially just an outlaw now, huh?

Then what basis is there for any of us to obey it any longer?


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posted by Ace at 03:21 PM

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