The plot seems to thicken every day now on the infamous “missing emails” from IRS manager Lois Lerner. So only did Lerner’s emails disappear in an alleged “computer crash,” but so did six other IRS officials at the center of the IRS targeting scandal. Now comes news that the IRS actually disposed of Lerner’s hard drive making any data retrieval that more difficult.

Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s crashed hard drive has been recycled, making it likely the lost emails of the lightning rod in the tea party targeting controversy will never be found, according to multiple sources.

“We’ve been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away,” Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said in a brief hallway interview.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued a terse statement following the POLITICO report Wednesday night:

“If the IRS truly got rid of evidence in a way that violated the Federal Records Act and ensured the FBI never got a crack at recovering files from an official claiming a Fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination , this is proof their whole line about ‘losing’ e-mails in the targeting scandal was just one more attempted deception. Old and useless binders of information are still stored and maintained on federal agency shelves; official records, like the e-mails of a prominent official, don’t just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention.”

Earlier this week, Issa subpoenaed the damaged hard drive hoping to retrieve the lost emails with assistance from tech experts. The news that the hard drive was disposed of will ramp up suspicions of an agency or White House cover-up to the IRS targeting scandal.

Issa tweeted further thoughts on Thursday afternoon.

The IRS told congressional investigators last Friday that Lerner’s emails from 2009 to 2011 were lost when her computer crashed.

The timing of the missing emails is critical because the IRS began targeting conservative and Tea Party groups in early 2010. Congressional investigators believe evidence from the “lost Lerner emails” may show a political directive to target conservatives — something the Obama Administration has denied from the start.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air notes that the national news media, eager to crucify President Nixon over an 18-minute recording gap, are barely attentive to this massive loss of evidence.

Forty years ago, aggressive media investigation into executive-branch abuse of power — including the use of the IRS against political opponents — forced the only resignation of a US President in history. Today, the media seems a lot more interested in whether an obvious abuse of power against an administration’s political opponents has a high Q-rating, or whether we should give the IRS even more resources after this scandal.

Maybe WikiLeaks could do the job that the Obama Administration seems unable to do.