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IRS says it has lost over two years of Lerner emails

IRS says it has lost over two years of Lerner emails

Supposed computer crash to blame

The IRS is unable to produce some of the emails of former agency official Lois Lerner due to a computer crash, according to a statement from the House Ways and Means Committee.

Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service informing the Committee that they have lost Lois Lerner emails from a period of January 2009 – April 2011.  Due to a supposed computer crash, the agency only has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame.  The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.

“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.  There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.

“Just a short time ago, Commissioner Koskinen promised to produce all Lerner documents.  It appears now that was an empty promise.  Frankly, these are the critical years of the targeting of conservative groups that could explain who knew what when, and what, if any, coordination there was between agencies.  Instead, because of this loss of documents, we are conveniently left to believe that Lois Lerner acted alone.  This failure of the IRS requires the White House, which promised to get to the bottom of this, to do an Administration-wide search and production of any emails to or from Lois Lerner.  The Administration has repeatedly referred us back to the IRS for production of materials.  It is clear that is wholly insufficient when it comes to determining the full scope of the violation of taxpayer rights.”

Last month, the Ways and Means Committee indicated that the IRS had finally agreed to turn over all Lois Lerner emails to the Committee.  But according to Friday’s statement, it appears there had not been any mention until now that some of the emails would not be able to be produced because of the supposed computer crash.

Apparently, Lerner tried to have technicians reconstruct her hard drive at the time of the crash, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The IRS said it has done its best to reconstruct the emails of the former executive, Lois Lerner, who retired as the controversy unfolded last year. Its effort, which has included searching email of other senders and recipients, resulted in an additional 24,000 emails that are being provided to lawmakers, the agency said in a summary of its actions.

Ms. Lerner herself unsuccessfully tried to get agency technicians to reconstruct her hard drive at the time it crashed, the IRS said.

Earlier this week, it was reported that other documents obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform showed the IRS sent confidential taxpayer information about nonprofit groups to the FBI just before the 2010 midterm elections.


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Computer crash? That wiped out only Lerner’s emails and no others? Or were 10’s of thousands of IRS employees affected? Congress ought to ask for a list of who was affected.

Also disk drives are incredibly reliable these days and are nearly 100% immune from failure due to “computer crash”. Plus there has to be daily backups of changed data plus weekly or monthly full image backups.

In short this is blatant lying by Obama’s people. Obstruction of justice is another word. I do believe that Sarbanes-Oxly Law, passed by Congress, requires every business to maintain backups, no?

    Paul in reply to richardb. | June 13, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    re: SOX…. one set of rules for thee, and another for me

    snopercod in reply to richardb. | June 13, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I’m sure that Cryin’ John Boehner will jump right on this as soon as he gets back from the tanning booth.

    pjm in reply to richardb. | June 13, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    “That wiped out only Lerner’s emails and no others?”

    Better yet – the claim is that it only wiped out her emails with PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE IRS. Both To: and From:, but only those external ones.

    Yah, right.

    Anyone else here ever admin email servers for a living ? I have. It don’t work like that.

    Unless you go in and manually erase them.

      DanInAustin in reply to pjm. | June 13, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      I agree. I can’t believe that the only copy of emails that are kept are in a users personal mailbox on their workstation. At the very least there should be copies of every email she sent to the Whitehouse, DOJ, etc. on the recipients server/mailbox. I find it hard to believe that they don’t journal their email and archive it in order to process FOIA requests. Also, the IRS’s own documents say that all employees are required to print out copies to comply with the govt record requirements.

        The big bullshit here is ‘..Only selected emails were lost….just ones to or from outside the agency’

        MS Exchange Server, IOW email server software, will by default hold all emails on server, and when you look at your email via Outlook on client (your computer), it reads them back from server as you look at them.

        It is possible to configure your client side Outlook to tell MS Exchange Server ‘do not retain my emails on server’, if you know how. Most do not.

        However, AT NO POINT is it possible to tell either MS Exchange Server or client side Outlook ‘Hold only emails from / to this domain here ( or do not), and erase all others (or do not)’.

        You do that MANUALLY, or not at all.

          Musson in reply to pjm. | June 14, 2014 at 11:53 am

          CONSPIRACY. Make No mistake that the only way this bogus explanation is accepted by anybody is by engineering a conspiracy between the IRS, the WhiteHouse and the DOJ. They all ‘agree’ that it happened so it must have.

          I feel like I am living in occupied France.

          Neo in reply to pjm. | June 16, 2014 at 11:23 am

          The explanation given is that for some reason that is known only to the IRS, most e-mails were kept on a centralized computer system (these e-mails do survive) but some specialized list of other e-mails were only stored on the hard drive of the user (these e-mails are missing).

          Why this bifurcated storage system ? Who knows ? It sure does sound mighty convenient, and probably a violation of the federal records act.

          randian in reply to pjm. | June 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

          If it really is the case that said emails were stored only on Lerner’s hard drive then she must have been using a private email account. That violates numerous Federal laws.

      InEssence in reply to pjm. | June 14, 2014 at 1:33 am

      Yeah, and I bet that they have a computer network that backs up her computer. After a crash, the computer can be restored, and the E-mail in particular is very easy to restore. Every modern office has some kind of back-up. On top of that, I bet they use an networking sharing system that has multiple copies of E-mails hanging around.

        creeper in reply to InEssence. | June 14, 2014 at 8:56 am

        It’s the IRS for crying out loud. If they’re not backing up everything, every day, they’re incompetent.

      pjaym59 in reply to pjm. | June 14, 2014 at 8:46 am

      This latest lie will also “crash.”

      pjaym59 in reply to pjm. | June 14, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Caution! This newest exercise from the IRS for stretching credibility should only be attempted by the most gullible and uninformed voter. All others face the high risk of experiencing painful brain cramps and loss of common sense.

    2nd Ammendment Mother in reply to richardb. | June 13, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Seems like the investigation just broadened all by itself. Time to subpoena the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.

    That should make her “friends” that she’s covering for happy.

Yah, I’m calling BS…

Even medium-sized corporations KNOW they have to back-up emails. They have no explicit LEGAL requirement, like a government agency would.

A story like this would immediately implicate evidence spoliation, which is a VERY, VERY BAD thing.

    Voyager in reply to Ragspierre. | June 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    The cover-up is always worse than the crime.

    For things like this, don’t expect them to stop until they get into some truly deep waters.

    Czar Kasim in reply to Ragspierre. | June 13, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    As someone who has firsthand experience with IT for state level tax operations, I have to say: probably 98% of the users have their email archives on the network drives to prevent exactly this from happening. And any IT person who worked on her computer for any reason would be damn sure she had her archive on the network, because heads roll when crashes like that happen to directors or commissioners.

    And crashes like the one described here do in fact happen. In an agency with a few thousand employees, you would see a hard disk go bad every month or two. This however, is just too unlikely and convenient a story. They are throwing down the gauntlet pretty brazenly with this one.

    Let’s pretend the crash did occur, and the emails were stored locally on the HDD for a moment. What could happen?

    One: HDD crashes are rare, and they generally don’t strike out of the blue. The computer exhibits symptoms like slowness or crashing that would prompt most computers users to call the techs in. If that were the case, they would have been able, most likely, to recover info from the drive and transfer it to her replacement PC.

    Two: the hard drive did crash, but it’s not a serious fault. Most IT departments have utilities (both hardware and software) that work specifically to recover information from damaged or malfunctioning drives. For the run of the mill user this would probably not happen, but for a bigwig, absolutely. Email archives would again be a priority for recovery.

    Three: the hard drive crashed hard, giving her no warning. Information from the drive is unrecoverable for whatever reason (usually a physical issue with the drive). At this stage, the emails on that drive would be out of reach for the average IT department. Computer forensics and specialty drive recovery services are the only options. This can be pretty expensive, and while I know some businesses resort to this option to recover important files, mostly I’d consider this the realm of criminal investigations, which may or may not have been ongoing at the time of the ‘crash’ (when did it happen, did they say?).

    Given access to that drive now, I’d consider it likely that investigators could pull those emails off. But, as I said above, there’s no way the IRS is handing that crap over now that they’ve made such a bold claim in public.

    Oh, and of course, they are calling this a “computer crash’ but they never specified, that I saw, that the HDD crashed. Just for clarity’s sake for the non tech people: if literally any other part of the computer crashed, whether it be motherboard, cpu, gpu, memory, screen, what-have-you, that HDD would be just a screwdriver away from full recovery.

    One last thing: I really can’t believe she got away with disclosing taxpayer info. That is literally the cardinal sin in this industry, like a waitress sneezing in your food then giving it to you. You can do no greater wrong.

    Sorry for writing a book.

      Ragspierre in reply to Czar Kasim. | June 14, 2014 at 7:23 am

      Jason Chaffetz got some admissions from the very adversarial puke from IRS.

      One is that the emails are stored on a server.


        Czar Kasim in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2014 at 1:50 pm

        To clarify a point mentioned in that vid, in outlook, which is also the system I am familiar with, emails get stored in essentially two ways, the user’s mailbox (stored on a server), and archives (kept in a client specified location). Archives are simply files of usually old emails that outlook can read from, they usually get stored on a network drive. The outlook mailbox is synchronized via the outlook server.

        If Ms. Lerner’s computer crashed, getting those emails back ought to have been as easy as logging into a new computer, firing up outlook, letting outlook sync, then pointing outlook to the location of the network archive.

          Ragspierre in reply to Czar Kasim. | June 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm

          TheBlaze has a story quoting IRS regs that MANDATE a hard paper copy of all emails on a subject that requires a “record”. Which is pretty much everything.

      Ragspierre in reply to Czar Kasim. | June 14, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Oh, and THANK YOU for the information…!!! Pretty much as I thought.

What a complete and utter load of bullshit. First of all, the idea that they lost emails because Lerner’s hard drive crashed is bullshit… emails are routed and stored and archived on servers with copies (perhaps) stored on a user’s local hard drive.

In the commercial sector, any public company that fails to archive email servers would have it’s directors subject to persecution… err… prosecution.

Secondly, the idea that they only lost emails without outside entities is also a load of shit. Email servers don’t store internal and external email in separate places… they route such messages differently but once the messages are stored they are stored… the email system isn’t going to magically lose one type over the other.

These fools are digging themselves in deeper and deeper, I hope somebody has the stones to find the truth because this shit is getting more criminal by the day.

    philips66 in reply to Paul. | June 13, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    You are 100% correct. It’s standard procedure now to have email archives to collect every single email sent and received. SOX is a huge burden to abide by. Even if she lost a hard drive, there would be at least 3 or 4 copies (including backup and archive) of all emails available to the sys admins.

On hearing this news Micheal Mann’s reaction was “DOH”.

Start throwing people in jail until someone talks.

I can hear them now – “Bush did it too!”

Which is true but still wrong.

Midwest Rhino | June 13, 2014 at 5:57 pm

In such a matter of national security, I’m sure the NSA could provide copies.

So Lerner for decades goes after any honest person challenging the status commie quo, using the power of big gov to destroy any that challenge the criminals in the system.

And now “the dog ate my homework” is the response. It is not just Lerner, but 10,000 just like her, that are quite comfortable sucking the blood from middle Christian, not PC, America.

Enemies foreign and domestic … hard to say which are worse. But we better start to fight them … and never let them disarm us, as they so fervently desire.

Some guy, when in college, posts some pictures of himself drunk at a party. Or some young girl, pressured by a boyfriend to send some sort of revealing pictures, does as requested.

These images stay forever. Sometimes haunting the people involved: Loss of a job; embarrassments; denied interview opportunities; and more.

But her IRS emails are lost forever?

No way! They’re out there. What’s not out there is the will to recover the “lost” emails. Asking the DOJ to conduct a forensics audit is stupid.

Is there anybody who believes anything the Obama administration says anymore?

“The dog ate my tape” didn’t work for Nixon, and it won’t work for these criminals, either.

Her computer crashed, so the IRS lost 2 years of her email? Sorry but that’s not even possible. Former corporate email system admin here, this is candidate for lie of the year. Her emails live on the IRS email servers (which are backed up, that’s the law) so it doesn’t matter if her computer crashed!

Lying so blatantly one more time proves what a lack of respect for the American people this administration has.

The lie is so stupid, that I am sure THEY KNOW nobody will believe it. But The King is too arrogant. He’s simply letting us know little he thinks of us.

    Observer in reply to Exiliado. | June 13, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I can think of only one reason they’d be willing to tell such an obvious and easily refutable lie: the e-mails must prove that the IRS’ criminal conduct was ordered by and/or directed from a person or persons at the top levels of the Obama administration.

    MTED in reply to Exiliado. | June 13, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    True, but the problem is that the administration’s abettors in print and broadcast media will PRETEND to believe it and convince the drones who read and watch that all is well.

Is *anyone* surprised?

Really, *anyone*?

Business as usual. No shame. No honor.

The world laughs.

Insufficiently Sensitive | June 13, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Says Representative Camp: There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.

Precisely what the leering crooks at IRS and White House knew: that DOJ is their reliable final line of defense against turning over information to Congress. Eric Holder is OWNED by Obama, and would commit seppuku before honestly investigating such events.

When the Admin flips Congress the bird, there are no penalties.

So, the Admin keeps doing it. Why not?

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
Gettin’ my Nixon on today!

Say it with me…

“The computer(s) crashed because the republicans cut the funding”

inspectorudy | June 13, 2014 at 6:55 pm

This is the atmosphere created by the LIAR in chief. He and his staff lie so frequently that no one in any of the federal bureaucracies feel any fear of lying themselves. Our own Congressmen/women lie to us daily. The SCOTUS members lie about their views and involvements prior to appointment. No need to mention the msm. They got the award for the most and biggest lies known to man. Eric A$$holder? Lie? Do you or any of your friends know of one elected official that does not lie frequently?

Absolute corruption and lawlessness. So much criminal activity and NO accountability. I weep for what has become of my country.

mumzieistired | June 13, 2014 at 7:19 pm

They really think we’re that stupid?

This is yet another sign of inflation. Time was it only took an 18 minute gap to bring down a president. Now it takes something over two years.

they use exchange 2007.
and if outlook was set in online mode (vs cached) there would not have been copies on her pc anyways.
this is a huge lie.

    DanInAustin in reply to dmacleo. | June 13, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Do you know if they use mail journaling or an archiving solution like Symantec Enterprise Vault? it seems very hard to believe that they rely on local PST files or printed hard copies for FOIA requests.

      they would have to use something per law but I don’t know what.
      Symantec/GFI/MailStore or similar I would suspect.I doubt they would have built their own program just due to certification.
      I don’t think they would depend on exchange archive for that many people and those amounts of mail.
      however there has to be daily/weekly/monthly backups somewhere.

A_Nonny_Mouse | June 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Oh, for heaven’s sake, they expect us to buy this tripe?

At the little trucking company I worked for, we had daily & monthly & yearly backups, optical image archives of scanned documents, and archived PDF images of all reports. We kept EVERYTHING, multiple times over. (We were REQUIRED to keep everything for seven years, as I recall.)

You tryin’ to tell me that our ever-lovin’ IRS wouldn’t have that level of redundancy – AND MORE???


As Gran’maw would have said, “stuff and nonsense!” (That was how polite, refined ladies of her era said “b@llsh%t”.)

It seems as though a lot of people in this administration think that everyone is as dumb as them. When will all this nonsense stop? Only when the house and senate start loosing their jobs which can’t be soon enough for me.

theduchessofkitty | June 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm

“Lost it”, my @$%!

Abolish the IRS.

Gee, I guess if the IRS ever wants to audit any of us we can just tell ’em the computer ate our tax records!

Okay, let’s go back to 1974: Nixon’s Articles of Impeachment, Article 2:

1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

2. He misused the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and other executive personnel, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; he did direct, authorize, or permit the use of information obtained thereby for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; and he did direct the concealment of certain records made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of electronic surveillance.

Time to draft articles of impeachment against Barack Hussein.

Subpoena the head of the IRS IT department.

    DanInAustin in reply to malclave. | June 13, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Not just the head of the IRS IT dept. Subpoena anyone involved with the email system and anyone that worked on her computer. It’s less likely that the underlings will fall on their sword for Obama/lerner.

The person who created the excuse is technologically illiterate. That’s suspicious all by itself.

It’s time for Issa and his kind to stop playing nice. Just for openers, Lerner needs to do a perp-walk.

Hey IRS, I already paid my taxes. If you cant find the record it was probably on that hard drive.

If this were true, they would have told the House last year when they requested the emails.

Combine that with the mandatory retention and back-ups and it just doesn’t hold water.

Those emails contain the smoking guns that would sink Obama.

The IRS computer system is one of the biggest, toughest, constantly backed-up and redundant systems in the world. No way a “computer crash” lost anything, let alone select Lois Lerner emails.

What an idiotic excuse for spoliation of evidence, which is a criminal act.

The primary reason to reduce government bloat: corruption.

This is impossible.

We all know that when the DOJ began it’s investigation of IRS abuses that it had the FBI swoop in to the IRS and seized all of these e-mails.

Only a faux investigation wouldn’t.

Pure hogwash. IT there are backups and remote backups.

This is the lie of the year for 2014. If there were emails on her computer, and they really are lost. Those are just copies. The emails went through the email servers, where there are backups, and all emails are journal-ed and archived for legal reasons. So if copies are missing those are just one of 4 or 5 copies of emails. Also most gov’t agencies are required to print paper copies of all email communications too. This pretty much confirms a massive coverup, those “missing” emails lead right to the White House.

With all the patches, OS and security updates, no one backed up her local email files. A department head without a desktop and a laptop? She didn’t “do” email on her blackberry?

Aw, now they’re just punking us.

    artys in reply to creeper. | June 14, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I think you’ve got it completely right. They’re laughing their behinies off telling the rubes to stuff it becuz the game is over. You can investigate, but it’ll crawl a bit then stall. You can change regimes, but the personnel of any crucial bureaucracy has been purified – you’ll spend years trying to remove roadblocks. And as you proceed, you’ll be attacked by the media and Hollywood, and even the useful idiots residing in your own party.

    So what’s left but maybe having some fun by throwing out there the biggest fattest lie imaginable and see what happens?

Maybe it’s time to hold some TEA party meetings in the parking lots of IRS buildings around the country.

Along with their lobbies, lunch rooms, etc.

Why don’t my comments ever stay on this board? I leave a comment, come back later, and nothing. Must have left 3 comments on this discussion previously and none of them are here.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to philips66. | June 15, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Your comments were caught in the spam filter, probably because you use a name similar to a company name.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz: IRS Chief testified that ‘Lois Lerner emails were archived’


Even if the emails were lost as stated, which is unbelievable, they are still on every server where they were sent to or received from. It’s really, really hard (bordering on impossible) to eliminate an external email footprint from everywhere on the internet.