IRS “Prematurely Retired” Computer Data Storage Devices

In an exclusive, the Daily Caller reports,

IRS commissioner John Koskinen testified before Congress that ex-official Lois Lerner’s emails were lost in a June 2011 computer crash and that her hard drive storing those emails was “recycled.”

The IRS also claimed that it lost emails from six other employees due to separate computer crashes. U.S. Archivist David Ferriero said that the IRS “did not follow the law,” which requires government agencies to keep email records, to print out emails in case there’s a computer crash, and to notify Ferriero’s office when records are lost or destroyed.

Koskinen confirmed that IRS employees’ emails during this period were saved on six-month backup tapes. But Koskinen could not explain why the IRS did not inspect Lerner’s backup tape before it was erased. ”It would be difficult, but I don’t know why they didn’t do it,” Koskinen said. “I have no idea or indication that they did.”

The IRS, which spent $44.1 million in information technology (IT) hardware maintenance in fiscal year 2011 and $47.8 million in fiscal year 2012, closed out its six-year business relationship with the email archiving-and-recovery company Sonasoft in September 2011. Meanwhile, sophisticated data storage devices were being thrown away in the agency’s national IT offices in Maryland, even though the IRS was still paying for maintenance on the devices.

The IRS prematurely “retired” data-storage devices and filled out “disposal” documents for hardware that still existed and was supposed to still be in use, according to a Sept. 24, 2013 Treasury Inspector General (TIGTA) report entitled “Increased Oversight of Information Technology Hardware Maintenance Contracts Is Necessary To Ensure Against Paying for Unnecessary Services.”


In June 2012, the IRS “retired” ten hardware assets more than six months before the maintenance contracts on the devices were up, and continued spending $6,692 per month in maintenance costs.

I suppose we’ll have to see if the IRS offers up some plausible reason why this was done and isn’t the revelation of a cover-up. But my worst fear is that they won’t even bother to respond. They simply won’t care what evidence comes to light that they have destroyed evidence. Unless Congress really gets serious about prosecuting these IRS criminals, they are going to prove to themselves and to us that they can get away with anything.

[On that last point, see our post on Steve Stockman and how mockery of the IRS only gives conservatives a false feeling of victory when they are still losing.]

One final question: Why would we assume that Lois Lerner and others would use official emails for this work. Why wouldn’t she use Snapchat or some other privacy app on her phone to communicate off the record?