In the wake of the news that a ‘computer crash’ destroyed over two years’ worth of Lois Lerner’s emails, House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa on Tuesday subpoenaed her hard drive. Unfortunately, according to a source in the IRS’ IT department, that subpoena is unlikely to turn up much.
As a matter of practice, says the source, the IRS discards damaged hard drives after wiping them of all data. ”If we can run them, we have to wipe them,” he says. If they will not run, the agency destroys them completely by magnetically degaussing them.
In both cases, the damaged hard drives are disposed of. “You’re not supposed to keep them around,” the source says. “You destroy the data.”
That apparently is part of a standard government procedure, but the revelation is sure to roil Republican lawmakers who had hoped there would be some way to recover the e-mails that the IRS said the computer crash had destroyed.
It is also part of a broader problem: Government record-keeping practices aren’t very good. At the IRS, servers are backed up for only six months and more permanent record keeping is, it appears, an individual responsibility, with agency employees instructed to print hard copies of documents that may be subject to freedom of information requests.
Emails are usually sent from one computer to another what about the receiver of the emails is that computer gone too? What about retrieving them from the server? Oddly the IRS can find tax records from decades ago, but cannot find Lerner’s emails. Its time to subpoena the folks the emails went to. This is taking a joke and turning it into a farce. These people need to go to jail, and Obama needs to resign along with his Chief of Staff for perpetuating this criminal activity to deny civil rights to American citizens!