Guess what? The Lois Lerner e-mails are missing! Or are they ?
This is incredible. Six computer hard drives in addition to that of Lois Lerner have crashed—and are missing. That’s right, they’re gone—according to the IRS. Are we to believe that the IRS didn’t provide for backups of all of their e-mail transmissions during the period of the beginning of 2009-April 2011, which was the period that most of the e-mails in question were generated?
So, if we understand this, the backup storage data system on seven computer hard drives have crashed and/or have been destroyed, and the data cannot be recovered? Is that the case with all hard drives in the various government agencies with which Lois Lerner exchanged e-mails? It is mysterious how the other six offices within the IRS just happened to destroy the hard drives with the e-mails between themselves and Lois Lerner as well. Lerner, as we know, was the head of the IRS Exempt Status Division.
Now, yet a newly discovered e-mail suggests Lois Lerner feared the Congress and their subpoena power over e-mails and the IRS. A newly released e-mail written by Lois Lerner in 2013, reveals that she understood and feared the possibility that Congress might someday exercise its power to go after the agency’s electronic communications.
Ben Bullard, in an article written in July in the Personal Liberty Digest says, “its an amazing coincidence that both the paper and the digital versions of those communications are now missing.”
The House Oversight Committee last week finally obtained this latest damning e-mail and released it on July 9, via its website following the latest hearing with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, and guess what—-Koskinen pleaded ignorance—he said he has never seen this latest e-mail. He—after all his arrogance during his previous hearings now has nowhere else to hide. He and they have been caught red-handed. The contents of this newest gem tell what Ms. Lerner has been up to during all of this time that she was “innocent”. The contents reveal that Lerner asked Maria Hook, an IRS tech employee in the exempt department whether communications conducted via a Microsoft message system were searchable.
The revelations revealed in the most recent e-mail showed that Lerner made an intentional, concerted effort to avoid oversight. That conversation tells it all. The information shows that it was likely a criminal conspiracy. Lerner was specifically asking the IRS technology expert who was also the head of her division’s audit unit. Why else would she be asking such a person whether the information in e-mail exchanges can be later retrieved by others. The IRS tech expert advised: “ Instant messages are not set to save as a standard, however, the functionality exists within the software. “ She continued, my general recommendation is to treat the conversations as if they could/are being saved somewhere, as it is possible for either party of the conversation to retain the information and have it turn up as part of an electronic search. “……..Parties involved in OCS conversations can copy and save the contents of the Conversations to an e-mail or file”, she cautioned.
In the e-mail Lerner said, “I had a question today about OCS (Microsoft Office Communications Server).I was cautioning folks about e-mail and how we have several occasions where Congress has asked for e-mails and there has been an electronic search for responsive e-mails, so, we need to be cautious about what we say in e-mails. Someone asked if OCS conversations were also searchable. I don’t know, but I told them that I would get back to them. Do you know?” Lerner asked if the instant messaging system used by the IRS creates backup archives that Congress might review. She was told that the IM system creates no such incriminating archives. Lerner’s reply to all of this was, “perfect”.
The above conversation took place just days after the IRS Inspector General report documented the targeting of conservative groups. She then cautioned her colleagues in the IRS to avoid saying anything provocative in e-mails that could be reviewed by Congress.
The question above that Lerner was referring to —supposedly directed to her was her own plant—a lie—not a question directed to her for which she was seeking an answer. Lerner said she was asked a question and so she answered it. Not so. An outright lie. Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on her late afternoon program on Fox was outraged about that one of many lies by Lerner. Lerner, when she has been on the stand takes the 5th Amendment to protect herself and so that she doesn’t have to answer the questions. As Greta said, it’s one thing for a private citizen to take the 5th, but a government official, whose salary is paid by the American taxpayer should not be able to invoke the 5th Amendment when being questioned in regards to government misconduct. It should be possible to hold an official accountable.
And, no—she shouldn’t be given immunity to tell what she knows—most of what she knows directly involves her, and Trey Gowdy, when asked about giving her immunity, said they would not give her immunity until they know what she is going to say. That only makes sense. It is a fair guess that everything that went on directly involved her—obviously, others who were involved, were only involved in response to Lerner’s involvement. Even though they were acting at her behest and on her orders, they are left vulnerable, so it makes sense to protect them with immunity in exchange for helping investigators get to the truth.
So, the people who should receive immunity if we want to find out the extent of Lerner’s corrupt activity in the targeting of conservative groups, and all of the pieces to the puzzle, should be all of the IRS employees around her. Let them “spill the beans”. This latest Lerner e-mail is one that clearly says, “we don’t want Congress to know what we’re doing”. When she warns that “we need to be careful”—careful about what? If she has done nothing wrong, why would she and they need to be careful?
And, what if these e-mails have been intentionally destroyed—along with the hard drives? Now, Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has subpoenaed White House Counsel, Jennifer O’Conner, who was briefly with the IRS before becoming White House Counsel. Mr. Issa expressed that he is disappointed that the White House won’t work with Congress. That’s nothing new, but the American people who themselves have been demonized by the IRS from time to time deserve to know and want the answers. And, you can bet that they don’t want, of all agencies, the IRS, who has a certain amount of control, and great influence over all of our lives, to be able to think that they can just run amok with total freedom without checks and balances and accountability. Letting something of this magnitude involving an agency like the IRS can be a very dangerous threat to all Americans. If they can get away with doing something like this to the American people and not have to reveal themselves and their methods, there will be no end to their power grab.
This is another case where there is no transparency in Washington. The IRS as has been revealed is operating under a veil of secrecy. Transparency is what allows the public to hold the government accountable. When that is not there, then we are all vulnerable and helpless to control the extent to which the government can inject themselves into our daily lives and control the outcome of many of the things that affect our lives and future.
Mr. Obama would have everyone believe that the American people “just want to move on”. That is probably so but I can assure you that they don’t want to move on without answers—they don’t want to just let this travesty slowly die. And, since our president wants to just move on, why on earth has he been otherwise quiet and disengaged involving—really—all of the scandals? Why has he then not told Lois Lerner and the IRS Commissioner that he wants it to end and to reveal everything about the case and to cooperate with and turn over to Congress everything they need to close it out? Because—he wants to move on—but doesn’t want to have to reveal the truth in order to do it. That should be clear to everyone. Thus it should be clear by his actions, and by the actions of the guilty parties, as well as other democrats who are complaining, that there has been a major cover up and they don’t want the truth revealed. Mr. Obama promised loud and clear in his campaign that this was going to be the most transparent administration in history. Again and again it has been the same withholding of information and the attempt to keep the public out of the loop with all of the scandals that have been uncovered.
And what a stupid thing for Lerner to do—write in an e-mail all of this —and warning her colleagues in the IRS in an e-mail to be careful about what they write– in an e-mail. Maybe she needs to follow her own advice.
The Oversight Committee is now in “fight mode”. They now believe and are accusing Lerner of “leading an IRS effort to hide information from Congressional inquiries. The Oversight Committee website asserts, “In e-mails withheld from the Committee until only last week Lerner was apparently concerned that IRS conversations taking place within the agency’s instant messenger program could end up in the hands of Congress along with requested e-mails”.
The IRS strains credibility when it says it lost all of the Lerner e-mails—and the hard drives destroyed belonging to those who received the e-mails as well as the e-mails generated back to Lerner. This sounds more than fishy. So the krux of this controversial matter is that the IRS claims to have lost two years’ worth of e-mail messages sent by Lois Lerner and at least six others involved in the harassment scandal of conservative groups including “tea party” groups. Baloney. Who would believe a far-fetched story like that–the story that the e-mails have just disappeared without a trace? If one hard drive crashes or went missing, that’s suspicious, if seven went missing, that’s a conspiracy. Many of Lerner’s e-mails went to multiple recipients. Polls show that 76% of Americans believe they were deliberately destroyed, while only 12% think they were accidentally destroyed. Wow, what strong stuff are those 12% drinking? They obviously haven’t been following this scandal that closely. Of course, the mainstream media that they listen to and watch are helping out by not reporting any more of this sordid story than they have to.
Governor Mike Huckabee described the IRS as the “closest thing (agency) to a Gustapo that the federal government has.” This isn’t a partisan issue—the IRS has the ability to deal every American his or her share of misery. The IRS is the most hated and distrusted agency in the entire federal government. It can literally ruin your life. And, when the IRS says jump, you had better ask “how high”. No breaks for the American citizen by the IRS. In case they call upon you to provide information, at least seven years of it had better be at your fingertips—at a moments notice. And– just try telling them that the hard drive with your information on it has been destroyed and your records with it. Remember when this scandal with the IRS broke, Mr. Obama himself expressed outrage—and said that he himself was furious and that the people already fear and distrust the IRS? He said that the reputation of the IRS should be above reproach.The IRS has more power over us—the citizens—than any other agency in the land.
Mitch McConnel l wasn’t buying the story that e-mails were lost in a computer crash. He said, “OK, I’ll accept that one when I can use “lost receipts” (as an excuse). That’s how we all feel. Only in the case of lost receipts we wouldn’t even get the chance to explain. If we were to get audited we don’t have the option of saying that we lost our stuff—that was on our computer hard drive or otherwise. Why again does America hate the IRS?
The report to the committee says that the IRS recycled Lerner’s hard drive. They knew as early as February, 2014 that the e-mails were missing. The House Ways and Means Committee is the Chief Tax Writing Committee in the Congress. The Constitution declares that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” Dave Camp (R-MI) is the chairman of this committee. The Ways and Means Committee referred Lois Lerner to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. The letter detailed actions taken by Lerner to deprive groups of their right and impede the investigation.
In a piece written on June 17, 2014, by Matthew Hurt on the political blog, United Liberty, entitled, “Outrage: The IRS Claims to Have Lost E-mails From Six Other Employees Tied to Conservative Targeting”, Mr. Hurt says, “somewhere deep inside a room deep inside its headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, a National Security Agency Intelligence Analyst is chuckling at Lois Lerner and the IRS.”
He continues, “late last week, word broke that former Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division, Lois Lerner conveniently lost more than two years of e-mails with outside groups, the White House, and Democratic lawmakers. Earlier today it was reported that exchanges with six other top IRS officials and outside organizations have mysteriously vanished.”
“Darrell Issa subpoenaed IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, to a meeting later this month to testify regarding the lost e-mails.” I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing in response to the Committee’s investigation of the IRS targeting, wrote Issa in a letter to the Commissioner.” “For too long the IRS has promised to produce requested—and later subpoenaed documents, only to respond later with excuses and inaction.” But the Commissioner is trying to tell the House Oversight Committee that the IRS has broken no laws in the loss of the e-mails. Imagine that!
The IRS has claimed that they have complied with most of the requests from Congress, spending $10 million to produce more than 750,000 documents.
Sharyl Attkisson, who previously worked for CBS News and resigned because of their liberal bias which affected her ability to deliver credible news stories, said something that makes sense. She said, “these e-mails are not stored on a single server or a single computer, so if there was a crash of a hard drive or some sort of a system failure, they would still be retrievable. “ John Koskinen, the IRS Commissioner at the time, told Congress that e-mails were stored off site. That jives with what people have said—that the e-mails were backed up daily. “There is a responsibility on the part of government officials to retain the data—make sure where it is and that it can’t be lost in the system. If it’s true that the e-mails are lost, that’s quite a story in itself.” Most people do a better job at preserving their various records at home—most save their documents on a flash drive as well as on paper hard copies in files.
David Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSec, an information security company, appeared on Stuart Varney’s show, on the Fox Business Network, and on Greta Van Sustern’s show “On the Record’, on June 23. He offered to assist the IRS free of charge in tracking down the e-mails. He said that it is alarming that seven officials lost e-mails for a two year period during which the IRS was targeting conservative non-profit groups.
As noted by Matthew Hurt in his piece in United Liberty, “Congress can barely keep up with the scandals coming out of the Obama administration and each new development shakes the American people’s confidence in our government to carry out the tasks in which we have entrusted them.” Well put.
Are there others who have sent and received e-mails from Lerner whose hard drives are still in tact? But then we go back to the fact that nothing deleted ever dies. Do e-mails in hard drives that have been destroyed ever die? If not, there is the possibility of a group of professionals recovering them. Do we know where the hard drives are at the moment? Did any of the individual employees make the decision that the e-mails should be saved? Even in a “hard” file somewhere? If not, then that’s also weird.
There surely must be a legal requirement that information should be backed up and saved in a safe place for 10 years. Particularly in the government—and certainly at the IRS.
Paul Ryan during the first day of a heated back and forth between himself and the commissioner. Rep. Ryan brought up that the mention of the emails being lost appeared on Page 7 of the long report to the House Oversight Committee. The crash came ten days after they were given notice about a potential criminal investigation.
Mr. Ryan let Commissioner Hoskinen have it. “ You can come up with seven years of the ordinary American’s tax records but can’t come up with six months worth of e-mails sent back and forth between IRS officials. I don’t believe you. No one believes you,” Ryan shouted at the Commissioner.
Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) made a good point. He brought up the question of why didn’t Commissioner Hoskinen “flag” the matter of the lost e-mails rather than not saying anything—way back in February, 2014. Several months ago—long before now—they knew the e-mails were supposedly inaccessible—unrecoverable. The lingering question on the lost e-mails is, “can they vanish without a trace.” Every expert says, “no”.
As the heated hearings were going on, an archivist in Washington weighed in saying that the IRS broke laws when they did not produce the e-mails. He reiterated that the IRS broke laws by not complying with the National Records Act–by not producing the subpoenaed e-mails.
On legal counsel, Jennifer O’Conner’s testimony–she said she was not aware of the question of the missing e-mails and the fact that they were supposedly “unrecoverable”– the fact that there had been a crash of the hard drives. That may be true. She worked at the IRS for six months before becoming White House counsel.
Meanwhile 74% of Americans want Congress to keep investigating the IRS. Of course they do—this is not a partisan issue as far as the American people are concerned. Everyone has the IRS in their lives and have to keep those guys happy while still trying to figure out how to keep some of the money they have earned—or at least the share to which they are entitled.
Another interesting fact came up during the week of June 22. It has been revealed that Commissioner Koskinen has been a major Democratic donor. He made 118 political contributions to democratic candidates and groups amounting to $100,000 over two decades. This included a $2,300 to Obama in 2008.
Elijah Cummings as well as other Democrats were taking up for the Commissioner and Ms. Lerner. Never mind that there is evidence that Conservative groups have been targeted and at least many of the important e-mails have been lost along with the hard drives they were on, suggesting a major cover-up at the Internal Revenue Service. Cummings opined on June 24 that there is no evidence whatsoever that the White House was involved. Maybe not, but we don’t yet know. Maybe Lerner was acting alone, but, the fact still remains that the IRS was targeting conservatives, including tea party groups, and it appears that there was an intentional effort to get rid of the telling e-mails along with the hard drives on which they are stored. The fact remains that the law says that copies should be saved and available.
Remember, President Nixon was going to be impeached, and ended up resigning over eighteen missing minutes of a tape. Yeah, eighteen minutes of a tape they wouldn’t produce—that affected no one’s lives—no one got hurt and they weren’t trying to control the rights of the American people. Of course, Nixon was a Republican. There were something like 67,000 emails. Then Press Secretary, Jay Carney said there were none between the IRS and the White House, and he may be right about that. That remains to be seen.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp(R-MI) questioned the IRS commissioner telling him that there are gaps in the story about the lost emails. Why, if they knew in February are they just now bringing it up?
Mr. Camp asked the commissioner if he supports the appointment of a special prosecutor and Commissioner Koskinen said “no, it would be a waste of time and taxpayer money.” A waste of time? He wishes taxpayers wouldn’t want the investigation of the IRS to continue—the same corrupt agency that takes their taxes and that most taxpayers hate so vehemently. When there are seven computer hard drives that have mysteriously crashed and lost the information stored on them? And the claim that it would be a waste of taxpayer money to investigate the IRS further—really? And what about wasting taxpayer money paying all of the IRS employees big bonuses, and paying the salaries of Lois Lerner and Commissioner Koskinen? Do the American people really think it would be a waste of money? I think not. There is not a better way to spend taxpayer money than to hold the IRS accountable in the face of a major scandal and cover-up—and the IRS Commissioner and all of the other Democrats on Capitol Hill and the President are nervous. Mr. Hoskinen as well as the other liberals, is conveniently ignoring the fact that polls say that 74% of Americans want the IRS investigations to continue. I can’t think of a better way and I’ll bet neither can most people, to spend their hard earned taxpayer dollars than investigating and taking the IRS to task. In fact, most Americans that pay taxes would love to see the IRS eliminated.
The IRS had the intention of interfering with two elections—using the power of a certain agency to assist the President and other Democrats in getting a certain result—by not letting the American voters know certain facts about all of the scandals plaguing the federal government and this administration. Hillary Clinton told Greta recently in an interview as Clinton was promoting her latest book, that “anytime the IRS is in question it is a scandal”. According to Daniel Henninger, the editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, “The IRS tea-party audit story isn’t Watergate, It’s worse than Watergate. The Watergate break-in was the professionals of the party in power going after the party professionals of the party out of power.The IRS scandal is the party in power going after the most average Americans imaginable,” he added.
In a piece written by Paul Bedard in the Wall Street Journal on June 19, Bedard says, “some believe that it is even worse than when former President Bill Clinton was accused of using the IRS to punish huge conservative groups including the National Rifle Association, the Heritage Foundation and Judicial Watch.”
The reason: “Obama’s IRS went after the grassroots”, Bedard points out. Henninger went one step further and suggested that the order to do so came in Obama’s code language. Mr. Obama himself in a March 2010 radio address spoke of ‘shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names’ that threaten our democracy’, Henninger wrote. The Tea Party? But George Soros isn’t?
On Wednesday, June 25, it was brought up that the IRS may have stored the emails in question at an archives site somewhere. But to find it is the thing. These records would have to be subpoenaed. Could Judicial Watch find out where they are and subpoena them? The location of the site would be confidential, but they could be gotten through a subpoena. Fox News reported about the middle of July that the e-mails may not be totally lost. So the lingering question is “what if the e-mails aren’t missing?
Vinny Troia, Security Expert and CEO of NiteLion was on with Gretchen Carlson on Wed, June 25. He is an expert ethical hacker. He said in 2010 there were FISMA audits (Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002). They were completed by 2011 and they may be able to prove the backups of IRS e-mails.
On June 25, we find out that Lois Lerner targeted Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) suggesting that he be audited. Records show that she mistakenly received an invitation to a speaking event that was meant to go to Sen. Grassley. Instead of forwarding the invitation to Mr. Grassley’s office, which is what most people would do, she instead referred it to other people in her office saying that it warranted further examination. A waiver was signed by Senator Grassley and his wife so the document could be made public. The Ways and Means Committee was able to investigate this piece of information through its authority under Section 6103 of the tax code. She had no basis for initiating a baseless inquiry on a sitting U. S. Republican Senator.
Rich Lowry, political reporter for the Washington Post pointed out during a segment on Fox News that Lerner wouldn’t have had the power to authorize an investigation on the republican senator. But, the DOJ refuses to investigate.
Then we have the President during a fundraiser in Minnesota on Thursday, June 26, again pushing the story of the “phony” scandals that “the news keeps pushing”. He exclaimed before his crowd of listeners (those still drinking the Kool-Aid) that these were “fabricated issues”, with the exception of the current situation in Iraq, which is legitimate. The American people are frustrated and want everyone to “move on”. This is not what the people want” he opined. He said that “people” were using these scandals to “gin” up their base. In his appearances on TV—in press conferences and on the campaign trail he has been talking about the “phony scandals” to do what? To “gin” up his base! The hypocrisy never stops. And—he has no evidence that the American people want to just “move on”.
Fabricated issues? And– people want to move on and leave all of the scandals behind? He made this proclamation two weeks after damaging evidence—the discovery of damning and very important e-mails that they had kept from the Oversight Committee and the American people! And is he just ignoring the fact that 74% of Americans don’t believe them and want the investigations to continue? Uber raging liberal, Alan Colmes appearing on “The Real Story” with Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson, on Friday, June 27, dismissed the President’s outrageous claims by saying that with Republicans, everything is a scandal. They all seem to be missing the point don’t they?
The crash of the computers came just ten days after the White House had been given notice about a possible criminal investigation. And the coincidences just keep on coming. The IRS cancelled the e-mail backup service weeks after the hard drives crashed. Sonasoft, an email archive service based in San Jose, CA, had signed a contract with the IRS each year between 2005 and 2010. The IRS cancelled their long relationship with this e-mail storage contractor just weeks before Lerner’s computer crashed and shortly after the computers of other IRS officials’ computer hard drives supposedly crashed.
Sonasoft partners with Microsoft and the New York Times is one of their clients. “Automatic data processing” was provided by Sonasoft to the IRS during the period of 2009-2011, the period in which Lerner sent her “missing” e-mails. But as congressional investigators started checking into the IRS targeting scandal, IRS employees’ computers started crashing left and right, Sonasoft’s long relationship with the IRS came to an abrupt halt at the close of the fiscal year 2011.
Ed Morrissey reports in an article dated June 23 in the online magazine “Hot Air” that, “oddly this doesn’t appear to come up in testimony from IRS officials. IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen’s opening statement at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing of how hard the IRS worked at retrieving that data didn’t include any effort to restore a Sonasoft backup from the servers, or mention any outside servers at all. “ Morrisey goes on to say that “the existence of this contract appears to have been a better-kept secret than NSA snooping through Internet service providers.”
Darrell Issa gave Commissioner Koskinen some questions to answer during his next appearances before the House Oversight Committee. Among those, Question #5 will be of special interest:
5. Please Identify all vendors and outside contractors used by the IRS for the following purposes:
a. To develop, service or maintain the IRS e-mail systems.
b. To develop, service or maintain the IRS’s e-mail exchange servers.
c. To recycle or destroy IRS hard drives.
d. To provide mobile phone and data services.
And we will leave this article with these thoughts by Ed Morrissey: “The White House rejected calls on Friday for a special prosecutor to look into lost IRS e-mails and the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups saying republican investigations have failed to find a smoking gun.” Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “both the IRS service and the administration have already demonstrated “extensive cooperation with Republicans in Congress”. He added, “there have been 750,000 pages of documents provided, as well as 64,000 e-mails from then IRS Division Chief, Lois Lerner.” “Our willingness to cooperate with this investigation is evident from the numbers”, Earnest said, charging that “a large number of claims and conspiracy theories that have been floated about this process by Republicans just have not panned out, frankly.” And just how long has he been on the job?
Meanwhile such tea party groups as “True the Vote” and another large tea party group of which Niger Innis is the head has been denied 501-3c status for three years. Meanwhile, other new information, reveals that a judge ordered the IRS to swear to an explanation of how the Lerner e-mails disappeared. Even more preposterous is the fact that Earnest also said that “there’s zero evidence to show malfeasance,” which is a handy way of saying that all of the hard drives at the IRS have been destroyed.
Ed Morrisey in his “Hot Air” articles adds, “I wonder if that’s also true at Sonasoft.” Good Job Ed!