The IRS recently blamed a “computer crash” for the disappearance of two years of email correspondence involving Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the controversy surrounding the agency’s apparent targeting of certain non-profit groups (Tea Party, Occupy, open source).
Apparently, this computer crash also destroyed any backups of the email between Lerner’s office and outside government agencies, along with the hard copy backups IRS employees are required to maintain as part of its public records obligations. The latter part of that hasn’t been specifically denied, but it’s assumed no one’s rounding up email printouts at the moment. As is the new Standard Operating Procedure for Grandstanding, a Congressman has demanded the NSA hand over the metadata on the missing Lerner emails.
Now, it appears that Lois Lerner’s computer crash was only part of a much larger series of well-timed computer crashes.
The Internal Revenue Service says it can’t produce e-mails from six more employees involved in the targeting of conservative groups, according to two Republicans investigating the scandal.
The IRS recently informed Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp and subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany that computer crashes resulted in additional lost e-mails, including from Nikole Flax, the chief of staff to former IRS commissioner Steven Miller, who was fired in the wake of the targeting scandal.
The question is still: conspiracy or colossal screwup?