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IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive 682

Posted by timothy
from the but-please-keep-your-tax-records-forever dept.
phrackthat (2602661) writes The Senate Finance Committee has been informed that the IRS recycled the hard drive of Lois Lerner, which will deprive investigators of the ability to forensically retrieve emails which were supposedly deleted or lost in a "crash." This news comes after the IRS revealed that it had lost the emails of Lois Lerner and six other employees who were being investigated regarding the targeting of conservative groups and donors.
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IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

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  • Re:right-wing spin (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @09:12AM (#47271063)

    BULLSHIT!!!!

    A bushel of Pinocchios for IRS’s Lois Lerner [washingtonpost.com]

    In the days since the Internal Revenue Service first disclosed that it had targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, new information has emerged from both the Treasury inspector general’s report and congressional testimony Friday that calls into question key statements made by Lois G. Lerner, the IRS’s director of the exempt organizations division. ...

    The Pinocchio Test

    In some ways, this is just scratching the surface of Lerner’s misstatements and weasely wording when the revelations about the IRS’s activities first came to light on May 10. But, taken together, it’s certainly enough to earn her four Pinocchios.

    FWIW, "four Pinoocchios" is as bad as it get when it comes to lying.

    And that was over a year ago, before 12 months of foot-dragging culminating with seven cases of "the dog ate my hard drive."

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @09:17AM (#47271113)

    Unfortunately there are no details of this recycled drive on Fox News, that's not surprising that they spin it like the IRS suddenly destroyed a HD. Politico [politico.com] has much more detail.

    As part of the investigation, the GOP has asked for all media that Lerner may had used like old hard drives, thumb drives, etc. This is fairly normal. The hard drive in question was in Lerner's computer until summer 2011. It had crashed and IT staff replaced it. The GOP wanted the hard drive so that tech experts could try to recover the data. But IT has long recycled that drive as it was no longer functioning. Personally I don't know of many IT staff that keep broken hard drives for 3 years.

  • Re:Fox News? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @09:22AM (#47271167)

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/irs-lost-lois-lerners-emails-in-tea-party-probe/

    It is a shame to NBC and ABC when even CBS is doing their job to some degree.

  • by Oligonicella (659917) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @09:28AM (#47271219)
    Your post is a blatant lie. "The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was "inappropriate" targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status." - Associated Press
  • Re:Fox News? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Thursday June 19, 2014 @09:38AM (#47271317)

    Why is no one in these meetings asking the fecking obvious question - why were her emails only stored on the one hard disk? What happened to the server side store? The archives? The on site backups? The off site backups?

  • Re:Fox News? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Oligonicella (659917) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @09:39AM (#47271333)
    Or Leahy, Democrat from Vermont (since Hatch is a Repub):
    "You can't erase e-mails, not today, They've gone through too many servers. They can't say they've been lost. That's like saying, 'The dog ate my homework.' They're there, They know they're there, and we'll subpoena them, if necessary, and we'll have them."
  • by Oligonicella (659917) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @09:43AM (#47271367)
    Hatch (R) and Leahy (D) both disagree with you and they're in a better position to judge than you are.
  • Re: left-wing spin (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @09:43AM (#47271375)

    http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/14/read-the-inspector-general-report-on-the-irs-scandal/

    The IRS inspector General disagrees with you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:13AM (#47271711)

    I work for local government (why I'm posting as an AC) in a state with strong Sunshine Laws. ALL of our incoming and outgoing emails are archived as they are part of the public record! Even if I deleted all of my emails, they can still be searched and produced if requested. Why isn't this the case at the Federal level????

  • Re:Fox News? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:14AM (#47271731)

    They used to have a secret forum [wikipedia.org] but it was exposed. (Not that they reported on it!)

  • Re:Fox News? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mrjimorg (557309) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:21AM (#47271835) Homepage
    It wasn't just her emails and hard drive, but also "6 other employees" who happen to have been corresponding with her. In fact, the only people at the IRS that is having hard drive crashes are the people who's email would provide evidence in this case. They seem to have pretty consistent hard drive issues among those with damning evidence, but no issues outside of those people.
    Additionally, when her drive crashed, IT would have restored those emails from backup at that point, so even a loss of the backup isn't justification.
  • by amosh (109566) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:23AM (#47271881)

    You... you know the actual story, right? Not just the fox news version?

    This isn't an issue of "politicization". The IRS was finally DOING ITS JOB and reviewing the applications of groups applying for tax-exempt status. They thought it would save time to, rather than investigate, just assume that groups with certain key words in their name - among them "tea party" and "occupy" - were engaged in political activity which should deny them that status. Amazing how Fox never reports on any groups OTHER than their chosen ones having had problems due to this, isn't it? Well, it's much easier to change the facts to match your preconceived notions than to change your notions to match the facts. And yelling about impeaching Obama is just so durned much fun!

    In any case, the whole issue is about two things - 1. It's bad to profile people, anyone, anywhere, and 2. There is a strong group in Washington that doesn't want the IRS to be doing ANY kind of job, let alone stopping people from improperly receiving tax breaks for influencing elections. The ability to pretend it's some type of political cover-up is just gravy.

  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:23AM (#47271885) Homepage Journal

    It truly baffles me to no end when people use the wrongs of the past to somehow justify the wrongs of today.

    So I guess we just say F' it and let our elected officials get away with whatever they want. Justice was overrated anyways.

    No need to be baffled. You are seeing his statement backward. He is not saying this case is excusable because it happened before, he is asking why this case is being treated with such fervor while the previous one wasn't. After all, this thread is metanews about the reaction to the scandal, not any reflection on the actual happenings at the IRS/Treasury.

  • Re: left-wing spin (Score:4, Informative)

    by ScentCone (795499) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:24AM (#47271893)

    It also came out before they realized they targeted progressive groups just as often or more often.

    Why are you lying? Hundreds of conservative groups had their applications deliberately delayed (past the election cycle) while progressive groups were pushed right through. Progressive groups were not subjected to illegal inquiries about the books their members read, what they think about, whether or how they pray, and more. The reason the IRS came out (when it was clear this was going to become public) and apologized for mistreating hundreds of conservative groups was because that's what happened. You're trying to wish it away, just like the administration.

    If the opposite had happened (a conservative administration was running the IRS, and it was hundreds of progressive groups' applications tied up for years because of the names of the groups, and group organizers were told to respond with lists of all members, what books those members read, etc), you'd be shrieking at the top of your lungs, and you know it.

  • by operagost (62405) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:25AM (#47271905) Homepage Journal
    You're presuming the IT guy even had any idea that something untoward was going on. That's unlikely. Many of us here are admins or have been on the past. When disabling accounts following a termination, have you always known why that person was terminated? I often didn't know when it was an involuntary dismissal.
  • by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:30AM (#47271975)

    ...It gets worse. They are now claiming "my dog ate my homework" for precisely, and only, every employee named in this investigation. It would be fitting to apply the IRS' own special rule here, which is that if you can't prove your innocence, you're guilty. Long sentences for each of the accused, unless those hard drives can be made to miraculously reappear.

  • Re:Fox News? (Score:2, Informative)

    by rsmoody (791160) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:50AM (#47272237) Homepage Journal
    Regardless, the point remains. Those of us at the end of the IRS gun barrel (and yes, if you do not pay your taxes, sooner or later, someone armed with a gun will come to visit you) must keep our records for multiple years. Loosing said records is not an excuse and will find you guilty of all charges levied against you and you will be fined and/or thrown in jail. Why is this not applied to the members of the entity that will surely, swiftly and thoroughly enforce their retention laws? There is no excuse for these "lost" emails, they are on a server somewhere or backed up on tape somewhere. Do I have proof? No. But seriously, do you really believe these emails are not recoverable?
  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @11:38AM (#47272809) Journal
    No illegal actions, no scandal. Then I guess there was no reason for the IRS Commissioner to apologize for the targeting of Tea Party groups [nbcnews.com]. Good to know! He's not just incompetent about data retention rules, but about the actions and culpability (or lack thereof) of his own organization! Great to know that he represents the quality of people the President appoints...
  • Re:Fox News? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dishevel (1105119) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @12:14PM (#47273217)
    Fuck the GOP. Who the hell are they? They were not being targeted. The tea party is the enemy of the GOP and the Dems. They have a bit more in common with the conservatives than the liberals but they consider both sides to be wrong. The IRS was targeting the Tea Party. A group of people that wants the IRS to have much less power. If you think that the IRS does not see the Tea Party as an enemy with or without the help of any administration, current, past or future then you are blind.

    The Tea Party is on one side. The Libs, Conservatives, IRS, EPA, Dept of Ed, Dept of Energy, BLM, ICE, Fusion Centers, NSA, and quite a few more are on the other side.

  • Re:Fox News? (Score:4, Informative)

    by budgenator (254554) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @12:47PM (#47273609) Journal

    Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) [irs.gov]
    1.10.3.2.3 (07-08-2011)
    Emails as Possible Federal Records [irs.gov]
    All federal employees and federal contractors are required by law to preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency. Records must be properly stored and preserved, available for retrieval and subject to appropriate approved disposition schedules.
    The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media. Emails are records when they are:
    Created or received in the transaction of agency business
    Appropriate for preservation as evidence of the government’s function and activities, or
    Valuable because of the information they contain

    If you create or receive email messages during the course of your daily work, you are responsible for ensuring that you manage them properly. The Treasury Department’s current email policy requires emails and attachments that meet the definition of a federal record be added to the organization’s files by printing them (including the essential transmission data) and filing them with related paper records. If transmission and receipt data are not printed by the email system, annotate the paper copy. More information on IRS records management requirements is available at http://erc.web.irs.gov/Display... [irs.gov] or see the Records Management Handbook, IRM 1.15.1 http://publish.no.irs.gov/IRM/... [irs.gov]).
    An email determined to be a federal record may eventually be considered as having historical value by the National Archivist prior to disposal. Therefore, ensure that all your communications are professional in tone.
    Please note that maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the IRS email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record. Therefore, print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.

    1.10.3.2.4 (08-30-2012)
    Emails are Subject to FOIA
    The public is aware of the role emails play in agency internal operations and emails are included in a growing number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Emails that are responsive to a FOIA request must be released unless the information contained in the email falls into one of nine very specific categories of exemptions. (See IRM 11.3.13 for more on FOIA processing). There is no category of exemption to protect the author or the Service from embarrassment.
    Emails provided in response to a FOIA must include the addressee, date and time. The address list, date and time are considered part of the record for both FOIA and record management purposes.
    Do not delete a message or attachment that is the subject of a congressional, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), or discovery request or that is needed for litigation.

    Also

    1.10.3.3.1 (07-08-2011)
    Don’t Slow Down the System
    To avoid slowing down transmission of information:
    Use Arial or another simple font on a plain background.
    Do not use animation, fancy background, "wallpapers," bor

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @02:58PM (#47275003)
    Idiot assholes like you are the reason nobody apologizes anymore in the USA. An apology isn't a confession. He apologized for "bad service" not for "targeting conservatives" as he still holds that didn't happen.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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