June 29, 2014
By Clarice Feldman
If you paid close attention this week, you could see the sand shifting under Obama’s feet. From public opinion to the federal courts to the president’s former putative allies, it was not a good week to be Obama, and it’s likely to get worse for him. Walkabouts in D.C., travels to distant fundraisers, preposterous flailing on the international scene, and more shots with his cute kids are not going to change the situation as far as I can tell. Yet he lacks other options.1. Hard Drives are Crashing all over the Place
This week, the efforts to push the IRS scandal under the carpet seem to be unavailing. Increased numbers of IT experts say the crashed drive story is implausible.
"The notion that these emails just magically vanished makes no sense whatsoever. That is not how IT asset management at major businesses and government institutions works in this country.
When the hard drive in question was destroyed, the IRS should have called in an accredited IT Asset Destruction (ITAD) professional or firm to complete that process, which requires extensive documentation, official signoffs, approvals, and signatures of completion. If this was done, there would be records. If this was not done, this is the smoking gun that proves the drive or drives were destroyed improperly – or not at all."
Barbara Rembiesa, President, International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers (IAITAM)
In fact, once the story spread to include 6 other email accounts of IRS officers, all that remained was for the IRS to ask us to clap our hands if we believed in Tinkerbelle, too.
The wave of computer crashes apparently struck both Washington, D.C. -- where Lois Lerner oversaw the agency’s Exempt Organizations division -- and also Cincinnati, Ohio -- where agents processed tax-exempt applications.
A noted rocket scientist of my acquaintance on hearing that version responded: “It would be interesting to estimate the probability that that IRS is telling the truth about the PARTICULAR 6 computers crashing at random…. if they have 90000 employees… the probability is something like one out of a numbers with around 24 ‘0’s.”
In fact, no one seems to be buying the IRS tale. A Fox news Poll indicates 76% of Americans believe the IRS deliberately destroyed the emails evincing it had deliberately targeted Obama’s opponents in violation of the law.
Capping off the week, we learned that the EPA is now also claiming crashed drives destroyed a critical email trail.
The EPA is being accused of slow-walking several requests by the House committee to provide lawmakers with documents involving alleged employee misconduct on a number of thorny issues, including conflicts among the EPA, the Office of Inspector General and agency management as well as the EPA’s action related to the veto of the controversial Pebble Mine project in Alaska.
Lawmakers at the hearing wanted McCarthy to address lost emails from a hard-drive crash at the agency that wiped out some emails from former employee Philip North to his bosses at the EPA over the controversial Alaska mine project.
Complicating matters, North has gone off the proverbial grid, making it difficult for lawmakers to issue a subpoena for him to testify.
Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., asked McCarthy if she knew where North was.
“No sir, I don’t know that,” she responded.
Bentivolio pressed McCarthy about claims North’s hard drive crashed, making some of his emails unavailable.
McCarthy said the EPA has submitted all the documents it has been able to find and will “continue the search.”
“There are some gaps, but we have submitted significant amounts,” McCarthy said.
Emails from North, now retired, recently surfaced that seemed to show the Alaska-based biologist tried to get the Pebble Mine project killed as far back as 2008.
Those emails -- and memos indicating government officials worked early on with tribal leaders and environmental groups to oppose the venture -- raised questions about the agency's claims that when it ultimately vetoed the gold-and-copper mine project, it did so based on scientific evidence.
Emails from North’s account show that he “appeared to have played a key role in the EPA’s decision to pursue a veto,” Caitlin Carroll, a spokeswoman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told FoxNews.com.
When he was still reachable, North was asked multiple times to come in and talk to lawmakers about the project. He offered up a list of complications that prevented him from meeting with the government, including a pre-planned, one-year boat ride around the world with his school-aged children.
North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows asked McCarthy whether North had backed up his emails and suggested there might be a violation of federal record-keeping rules.
Internet wit Iowahawk nailed it as usual: “Apparently, the leading cause of hard drive failures is subpoenas.”
By the end of the week, Clinton spinmeister Lanny Davis was arguing for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to investigate the IRS.
As a matter of fact, there no longer is a statute allowing the appointment of an independent counsel, and with the Senate in Democrat hands I wouldn’t count on a new statute authorizing one to be passed. A special prosecutor could be appointed by the Attorney General but given his record of unparalleled lawlessness, that hardly seems a solution to be wished for.
On the other hand, there may be some legal redress on the horizon.continued