Author Topic: IRS Commissioner: We’re Not Investigating The Missing Emails Right Now  (Read 426 times)

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IRS Commissioner: We’re Not Investigating The Missing Emails Right Now
Posted By Patrick Howley On 11:56 AM 07/23/2014 In | No Comments

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen revealed Wednesday that he is not speaking to any potential witnesses in the missing-emails case while his agency’s inspector general conducts his own investigation.

Koskinen claimed that IRS inspector general J. Russell George told him “not to do any further investigations or interviews” with employees pertaining to hard drive crashes, and that’s why he did not voluntarily provide a key witness to congressional investigators. But Koskinen later admitted that the inspector general never told him not to cooperate with Congress.

The IRS has been nominally conducting its own internal investigation into the IRS conservative targeting scandal since 2013, but that now appears to be over.

Koskinen’s statement stunned Republican lawmakers at a morning House Oversight and Government Reform investigations subcommittee hearing chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan, who stated, “It has taken subpoenas to get people to talk.” Jordan called Koskinen’s statement “not accurate,” citing IRS prep sessions with employees who get interviewed by Congress to prove that the IRS is still talking to potential witnesses.

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy grilled Koskinen on his remarks, asking him that if sexual harassment or racial discrimination occurred “you would wait until the IG investigated” before asking around about it.

“There is nothing about an ongoing IG investigation that would prevent you from doing your job,” Gowdy said. “There is nothing talismanic about an IG investigation…You could do a dual investigation.”

Koskinen claimed ignorance on several different fronts.

“I assume there’s a lot of ways that hard drives can get scratched,” Koskinen said, referring to Lois Lerner’s “scratched” hard drive, which he claimed he found out about this morning. Koskinen also said that he did not find out about Lerner’s computer crash in mid-February, when his underlings found out, but only learned about it months later.

“I haven’t talked to anybody about this. I haven’t asked anybody about it,” Koskinen said, referring to email backup tapes that might still exist, but which the IRS did not check after the computers of Lois Lerner and up to 20 other IRS employees central to the investigation allegedly crashed. “Nobody has any information about what was on those tapes or whether they were relevant…We have stopped asking people about it.”

Koskinen also said that he is “not aware” of any Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into his slowness in handing over Lerner’s emails.  DOJ recently pledged to look into Koskinen’s conduct.

Koskinen spoke about IRS understaffing, budgetary constraints, and wide-ranging IT problems, claiming that “2,000 hard drives have crashed” in his agency in the first six months of 2014. Koskinen called his agency’s email recovery system “arcane” and “archaic.” The commissioner, who previously led Bill Clinton’s President’s Council on Y2K Transition, said that the IRS needs to find a way “to get out of the late 20th century and into at least the first part of the 21st century.”

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Offline GourmetDan

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They need to get O.J. Simpson on the team.  He'll find those missing emails as soon as he finds Nicole's killer(s)...

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." - Ecclesiastes 10:2

"The sole purpose of the Republican Party is to serve as an ineffective alternative to the Democrat Party." - GourmetDan

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Koskinen is competing for the "Baghdad Bob" award, for knowing nothing.
"God must love the common man, he made so many of them.”

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Offline Oceander

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dig, dig, dig, ever deeper.  right now I think they're just trying to run the clock out.

Offline Bigun

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IRS has ‘no excuses’ for latest twist in email saga, says IT expert

The IRS has “no excuses” for the latest twist in the saga of its missing emails, says an expert in electronic discovery.

“Whether it’s incompetence or deliberate obstruction, the IRS has no excuses for having handled this so poorly,” said Bruce Webster, partner at Provo, Utah-based IT consulting and expert witness firm Ironwood Experts.

House investigators said Tuesday that a hard drive belonging to Lois Lerner, the former agency official at the center of the department’s targeting scandal, was just “scratched,” not irreparably damaged. The IRS had described the hard drive’s data as “unrecoverable.”

The hard drive, which was recycled, contained roughly two years of missing emails seen as relevant to the investigation into the scandal.

Data, however, can be easily retrieved from scratched drives, according to Webster. “This happens all the time,” he told “There are little storefront companies in just about every major city that can do this and there are forensic companies that can restore files and even do higher end recovery of data.”

Webster explained that, even when a drive’s file directory is damaged or destroyed, information still can be recovered from the magnetic disk where data is stored, known as a drive platter.

Hard drives can become scratched when a read-write head that is meant to operate just above the platter touches down on the magnetic disk. Webster, who has served as a consulting and IT expert in more than 80 civil lawsuits, told that this can be caused by a physical jolt, or, in some case, a mechanical failure.

Last month the IRS explained that Lerner’s computer crashed in mid-2011, with the data stored on the computer’s hard drive deemed “unrecoverable.”

Officials sought to piece together as many of Lerner’s emails as possible, which included searching for emails across the organization where she appeared either as author or recipient. As a result, the IRS was able to identify approximately 24,000 Lerner-related emails between January 1, 2009, and April 2011.

In a court filing on July 18, the agency again stated that the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable.

“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, in a statement released on Tuesday.  “The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded.  To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrongdoing at the IRS.”

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