Hardly anyone accepts the IRS’ claim to have lost two years of Lois Lerner’s emails. Those most familiar with government record retention requirements, and the technology used, probably are the most skeptical.
The supposedly lost emails cover January 2009 to April 2011, the period when Lerner is suspected of targeting conservative groups with heightened and invasive scrutiny. Those emails also pertain to communications Lerner may have had with agencies other than the Internal Revenue Service. That’s key, because many suspect that the Obama White House knew about, and may have coordinated, the targeting. Democrats in Congress including Rep. Elijah Cummings are also under suspicion because they publicly called for the IRS to investigate conservative and Tea Party groups before the IRS did so. Email evidence linking Cummings to Lerner and a plan to have the FBI investigate True the Vote, the Texas-based election integrity group that was targeted by the IRS along with several other executive branch law enforcement agencies, surfaced in April 2014.
A former IRS IT specialist is casting serious doubt on the IRS’ claim to have lost the Lerner emails.
This person worked at the IRS facility in New Carrollton, Maryland.
He worked on the agency’s Prime Systems Integration Services contract, or “Prime,” a contract inked between the IRS and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) in 1998 to modernize the IRS’ digital record-keeping system. CSC is the primary contractor, but other well-known companies including IBM, BearingPoint, Northrup Grumman, Unisys and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) are secondary players on the same contract.
The former IRS IT contractor finds it difficult to believe that the IRS could really have lost two years’ worth of Lois Lerner’s emails.
First, he points to the United States Code for government record retention. That code, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 33, governs what a government record is and requires that agencies must notify the Archivist of any records that are destroyed and the reasons for destroying them. The code was put into place after Iran-Contra to keep government workers and contractors from deleting records.
Section § 3309 states that records “pertaining to claims and demands by or against the Government of the United States or to accounts in which the Government of the United States is concerned, either as debtor or creditor, may not be disposed of by the head of an agency under authorization granted under this chapter, until the claims, demands, and accounts have been settled and adjusted in the General Accounting Office, except upon the written approval of the Comptroller General of the United States.”
“These environments were required by federal regulations to be redundant and recoverable,” the former IRS IT worker says. “The recoverability requirements were put into place for exactly the reasons we see today.” Disposal of records outside the statutory standards requires permission in writing.
He says that the IRS uses Microsoft Outlook/Exchange systems, which are backed up using Symantec NetBackup.