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by
Bryan Preston

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June 20, 2014 - 10:22 am

I’ll just refer you over to Ed’s post at Hot Air.

In his opening statement to the House Oversight Committee today, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said that email isn’t really an official record, and the IRS system isn’t built to preserve it anyway.

In discussing document retention at the IRS, it is important to point out that our email system is not being used as an electronic record keeping system. Furthermore, it should be remembered that not all emails on IRS servers or backup tapes qualify as an “official record,” which is defined (in 44 U.S.C. 3301) as any documentary material made or received by an agency under federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and appropriate for preservation. Accordingly, our agency’s email system is not designed to preserve email. Rather, email that qualifies as “records” are printed and retained in compliance with relevant records control schedules. Individual employees are responsible for ensuring that any email in their possession that qualifies as a “record” is retained in accordance with the requirements in the Internal Revenue Manual and Document 12990 (Record Control Schedules).

That’s a strange thing for the guy who runs the IRS to say. The IRS manual explicitly says that email is an official record and should be preserved.

The IRS’s own manual made it clear that the storage of email was important enough to have permanent backups of their data. “IRS offices will not store the official recordkeeping copy of email messages that are federal records ONLY on the electronic mail system,” and even went so far as to require hard copies “for record-keeping purposes.”

“Permanent” is a key word there. The IRS’ current claim is that it recycles its backup tapes every six months. That’s obviously not permanent. The IRS manual also suggests that there should be printed copies of those “lost” emails. Where are they?

Koskinen can’t claim that he misspoke about this. The quote excerpted above is from his written opening statement.

But he does have at least one out. He hasn’t been at the IRS very long and wasn’t there when the emails got “lost” and the hard drives got trashed. He can say that the IRS was a shambles when he got there, it wasn’t operating by the book, but he’s fixing all that. As for the “lost” emails, well, that’s the last guy’s fault.

Update: The former IRS IT contractor we wrote about the other day comments on Koskinen’s answer:

[Koskinen] said the email system is not being used as a record keeping system. This is true.  There are other systems which record keep from the email system.  This is what backups and other archive systems are designed for.

Typical weasel response.

The former IRS IT contractor adds that the IRS has no reason to “cry” about lacking funding to modernize its systems.

That’t true. The IRS has just completed a 15-year, multi-billion dollar contract with Computer Sciences Corporation to upgrade its computer infrastructure. The agency spends about $1.8 billion per year on its computer systems.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
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No longer a question of how they were destroyed, but for what reason. Issue subpoenas to the lowest personnel and work up, based on their testimony.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sure he lied....they ALL LIE because they know they can. This is really approaching the theater of the absurd; the GOP looks like the weakest, cowed, insecure bunch of frat boys that they truly are. So what, he lied? Big damn deal - like you expected him to tell the truth? Here's a news flash Old Yellowstain: America is sick of the corruption, but we are also sick of the crooks getting away with their crimes because YOU WILL NOT STAND UP FOR AMERICA AND PROSECUTE ANYONE FOR ANYTHING. Most of you are both gutless and worthless, but the FEW who actually do care are ATTACKED by the GOP establishment. The whole thing just sickens me because there is nothing I can do but run my mouth when what I really want to do is punch them in the mouth and throw them in jail for a long, long, long time.

Remember BENGHAZI!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a federal employee. If government e-mails are not official records, or at least required to be backed up and subject to scrutiny, then I'm a transgender unicorn from the planet Xenu.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Has anyone asked the IRS how many other hard drives have failed in say the last six years?

How many of you have ever had a hard drive fail on you accidently?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
They lost all the emails of every single person who committed treason by targeting American citizens because of their political beliefs and associations.

By accident.

And there was nothing on them anyway.

Which is why the IRS General Counsel was meeting in secret with Obama right before the targeting for abuse took place.

And Shulman thereafter met with Obama in secret repeatedly, while the abuse was ongoing.

Because there's not a smidgen of corruption here. Mob tactics.

Time to go to the mattresses.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
This guy needs to share a cell with Lois Lerner and the rest of the criminal flacks at the IRS.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Deflect, delay, deny & demonize........Obama will pardon.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course IRS e-mails are records. I'm betting more than one IRS employee has been canned for inappropriate e-mails sent on the agency's system.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
What, like forwarding a published article by a Conservative author? Those guys sit around and watch porn on government computers with impunity.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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