After Monday’s bombshell about the federal government’s system-wide email back-up system broke, there was yet another bombshell.
The IRS “recycled” — destroyed — Lois Lerner’s hard drive in June 2011, just 10 days after Rep. Dave Camp had sent a letter to the IRS inquiring about the targeting of conservative groups that Lerner knew about and may have orchestrated.
The IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry device, too. Even though there is no suggestion that it ever “crashed,” as the agency claims about her hard drive.
Even worse, the IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry after it knew of the crash, and while the congressional investigation was underway.
The Blackberry would have contained all of Lerner’s emails.
The New York Observer picks up the story:
In two elusive and nebulous sworn declarations, we can glean that Ms. Lerner had two Blackberries. One was issued to her on November 12, 2009. According to a sworn declaration, this is the Blackberry that contained all the emails (both sent and received) that would have been in her “Outlook” and drafts that never were sent from her Blackberry during the relevant time.
With incredible disregard for the law and the Congressional inquiry, the IRS admits that this Blackberry “was removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.” This is a year after her hard drive “crash” and months after the Congressional inquiry began.
The IRS did not even attempt to retrieve that data. It cavalierly recites: “There is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any Blackberry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this investigation,” according to Stephen Manning, Deputy Chief Information Officer for Strategy & Modernization.
Lerner was issued another Blackberry for Valentine’s Day 2012—also after she came under fire for her targeting of conservative groups.
The IRS was engaged in criminal destruction of evidence. It is engaged in a game of running out the clock and extending the investigation as long as possible now. Lerner’s current Blackberry is apparently in the possession of the Inspector General of the Treasury. Even that Blackberry might have access to Lerner’s old emails. If she used “ghost” accounts, as the head of the EPA did, the Blackberry may show evidence of that too.
We’re learning all of this not because of any congressional investigation, by the way, but because Judicial Watch has gone to court and gotten a judge, Emmet Sullivan, who is not taking the Obama administration’s spin at face value.