Ed Driscoll

The Missing 1.8 Gigabytes


For a fun summer change-up, the Obama administration and its minions do their usual Friday document dump to circumvent the news cycle in reverse: “The IRS has told Congress that it has lost some of former employee Lois G. Lerner’s emails from 2009 through 2011, including those she sent to other federal agencies, the House’s top tax-law writer said Friday,” the Washington Times reports:

The agency blamed a computer crash for the mishap.

Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said he was stunned that it took more than a year into the investigation for the IRS to inform Congress that it didn’t have those emails.

“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to congressional inquiries,” Mr. Camp said. “There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.”

As Glenn Reynolds suggests, “So this means the contents were devastating for the White House, I guess.” At Commentary, John Steele Gordon adds:

So it would seem that not only does the Obama administration exhibit the worst attributes of the Carter administration, it also exhibits the worst attributes of the Nixon administration. No one believed Nixon’s explanation for the infamous missing 18 1/2 minutes of oval office tapes. I doubt many will believe that this is an accident too.

Recovering the missing 18 1/12 minutes may have been have been difficult or impossible in 1972, but as numerous commenters at Hot Air observe, there should be duplicates of the emails on the servers containing the emails. Beyond that, hard drive recovery techniques are remarkably sophisticated:

How much damage can your data take before it’s gone forever? We wanted to find out what could be salvaged from a computer that had been through a natural disaster, so we simulated a really bad one. We decided upon an earthquake/flood doomsday scenario. First, we took two laptop drives, loaded them with test movie and music files, then beat the heck out of them until we heard the signature clicking of mechanical hard-drive failure. Then we submerged one of the drives in custom- made storm-surge floodwaters (salt water, construction debris, oil) and let it soak for four days.

We sent both hard drives to Kroll Ontrack Data Recovery, which sells data-rescue services to both corporate clients and consumers. Ontrack’s Jeff Pederson analyzed the drives in the company’s clean room and found that the read/write heads in our dry drive were bent from our abuse and that we had scratched the platters. Our flooded drive was wet, but the platters were undamaged. Pederson replaced the heads and performed a recovery.

To borrow a Nixon-era phrase, how badly does Congress want to pursue this latest modified limited hangout by the IRS?

Related:  Col. Ken Allard at Big Peace on “Baghdad as Saigon?: The Obama Nixon Nexus.” I don’t know if Allard wrote that headline, as its comparison is a shot at Nixon, who had effectively won the war with his devastating Linebacker II B-52 bombing campaign against Hanoi, before the post-Watergate Democrat Congress cut the funding for a defense of South Vietnam under Gerald Ford.