The PJ Tatler

IRS IT: Lerner's Hard Drive Was Merely 'Scratched,' Data Was Recoverable

The House Ways and Means Committee’s IRS targeting scandal investigators have tracked down some IRS information technology specialists who contradict the agency’s official line regarding the spoiled hard drive of Lois Lerner.

According to the IRS, Lerner’s hard drive “crashed” and the data on it was not recovered. That data, according to the IRS, included all of Lerner’s emails to and from people outside the IRS itself. Those so-called lost emails could shed light on who Lerner was communicating with outside the IRS and who outside the agency may have been aware of the targeting of conservative groups, and what the purpose of the targeting was.

But the IRS says that those emails are “lost,” and Lerner’s “crashed” hard drive was later “recycled,” meaning it was destroyed entirely.

But the IRS IT specialists tracked down by Ways and Means tell a different story.

According to them, Lerner’s hard drive was merely “scratched,” and most of the data on it was recoverable. The IT specialists tell the Committee’s investigators that they recommended the IRS seek outside assistance to recover the data on Lerner’s drive. Forensic experts consulted by the Committee agree that most of the data would have been recoverable.

The IRS apparently never followed that advice to seek outside experts for help with the drive.

But the IRS’ record-keeping on Lerner’s hard drive may not be complete or accurate itself. Paperwork discovered by the committee says that at one point, Lerner’s computer was described as “recovered.” The IRS has also failed to provide a paper trail for the destruction of the hard drive. To date, IRS officials have testified that it was destroyed. But the agency systematically tracks the disposition of hard drives. There ought to be paperwork tracking Lerner’s hard drive to its demise, but there is no such paperwork.