IT professionals debunk IRS ‘disappeared’ email claim

By KTTH | June 23, 2014

Paul Ryan blasts IRS chief

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan berates IRS commissioner John Koskinen about the supposedly lost emails of Lois Lerner on June 20. Host David Boze remarked that Koskinen at the hearing had “all the emotional appearance of a snake.”

So, the Internal Revenue Service says that documents written by Lois Lerner – emails, memos, whatever – and shared with other IRS officials, potentially pertaining to the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups, have simply disappeared off of the agency’s computers?

In an era where your Facebook page can get you fired or where a stray comment on an Internet forum can get you arrested, you don’t need to be a computer geek to smell something fishy in what the IRS is saying.

But, for the sake of accuracy, host Ben Shapiro was able to speak to a couple of Internet technology professionals about the nuts and bolts of data storage – and those IT workers basically debunked everything the IRS told Congress about Lerner’s “disappeared” emails.

“There are laws about storing this kind of data for extended periods of time,” IT worker Terry told Shapiro. “There’s plenty of redundancy in servers, especially when you’re talking about government-based IT systems. They have to have disaster recovery in the event something happens. They’re giving us just that, a story.”


There are several technological pieces to the Lerner data saga. The IRS claims that Lerner emails that Congress requested were gone because her computer hard drive crashed in 2011. And then, the IRS “recycled” the hard drives.

But, a hard drive crash would definitely not affect her emails, because documents like emails are not stored on computer hard drives.

“There’s nothing stored on a hard drive, it’s on an exchange server, that’s how she can access those emails on a portable device,” McClean, an IT worker from Lake Stevens, told Shapiro.

A report out Monday underscored McClean’s claim. The IRS contracted with the company Sonasoft to store emails in 2009, which is one of the years Congress wanted emails. Sonasoft even bragged on Twitter that the IRS trusted the company to store its emails.

“I used to design disaster recovery systems, and it’s a requirement that these servers be stored in different locations around the country, so that the tornadoes in Joplin or the floods here don’t destroy data,” McClean continued. “This data exists in multiple locations in the country.”

Shapiro was floored that the IRS would, at worst, lie about the data. At best, the IRS is an incredible hypocrite, requiring ordinary Americans to keep up to seven years of tax documents, when it can’t even keep a few years’ worth of emails.

“I don’t think these IT professionals are wrong,” Shapiro said. “I’m getting sick of living in a country where the government is held to a different standard than we are. Astonishing.”

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