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IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the conspiracy-theory-activate dept.

Communications 465

phrackthat writes with an update to Friday's news that the IRS cannot locate two years worth of email from Lois Lerner, a central figure in the controversy surrounding the IRS's apparent targeting of Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny. Now, the IRS says there are another six workers for whom the agency cannot locate emails. As with Lerner, they attribute the unrecoverable emails to computer crashes. Among them was Nikole Flax, who was chief of staff to Lerner’s boss, then-deputy commissioner Steven Miller. Miller later became acting IRS commissioner, but was forced to resign last year after the agency acknowledged that agents had improperly scrutinized tea party and other conservative groups when they applied for tax-exempt status. Documents have shown some liberal groups were also flagged. ... Lerner’s computer crashed in the summer of 2011, depriving investigators of many of her prior emails. Flax’s computer crashed in December 2011, Camp and Boustany said. The IRS said Friday that technicians went to great lengths trying to recover data from Lerner’s computer in 2011. In emails provided by the IRS, technicians said they sent the computer to a forensic lab run by the agency’s criminal investigations unit. But to no avail.

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Massive conspiracy (4, Interesting)

amightywind (691887) | about 4 months ago | (#47259229)

This is a massive conspiracy. The IRS is hopelessly corrupt. We need a special prosecutor and get people under oath. There needs to be a lot of jail time handed out, starting with the vile Lois Lerner.

Re:Massive conspiracy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259247)

If it's not corrupt, then at least massively inept.

Re:Massive conspiracy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259305)

...and just see what happens when YOU tell the IRS you've "lost" your financial records. Better get that ass high up in the air so you can fully enjoy the insertion of the jumbo-sized pineapple decked out in razor blades.

But the IRS will get completely away with this. It's all theater at that level.

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | about 4 months ago | (#47259729)

Laws are an inconvenience for the Plebeians, not the IRS.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47259749)

...and just see what happens when YOU tell the IRS you've "lost" your financial records.

It's not a problem. For extra fees, the IRS will figure your tax, as long as you identify all sources of income.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261097)

Can we do the same for their lost e-mails?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about 4 months ago | (#47262571)

I've had the IRS send me money out of the blue because they calculated that I over payed them one year.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

GodInHell (258915) | about 4 months ago | (#47263799)

Same - on a year I filed a tax return. They gave me several credits I did not claim after an audit, paid me back quite a big chunk of cash.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47273447)

Hey dumbass, didn't you listen when you were told to be quiet about your political pay back?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | about 4 months ago | (#47260185)

You must be a developer.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47268897)

Or an idiot

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Funny)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 months ago | (#47259587)

I would say massively smart. A wider selection of the US public now understand how files, projects and details can be consistently hidden from oversight, FIOA, courts, the press and whistleblowers for generations.
With small sets of compartmentalized computers and networks, nothing can be found with any form of system wide 'networked' search.
This keeps projects safe from all US courts, the press with friends on the inside, political parties with friends on the inside, cults, dual citizens helping spies via US front companies or any other group been observed.
A computer at a desk used by one person without the usual network backups can keep an ongoing project a bit more secure from a cleared network wide search.
Past events showed too many trusted/political active courts/bad people can do cleared network wide searches without ever been noticed at the time.
The compartmentalized system as set up is working well, even when detected nothing much is found that seems readable.
Imagine what every other branch of the mil, contractors and gov can work on in the same way without any outside/gov/court issues :)

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260927)

You only need physical access to the premises to be able to get access to lot of data located on the computers themselves. Old computers will have to be destroyed carefully, etc. There are huge issues with traceability and great potential for loss of important data. Certain types of records usually has to be kept for an specified amount of time, and companies who do not comply can be fined.

One important aspect of information security is traceability. The ability to find out who accessed what from where and when. The ability to control who can access what, and from where. And Military intelligence? That's a branch that relies on sharing information. Decentralized storage of classified content sounds like the most stupid idea I've heard. Unless ofc you want to accidentally "lose" that information...

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Informative)

pnutjam (523990) | about 4 months ago | (#47262311)

The blame for this falls squarely on Exchange. It's limit on mailbox sizes forced people to archive to local pst files. This is something that has only been addressed at many organizations over the couple years. They've been planning and testing for about 5 years, but I don't find it difficult to believe that emails could be lost. Decentralized storage of old emails used to be the norm.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about 4 months ago | (#47263063)

Yes, entirely Exchange's fault. No one at the IRS has ever heard of backups.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

xfade551 (2627499) | about 4 months ago | (#47263211)

So, if it was like the scenario at my workplace, at that same time period we were stuck with an obscenely low (50MB) MS Exchange inbox limit (since bumped to a "whopping" 100MB), which forces you to sort everything to local PST files (which default to encrypted-format), then had lowest-bidder full disk encryption on top of that (quite possibly GuardianEdge). The version of GuardianEdge in use at the time had a nasty tendency to crash harddrives... of my office of 28 persons, all 28 had an unrecoverable harddrive crash during that same time period. To compound things, GuardianEdge would also encrypt external USB drives, but the encryption key was stored on the internal drive. Personnal network partitions were also too small at the time to back anything up to the network.

But, in spite of all this, it's still way too "convenient" that these emails were lost.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47263381)

Don't know that it's the fault of the application (in this case, Exchange). It falls to the organization to provide and manage storage for this type of data. Also, I would expect a government organization to archive all email data specifically for freedom of information type requests and legal evidentiary purposes for a minimum of 5 years, much less have the data on offsite tape backups.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47264469)

This is a feature, not a bug, as far as the IRS is concerned.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47265363)

offline backups, which are absolutely required for retention laws in corporations, would have fixed this.

No, the blame goes to the perps, lerner and her corrupt band of misfits. They bypassed or ignored retention laws and hid this, and then deleted and scrubbed everything. They are criminals and need to be prosecuted fully.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about 4 months ago | (#47265505)

I think Hanlon's razor applies here:
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

but continue your witch-hunting.
Seriously, if this happened at a company it would be bad, but slap on the wrist, wink, and a small fine sort of bad. If it happened to you, you might end up in jail on a contempt of court charge for 14 years.
Yet another reason corporations aren't people and shouldn't have rights.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47267585)

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Ok, what makes you think this can be adequately explained by stupidity?

Yet another reason corporations aren't people and shouldn't have rights.

Only if the IRS falls under those rules too.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

jwhitener (198343) | about 4 months ago | (#47267091)

The veterans administration officials stated in a congressional hearing that their main information systems are 30 years old...

It would not surprise me in the slightest to learn that the IRS email systems are 20 years old.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47367781)

I believe with the centralization of some exchange servers in the .gov and .mil domains this sort of thing is almost guaranteed. Of course I've had emails strangely disappear from my inbox in certain corporate environments.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

mpeaton (3728805) | about 4 months ago | (#47367875)

I believe with the centralization of some exchange servers in the .gov and .mil domains this sort of thing is almost guaranteed. Of course I've had emails strangely disappear from my inbox in certain corporate environments.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

blagooly (897225) | about 4 months ago | (#47263359)

Not smart. But is it arrogant and overconfident or terrified and desperate? Obvious lie, obvious cover-up. MSNBC is mocking them. I believe re-election bids are on the line over this one. I already suspect business as usual types are going to be surprised, ousted across the board. Folks are tired of the name calling, finger pointing, lack of accountability and cronyism, on both sides. Themes will be honesty, integrity, accountability and taking care of the folks at home. Cantor's loss is an indication of this mood. Shut up and fix it, it is broken. Get it done.

Re:Massive conspiracy = Fire the Blokes (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 4 months ago | (#47260137)

So then fire the agency’s criminal investigations unit.

Re:Massive conspiracy = Fire the Blokes (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#47261821)

From Article II of the Nixon Articles of Impeachment:

1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates
and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal
Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional
rights of citizens, confidential information contained in
income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law,
and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of
citizens, income tax audits or other income tax
investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a
discriminatory manner.

And a few bullet points later, using the machinery of government to corrupt investigations.

I knew this whole thing stunk when she plead the 5th -- either she had crimes to hide, or she was innocent and deciding "not to participate in their political game", said use of the 5th thus being a crime itself.

Re: Massive conspiracy = Fire the Blokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47284351)

And their CIO

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260201)

Corrupt or inept, either way they should never collect a government paycheck again, ever. Nor a pension check.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47264167)

Corrupt or inept, either way they should never collect a government paycheck again, ever. Nor a pension check.

Conservatives in 2009: "Cut the bloated government, cut cut cut and starve the beast!"

Conservatives in 2014: "Why didn't they buy a better archiving system! FIRE the incompetent commies!"

The "H" word comes to mind.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47265137)

Add some fact to your fiction: democrats controlled the house, senate and the presidency in 2009. Conservatives didn't do jack.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47274223)

The Sequester was mostly a result of the GOP's pressure of not approving debt ceiling increases (which are mostly related to loss of revenue due to the recession, not additional spending.) And I was representing opinions there, not activities.

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 months ago | (#47260849)

Hereâ(TM)s how the IRS lost emails from key witness Lois Lerner
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/06/16/heres-how-the-irs-lost-emails-from-key-witness-lois-lerner/ [washingtonpost.com]

It kept a backup of the records for six months on digital tape, according to a letter sent from the IRS to Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). After six months, the IRS would reuse those tapes for newer backups. So when Congressional committees began requesting emails from the agency, its records only went back to late 2012.

The IRS also had two other policies that complicated things. The first was a limit on how big its employees' email inboxes could be. At the IRS, employees could keep 500 megabytes of data on the email server. If the mailbox got too big, email would need to be deleted or moved to a local folder on the user's computer.

I don't think that qualifies as "massively inept," only as garden variety ineptness.

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | about 4 months ago | (#47261219)

I don't think that qualifies as "lost", either, only "deliberately erased."

From there, it's simple to see that either six months is as much as was legally required (in which case they followed the law) or it is not (in which case they broke the law).

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

steve_ellis (586756) | about 4 months ago | (#47275771)

it's simple to see that either six months is as much as was legally required (in which case they followed the law) or it is not (in which case they broke the law).

Dodd-Frank and HIPAA both specify at least 5 years (I think HIPAA is 6). Of course, there is no reason to believe that the government would hold itself to anything remotely like the standards that they not only expect, but demand (under penalty of imprisonment) from everyone else.

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261369)

It would not comply with corporate document preservation laws currently required of public companies. Once again, the government is not bound by the laws it creates. If it's good for the Goose, it SHOULD be good for the gander. One set of laws for the peons, a completely different set of rules for the rulers.

Time for a change passed a century ago.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

rhazz (2853871) | about 4 months ago | (#47262093)

Is every single piece of information automatically document that must be kept? If I choose to call someone in the next building instead of emailing them, am I responsible for transcribing the phone call to a text file to ensure the information exchange is preserved for X years?

Deleting emails once an issue is known is certainly dubious behaviour, but I'm sure 95% of internal mail is just people communicating about day-to-day work. In my office if an email has some kind of significance it must be transferred to our document repository, but that is mainly for things that act as a signature (e.g. approvals).

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

daemonhunter (968210) | about 4 months ago | (#47263039)

If I choose to call someone in the next building instead of emailing them, am I responsible for transcribing the phone call to a text file to ensure the information exchange is preserved for X years? .

Not necessary. The NSA handles all that for you.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47264231)

It depends on the data retention laws of whatever jurisdiction.

In florida where I work government employees need to keep non-transient emails (things not like a time sensitive memo) for three years. Messages that become useless after a particular time (eg such and such is due next week) can be deleted after that time.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

ilparatzo (3627897) | about 4 months ago | (#47263185)

Imagine if this was a matter of corruption at a company like Microsoft, and the government got wind of the deleted emails. Politicians would be calling for people to be fired, for new laws and regulations to be drummed up, it would be a veritable hell storm of activity.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#47263449)

If i remember right, this is what got Martha Stewart jail time back in the 90s- early 2000s. She deleted an email about an investment and the investment turned out to be legal.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

jrminter (1123885) | about 4 months ago | (#47261469)

Depends upon whether six months of backup meets the requirements of the records retention statute. If not, at a minimum all management who signed off on the policy should be fired. I could also see a statute setting different retention periods for different levels of employees. I could see a shorter period for lower level employees, but senior employees such as Lerner should have records that cover a much longer period, such as the statute of limitation for the consequences of criminal action in their position.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about 4 months ago | (#47262337)

Six months is pretty bad. At the very least they should have a rotating set of annual backups going back several years. That's best practices. Year/month/week. It doesn't take too many sets.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 4 months ago | (#47261529)

Have these people never heard of fucking DATA COMPRESSION? Good lord.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261591)

You do realize now that this is happened, ANYONE and EVERYONE will now have to keep their backups FOREVER!!

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47267687)

So "ANYONE and EVERYONE" is now IRS agents?

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261637)

Is there anyone who works in a company with more than 10 people who has a policy like this?
If the court asked an officer of your company for 4 year old emails, would this fly at all?
What I.T. person allows this to happen?
I was not destroying evidence, the house just burned down.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 4 months ago | (#47262163)

Many companies have short data retention policies to help with litigation. If your policy is to only retain email for a year (both in mailboxes and backups), then no court can subpeona anything older. It is a protection mechanism. However, this article shows how inept the IRS infrastructure staff are. No pst files should exist if you have a data retention policy. And if your policy is space saving, pst files should never be stored locally. Does the IRS use low paid GS11 IT people or is it outsourced to HP/IBM/etc?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

IronChef (164482) | about 4 months ago | (#47264113)

My company, which is quite straight-laced, has a very short email retention policy. Email in your Outlook client is only accessible for 30 days before it gets put into some kind of backup system, where it only has another month or two before it's gone forever.

You can search the backups with a special tool, but it is too painful to do frequently.

You are not allowed to create PST files or otherwise store email locally, in any format. Doing so is a firing offense.

Now, I don't know what they do with the data on the server once it's lost to me. I'm sure they are complying with the law. But they have designed an email system that prevents you from using it as personal long-term storage, as you'd do with your private Gmail account. I always assumed this had to be for liability reasons. It sure is inconvenient, though.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261809)

So the IRS only keeps records for 6 months?

Someone remind me, how long are taxpayers expected to keep their records? I think it used to be seven years, then it got extended further.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262137)

Not even inept - just under-resourced. Combined with no resources to replace "user's computers" before a crash, the destruction is automatic - no ineptness or malice required. So everyone is good with the solution right? Give the IRS more resources so they can do their job correctly.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262429)

Or very convenient policy.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262501)


The IRS also had two other policies that complicated things

These are normal ways of getting around data rentention. Set you policies to a short time. then fall back on the policy when investageted. Working in information security I see this ploy all the time. With the cheap cost of storing data there is no reason email cannot be retained for a long period.

We need to face it EVERY department in our government is CORRUPT!!!!

Time for a revolution.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47264557)

That's pretty bad though...I work at a large organization and get over 20GB for my mailbox...We're required to be ready to provide whatever for audits or government inquiries. I'm gonna say inept design in the case of the IRS. There's no excuse, unless the excuse is they are immune from scrutiny and the legal system...

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47265467)

"After six months, the IRS would reuse those tapes for newer backups."

The BBC did the same thing with Dr Who.
Oh the horrors.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261177)

Where are the backups? Why is the IRS allowing e-mails to be stored client side? Storing E-mails in a clients computer is asking for trouble. It's like saying we trust you to save anything important, after all your honest and never delete anything right?

Inept isn't exactly the word I would use, incompetent to the point where those in charge of these systems should be terminated is closer.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261379)

Never ascribe to massive corruption that which can be adequately explained by massive ineptness.

Also, since WTF does a computer "crashing" mean all email is lost?

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47264099)

You know it would be really cool if it was both. Cut corners on the budget with crap old hardware, but also know that the age of the hardware gives plausible deniability for catastrophic failure. Annoy prosecutors and users at the same time!

The IRS is clearly run by a BOFH.

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259285)

> This is a massive conspiracy. The IRS is hopelessly corru

Beware of confirmation bias. The question we should ask is how many people who are not "under investigation" have also had their emails lost. I bet it is most of them. This just sounds like typical big-organization incompetence.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Re: Massive conspiracy (5, Insightful)

hawks5999 (588198) | about 4 months ago | (#47259417)

Any suffieciently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1, Interesting)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 4 months ago | (#47259461)

Wish I had a mod point at the moment - Well stated Sir!

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about 4 months ago | (#47261015)

It's Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org] .

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 4 months ago | (#47261225)

Not precisely - although it's similar enough to look like a corollary.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#47262825)

More of a hybrid between an inverted Hanlon's Razor and Clarke's Third Law.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Re: Massive conspiracy (5, Insightful)

zr (19885) | about 4 months ago | (#47259721)

clever and funny but i'm afraid that type thinking creates a smokescreen for malice to hide behind. we don't want that.

i think when it comes to government there's very constructive and healthy benefit to treating stupidity same as malice.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259801)

I'd say the opposite, that if they exhibit sufficiently advanced incompetence, we should presume malice, as the two are indistinguishable in effect at that point. Moreover, whichever assumption we choose, it's clear that they are incapable of doing their jobs properly and should be sacked.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260385)

i think when it comes to government there's very constructive and healthy benefit to treating stupidity same as malice.

Nah, I think we should do what the IRS does. If the people at the IRS were so incompetent at their job, they clearly weren't doing it. Ergo, all their paychecks were over payments. Ergo, they need to pay back all that money, plus penalties, and the power of the IRS can be used to garnish any future wages or benefits to ensure they pay.

Meanwhile, we can actually punishment them in court for their gross misfeasance (which should be a crime if it isn't already) with a minimum of a two years sentence (that way they'll be Federal prisoners and felons, along with all the "perks" that includes). Because, honestly, whether its malice or not, the real problem is that once there's any sort of money settlement or fine, Federal prosecutors don't seem to be willing to actually punish "white collar" criminals--and obviously even taking 100% of their ill-gotten monetary gain is not any sort of punishment but merely a minimal step that drug forfeiture laws would blush at for being so conservative in scope.

Btw, this is why the whole discussion of "more regulation" or "more law" is nothing more than a circle jerk. The Executive clearly isn't acting on extant laws and Congress being the legislature only see the hammer of legislation. Hearings go no where because they don't even attempt to exercise Contempt of Congress. Their one last hook, the purse, they aren't willing to use in any meaningful way because the last time they tried, the Executive (Reagan) entirely ignored the rules and Congress looked weak and ineffectual because the sycophants *still* accept that Reagan was more of a harmless Alzheimer patient than a evil fuck.

Sorry, what were we talking about again?

Re: Massive conspiracy (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 months ago | (#47260813)

Criminal negligence, I don't see how anybody could argue anything else. hell I'm a little itty bitty shop owner in BF AR and when MY backup solution I give my customers, a combination of offsite, onsite, and cloud, is more robust than their IT dept came up with? I don't see how anybody could say its any less than criminal negligence.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261719)

Exactly why "when it comes to government"? Maybe it would be very constructive and healthy for you to seek treatment for paranoia.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47268769)

Exactly why "when it comes to government"? Maybe it would be very constructive and healthy for you to seek treatment for paranoia.

Because governments have a long and storied history of overstepping their bonds sometimes to the tune of tens of millions of deaths. You don't start to say "Maybe we ought to keep an eye on these people" when you're on the conveyor belt at the glue factory.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

killkillkill (884238) | about 4 months ago | (#47260181)

At the very least, the consequence of either should be the loss of trust and power.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260183)

Extreme incompetence should be prosecuted as felony negligence.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about 4 months ago | (#47260721)

At the same time, any sufficiently advanced malice is indistinguishable from incompetence.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 4 months ago | (#47260789)

Nope, not "any". Any sufficiently advanced incompetence should approximate malice about 50% of the time, the other 50% it should approximate competence. When a random guy you have business with always overcharges you and never undercharges you, do you assume incompetence or malice?

Hanlon's Razor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261517)

...wants to talk to you.

Of course not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262681)

Of course it can. You're an idiot, shill.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47264221)

Corollary: Any sufficiently advanced malice is indistinguishable from incompetence.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47279833)

Any suffieciently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

Bollocks

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259699)

I have a mod point for you at home, but until I get there...

This is definitely an interesting point. To play devil's advocate, they may have lost everyone's email purposefully. That way, it won't looking glaringly obvious that key accounts disappeared.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#47259887)

Years ago, someone in my building decided to steal cable. That was before cable boxes were common and they used in line filters to restrict channels anf physically connected/disconected the feeds as needed. Except he didn't just connect and open his feed, he did the entire building of 10 apartments. He did this specifically to avoid being singled out if someone noticed the illegal connection.

But if you ask me, i think tjis is more sinister. I think the lost email is a lot like the birth certificate and the birthers. Its meant to string the die hards along frothing with anger so it can be used as some political advantage.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 4 months ago | (#47260027)

The difference is that the existence of birthers is actually a pretty good boost to the Democratic base. "Look at these crazy Republicans, they're so nuts they think he's not an American citizen! Donate to help us fight the hordes of ignorance!".

This comes off a lot more like "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook." And then cue the missing evidence. Nixon was sunk by less than twenty minutes of audio. Two years of email?

After all, in Washington they're not bothered if you're corrupt. They're bothered if you're corrupt and can't hide it.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260245)

Nixon was also supposedly in direct control of the Watergate break-in people, they were hired by people from his campaign. Whereas Obama is amazingly far removed from the bureaucrats. Then there's something in the middle like the Ollie North scandal, far enough removed for plausible deniability but directly connected to political appointees. Some people think it's all the same, as in "the buck stops here" or thinking that any generic CEO knows exactly what all employees are doing.

So this IRS scandal is being pushed by people who do want it to stick in a messy way to the president, rather than just uncover malfeasance at the IRS so that reforms can be done. It's like Ben Ghazi, no one who keeps pushing that will be happy until Hillary is in jail for murder. Or White Water which went on for years only to result in a trivial charge of perjury over a personal matter unrelated to the investigation. It's all done to score points rather than to clean up the government.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

danlip (737336) | about 4 months ago | (#47260537)

It's like Ben Ghazi, ...

Ben who?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#47261351)

Ben is the guy who made the Youtube video that caused the uprisings and the murder of the ambassador. Right?

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260581)

"Whereas Obama is amazingly far removed from the bureaucrats."

Bwahahahahahahahaha!

Nikole Flax.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47268847)

so it can be used as some political advantage.

Like a continual reminder to the public that a crime occurred? That's a political advantage somehow?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259753)

The question we should ask is how many people who are not "under investigation" have also had their emails lost.

Irrelevant. Lets say 1,000 people had their emails lost, and 10 of them were under investigation. Lets also assume that these emails were intentionally "misplaced." According to you, since only 1% of the people have destroyed evidence, they are all innocent of any crimes they are being investigated for. Do you see the problem?

Now, I'm not assuming that they are guilty, or even that they were attempting to destroy evidence, but I do know they are legally required to keep secure backups of all this data and have failed to do so. It sure wouldn't be a surprise to me if they were trying to cover something up, as is commonplace in our government today.

Re:Massive conspiracy (5, Insightful)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 4 months ago | (#47260253)

It's quite a coincidence that all seven of the computers storing information that Congress is requesting all "crashed" and the emails were lost to seven computer "glitches". Just think of the odds. What an uncanny streak of misfortune. The emails just vanished and the investigation can't continue. Oh well.

Just ignore the fact that the words "crashed" and "glitch" are not technical terms an IT professional would use and only serve to obfuscate rather than clarify how those emails might be retrieved. Those boxes with the blinky lights are just subject to the whims of fate, I reckon.

I can't really fault the IRS for not handing over evidence that would at a minimum would put them out of their jobs and/or ideally behind prison bars. What surprises me is what bad liars they are.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Bobartig (61456) | about 4 months ago | (#47260597)

Unless it was a systemic problem, or there was otherwise a generally high level of failures that occurred during that time. I'm not saying there is nothing to see here, but merely that it doesn't actually have to be a coincidence. At least when republicans were covering up their alleged misdeeds, they just told congress, "NO," instead of producing these elaborate excuses.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 months ago | (#47260837)

Bullshit as in 2009 a combination of onsite,offsite, and cloud backups was as common as dirt and in an org that size by any logic you want to use can and should be SOP, any less they are looking for an excuse to destroy data.

I mean for fucks sake if I can have a customer's place burn to the fricking ground, we are talking nothing but a pile of stinking slag where the main computer was, and have him up and running in a couple of hours with NO loss of important data? There is no way an IT dept of that size and budget could lose THAT much data by any means except on purpose. They never hear of fucking backup tape folks? Offsite backups? Give me a break, the bullshit-o-meter has asploded from the stench of the bull they are shoveling.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

flitty (981864) | about 4 months ago | (#47261947)

I think you overestimate the IRS's technological position. Several of my friends work at the IRS (low level IT grunts), and their security plan seems to consist of "security through obsolescence", using many outdated programs for most of their daily work.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about 4 months ago | (#47262379)

rule #1: never assume competency.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

ruir (2709173) | about 4 months ago | (#47261053)

Arrest them for contempt of the court, as it would happen to any ordinary corporation.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

runeghost (2509522) | about 4 months ago | (#47262105)

If you make "irrecoverably crashing your HDD every eighteen months" an unofficial policy, then when you get investigated, you're clear. And if you're not investigated its (at worst) a minor inconvenience.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#47262887)

They were accidentally hit 47 times with a sledgehammer and then thrown into traffic. Accidentally.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 4 months ago | (#47260521)

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Does not apply to politicians and government officials. If you doubt this, consider the near total amnesia they acquire when in the courtroom. Sufficiently advanced malice is indistinguishable from stupidity.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about 4 months ago | (#47260891)

They have absolutely no problem finding your tax records when you're in arrears, alas.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262341)

Confirmation bias for sure. What we had was a massive effort by both the right and the left and especially Karl Rove to illegally avoid campaign finance law by filing for non-profit in a category that specifically doesn't allow political organizations. I'm amazed that people thing something with "Tea Party" in the name isn't a political organization. These people didn't want to disclose their donors as required by law. These applications went to a part of the IRS that doesn't deal with political stuff, so they has no experience with it. When Karl Rove and others got caught they blamed the IRS for being impartial! Impartial to criminals clearly violating the law. So, yes, there's a massive conspiracy, but it's not the one the conservatives are claiming.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Terry Pearson (935552) | about 4 months ago | (#47262375)

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

That is just something guilty people say ;-) It is usually preferable to be seen as a stupid free man as opposed to a smart, but imprisoned, felon.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#47263017)

Beware of ignoring the fact that the IRS has already admitted to guilt in the targetting, and has those investigated pleading the fifth amendment.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47269945)

Are you forgetting that they said her computer crashed? Her hard drive. They are saying they lost the emails because her hard drive crashed. That is a lie.

You don't even have to wonder about incompetence. They are straight out lying.

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 months ago | (#47259333)

How does this get -1? I think I would like to hear from people who disagree with this perspective.

I suspect the word "conspiracy" is the problem. A conspiracy has ALREADY been proven in this case. They already admitted to targeting specific people for additional scutiny and persecution. That is conspiracy. The point now is to find out how far up it goes.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259451)

because obama is president, so the government is beyond accusation right now. come back in 2 years.

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Funny)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 4 months ago | (#47259487)

Clinton only had Lewinski. Obama has the entire press core fellating him. Where are the Woodward and Bernsteins when you need them?

Under 24h surveillance (4, Insightful)

Marrow (195242) | about 4 months ago | (#47259673)

Thats the point

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

ShaunC (203807) | about 4 months ago | (#47259839)

Where are the Woodward and Bernsteins when you need them?

I believe Glenn Greenwald lives in Brazil.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261513)

Greenwald? You really compared him to Woodward??? Boy, you are an idiot. Greenwald is a hack with visions of grandeur. Woodward puts more diligence and investigation into his book prefaces than Greenwald does in a whole article topic.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259941)

Woodward and Bernstein wouldn't touch a protected class President with a ten foot pole.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262851)

FoxNews, but the politicos have already trained the masses to disregard it.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259621)

I don't know, I didn't moderate it, but I think one possible explanation is the "vile Lois Lerner" part.
I found it a bit unneeded, personally. I would have ( and did, I have mod points ) left it alone as most of it is expressing a point of view with possible validity ( I find it difficult to believe that the entire IRS is a left wing controlled persecution factory as implied, but I can see that there might be some personnel on the left working there that abused a position of trust and authority ( and I could see a right wing affiliated person doing the same.. ) ).
And it could be someone misusing mod points to promote an agenda.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

mlw4428 (1029576) | about 4 months ago | (#47259627)

I don't see how it 's a conspiracy. I don't recall tax law as being akin to criminal law and thus "innocent until proven guilty" doesn't really apply. All they did was target political groups (both conservative and liberal according to TFA) and audited them. I truly don't understand the big deal over this -- personally I think ALL political non-profits should be audited several times a year to ensure they're following all financial laws.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259705)

The big deal is to have some constant conspiracy or malfeasance to stop Obama from achieving any of his goal.
For the rank and file tea party. They will believe anything fox tells them no matter how much old footage show it to be misleading or an out right lie.

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

e3m4n (947977) | about 4 months ago | (#47259757)

using your position of power to use groups as your personal S.S. division of the political party to silence opposition is the heart of it. Not only did these groups get targeted and never approved, while other parties got rubber stamped without so much as a single question, but they also demanded a list of ALL donors so they could audit their personal taxes as well. This is tantamount to political harassment to prevent anyone from donating money in order to avoid said harassment. This is called EXTORTION UNDER THE COLOR OF AUTHORITY and its one of the most egregious crimes someone in authority can commit. Its no different than a cop showing up and saying that he saw you speeding the other day and you need to pay him to avoid going to jail for reckless driving. Its an absolute abuse of authority. As a libertarian I find any and all parties that practice this intimidation entirely revolting.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

hamburger lady (218108) | about 4 months ago | (#47259929)

i think you're misinformed. both Tea Party group and progressive group applications were scrutinized. no Tea Party groups were denied their application from what i remember, but at least one progressive group was. so no, this isn't the powerful silencing opposition and not approving one side whilst rubber-stamping the other.

Lerner gave up that argument, you can too. IRS adm (5, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#47260189)

I guess you stopped paying attention to this story quite a while ago, which is understandable. They only made that argument for a week or two. They have since admitted wrong-doing, first blaming it on a field office, but later documents showed to orders came from Washington. I don't recall the EXACT numbers offhand, but something like 342 conservative groups were targeted and 4 liberal groups ended up being sent over in the stack. It has now been shown conclusively that the order was to target conservative and libertarian groups. The question now is who gave the order. Nobody active in politics on the left brings up the few liberal groups who got mixed in the the conservatives and libertarians anymore - they know that's not just a losing argument, but one that makes them look like liars when the numbers are mentioned.

Re:Lerner gave up that argument, you can too. IRS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260325)

> They have since admitted wrong-doing, first blaming it on a field office, but later documents showed to orders came from Washington.

Come on man, give us a link to a reasonable source. All I'm seeing is breitbart-sourced crap from over a year ago.
Oh wait, now I see, you are playing word games "came from washington" implies whitehouse when all it really was were IRS agents from the washington office.

Also, stuff like no liberal groups is really, "no evidence that any liberal or progressive group received enhanced scrutiny because its application reflected the organization’s political views" [dailycaller.com] which is saying that the targeting was not because of their political views, which is what the IRS has been saying all along - it wasn't anyone's brand of politics, it was their political nature that triggered the investigations since the classification meant that they were supposed to be groups working for the general benefit of society not political advocacy.

So, what I'm seeing is that it just more benghazi style bullshit catering to people who aren't very critical thinkers.

Re:Lerner gave up that argument, you can too. IRS (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47260795)

While the grandparent hasn't submitted references for this particular claim, several other people have for various claims which are comparable. For example, this story [usatoday.com] says there were "perhaps dozens" of similar progressive/liberal groups which passed during a time when no group with "Tea Party" and similar strings in their name got through.

Re:Lerner gave up that argument, you can too. IRS (-1, Flamebait)

danlip (737336) | about 4 months ago | (#47260567)

I don't recall the EXACT numbers offhand ...

i.e. I couldn't find a reliable source for those numbers to save my life, so I'll just parrot what I think I remember Rush Limbaugh said.

Re:Lerner gave up that argument, you can too. IRS (-1, Offtopic)

Bobartig (61456) | about 4 months ago | (#47260633)

You're referring to Darrell Issa's debunked congressional report on the IRS group flagging. It was demonstrated to be false a few weeks later when IRS filtering procedure documents provided via FOIA request demonstrated that the IRS flagging terms included more progressive search terms than conservative, and flagged more progressive groups for review. Your facts are simply wrong. This does, however, demonstrate the power of misinformation in the manufacture of controversy.

Re:Lerner gave up that argument, you can too. IRS (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47260779)

and flagged more progressive groups for review

"Review" meant a very different thing for groups that had things like "Tea Party" in their name, such as intrusive demands for information on participants and not actually approving any such groups for 27 months [usatoday.com] .

In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked.

That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn't be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months.

In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.

Your talking points are obsolete.

Re:Lerner gave up that argument, you can too. IRS (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 4 months ago | (#47261507)

I don't think USA Today is an approved source of information. Come back when you've got a quote from MSNBC or maybe the Huffington Post and the liberals might accept it.

Re:Lerner gave up that argument, you can too. IRS (1)

rhazz (2853871) | about 4 months ago | (#47262183)

In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications

Ok not that I'm really following this story, I'm sure there are better numbers elsewhere, but in this quote: "perhaps dozens"? What does that even mean? Perhaps thousands? Perhaps millions? Perhaps none? This implies they don't actually know any numbers.

Re:Lerner gave up that argument, you can too. IRS (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47266451)

Right, that's wasn't the point of their story. They merely determined that a certain category of political group, which happens to be in opposition to the current administration, experienced huge problems in getting approval while groups that tended to be in support had an easy time of it. They didn't bother to count the number of the latter.

Re: Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

e3m4n (947977) | about 4 months ago | (#47260215)

It's been well documented that several planning parenthood organizations and ACORN affiliates were rubber stamped without questions as to how many times a day they pray and who were their donors. Questions they actually asked of other groups. In fact they didn't receive a single question. The tea party should have set up fake planning parenthood companies to get automatic free passes.

It's simply wrong regardless. Determining a non profit does not require questions about religious beliefs and/or submitting a detailed list of donors to then turn around and audit them also. This is the US version of the Schutzstaffel and not an accounting firm. There should not be a legal arm, not should they be purchasing hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammo. If someone is violating tax laws let the FBI handle it. It does not require the irs to be outfitted with hundreds of SWAT specialized divisions with tanks and body armor. Wake up before it's too late and you realize that you're a character in Animal Farm.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261113)

> It's been well documented that several planning parenthood
> organizations and ACORN affiliates were rubber stamped
> without question

**** HUGE FUCKING CITATION NEEDED.

This is not the case. You are just making stuff up or regurgitating simplistic lies.

And if you are comparing conservative vs. left wing groups, make
sure you normalize the numbers for submissions made. (protip: tea
party groups were growing like weeds fertilized with koch manure
that year)

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261515)

"Wake up before it's too late and you realize that you're a character in Animal Farm."

As long as it isn't the Chicken I'm good thanks.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

snobody (990539) | about 4 months ago | (#47261667)

I think the comparison of the IRS with the Schutzstaffel is a little overblown. The Schutzstaffel would kill Hitler's political enemies. The IRS would just audit the president's enemies so bad they wish they were dead. :D

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#47260285)

One progressive group was targeted, and some tea party groups suddenly got approval after the story about it broke into the news. And I do mean suddenly, as in all of them within a week of it breaking--after two years of waiting. If that doesn't scream corruption I don't know what does.

Re:Massive conspiracy (5, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 4 months ago | (#47260333)

You've missed what the scandal was.

no Tea Party groups were denied their application from what i remember, but at least one progressive group was.

That was exactly the point. The IRS was making demands for data so onerous as to be literally impossible to comply with. They never denied Tea Party groups - but they just never allowed them, either, leaving them in a legal limbo. They instead demanded an impossible amount of documentation from them to "prove" their legality.

The fact that a progressive group was able to submit an application and be denied actually proves the IRS's malfeasance: they were capable of submitting an application at all, while Tea Party groups simply could not possibly meet the IRS's impossible demands for their applications.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about 4 months ago | (#47262431)

Look, if Jeffry Dahlmer shows up at your diner and tries to sell you a load of meat, your more suspicious then if it comes from someone else.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47261885)

intentinoally misleading people again. typical left response.

delaying approval, and requiring them to jump through hoops, thus ensuring they dont get the status sought and ALSO not denying them is even worse than simply denying them, it keeps their members with the hope that the approval will go through, meanwhile it never does. So while you may be technically correct that none were denied, none were approved either, thats the more important number.

no liberal groups had to fork over a member list or a book reading list, only tea party groups did, the IRS ADMITTED AS MUCH!!!
you guys love to accuse the other side of playing games, but you guys love to straight up lie

Re:Massive conspiracy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260749)

> Not only did these groups get targeted and never approved

But you have to remember what groups were targeted. They were racist and homophobe groups so targeting was not only morally acceptable, it is a moral requirement to squash them in any way. That is what makes this entire made-up scandal a joke. Only a racist would call this thing a scandal.

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 4 months ago | (#47261229)

AC, you clearly are in need of a massive civics lesson.

Read these words, and meditate on them:

"I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it."

When you start making it "OK" to silence people you disagree with or disapprove of, it opens the doors for people who disapprove of you, or disagree with your views to silence YOU.

We make the acts of discrimination illegal. Not the idea. People are entitled to their own beliefs, even if those beliefs cannot be substantiated with evidence. We counter this with being allowed to hold our own beliefs, which we attest are substantiated with evidence.

When you start telling people that they must believe the same way that you do, you are perpetrating the same crime that religious authority figures commit when they go on holy wars and crusades.

Resorting to hyperbole, like "only a racist would call this thing a scandal.", you are tit-for-tat in line with religious oppressors that claim things like "Only an infidel" or "Only a godless sinner" to justify their actions.

Do you want to be with that group?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

davide marney (231845) | about 4 months ago | (#47261481)

Anyone who would use "Only a godless sinner" to justify an evil action such as cutting off people's heads or driving jet planes full of fuel into office buildings is NOT a religious person, they are a political person who has hijacked religion in the name of their cause. Is the KKK a "Christian" organization? Please. There are millions of peaceable Muslims living in the US. Look around you.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262815)

Religion is politics is religion. You are naive.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261925)

You do understand that the law these groups were claiming tax-exempt status under EXPLICITLY prohibits itself from being used by groups which are primarily political in nature, and that there were Tea Party facilitators going around doing seminars on how to define their groups as "social" charities for the purpose of exploiting this law. That's why Tea Party groups were targeted. [Lois Lerner is not exactly known as a big liberal activist; she originally became Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS in 2006, so it's not like she was an Obama appointee.]

Planned Parenthood is not a political group, by the way. One could make a case that ACORN is political, because its voter registration initiatives target groups who tend to vote liberal - but those are also the folks who tend to be disenfranchised by voter-suppression campaigns.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261095)

> while other parties got rubber stamped without so much as a single question,

That is simply incorrect. Tea Party groups were NOT singled out. It was across the board.

Stop watching FOX news and do your fucking homework.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

njnnja (2833511) | about 4 months ago | (#47260053)

if the IRS should be allowed aggressive auditing powers (and I'm not saying they shouldn't), then it's only fair that an elected body such as Congress should have the right to aggressively audit those audits to ensure those powers aren't being abused. If the IRS can get out of that check by losing particular emails that is a serious problem, just as if the political non profits being audited could avoid problems by disposing of evidence they would rather not have the IRS look at

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47261847)

you are either not paying attention, or lying right now. the IRS has already specifically apologized for unfairly targeting conservative groups, asking them for book reading lists, and member information that they did not ask those liberal groups.

why do people still keep saying that they targeted both groups?? do they think repeating a lie over and over will make it true?? the IRS ADMITTED they did it!! and people on the left still dont believe it

Re:Massive conspiracy (-1)

sstamps (39313) | about 4 months ago | (#47259725)

It wasn't a conspiracy.

a) It wasn't secret, nor was it "covered up".
b) It wasn't unlawful (go on, name the law that they broke if you disagree)
c) It wasn't particularly harmful (the only group that was denied as a result was a PROGRESSIVE group).

Now, did it violate policy? Maybe. They treated it like it was, but it is the job of the IRS to investigate applicants for the status in question. If anything, I would argue that they have been violating policy with the ridiculous amount of grants of c(3) status for years to organizations who OBVIOUSLY do not qualify for it.

THAT is the REAL scandal here.

Re:Massive conspiracy (5, Insightful)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 4 months ago | (#47260153)

You should read what the IRS Inspector General said [washingtonpost.com] . It was overwhelmingly conservative/tea party groups that were affected, many delayed for so long they withdrew their application (closed down). It was quite secret (internal BOLO requests), it was unlawful (illegal information required before any action could be taken), and it was harmful (many groups folded because of the delay).

At least, that's what the Inspector General said. But I'm sure they are biased against their bosses and shouldn't be trusted...

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260349)

> At least, that's what the Inspector General said. But I'm sure they are biased against their bosses and shouldn't be trusted...

Here's a summary from a source sure to be ignored by the nut brigade, but all the normal people will see it as even-keeled:

-----
Scintillating isn't how you'd describe the report issued by the Treasury inspector general's report on the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups.

It was written, after all, by government bureaucrats for government bureaucrats. Enough said.

Still, peel back the careful, cautious and colorless language and there are some eyebrow-raising tidbits in the report that give a sense of the dysfunction in the tax-exempt unit that allowed the controversial targeting to occur.

Here are 10 of them:

        The IG report was our first source without skin in the game (like IRS and White House officials) to report that agency employees said no outsiders influenced them to target conservative applicants. (Page 7)

        The IRS employees responsible for applying greater scrutiny to groups with "Tea Party" or "Patriots" in their names were evidently incorrigible. After their boss told them to cease and desist they did, temporarily. Then they went back to doing their own thing, which meant using inappropriate filters to select applicants for additional review. (Page 7)

        At one point, in an agency of 106,000 workers, just one, presumably very overwhelmed, bureaucrat had the job of reviewing applications for tax-exempt status that were selected for greater scrutiny because the information raised questions about their political activities. (Page 5, Footnote 14)

        The inspector general says "it's considering" following up its first evaluation with a deeper dive into exactly how the IRS unit it studied monitors the political activities of the "social welfare" groups it grants tax-exempt status. It wants to make sure the unit knows when such organizations cross the line to engage in too much politics. (Page 4, Footnote 12)

        Even employees in the IRS's tax-exempt unit were stupefied by the rules about which they had to make decisions. They were so confused, their bosses decided they needed hands-on training — after which an absurdly low and slow 2 percent application approval rate soared. Given the political sensitivity of this part of the IRS's work, you might have expected the training to happen sooner. The problems remain, however, according to the IG, and the guidance the workers labor under is vague at best. (Page 14)

        Some applications for tax-exempt status were, astonishingly, under review for as long as three years. What's even more remarkable is that even though the law gives applicants the right to sue the IRS if they failed to get a conclusive response from the agency within 270 days, none did, at least not during the two years of the IG's investigation. Maybe Americans aren't as litigious as they're often given credit for being. (Page 16)

        Even after the IG pointed out the error of their ways, IRS officials were, to some extent, still not seeing things as clearly as the IG thought they should. For instance, IRS officials said issues the IG raised had been resolved. The IG flatly contradicted them, saying no, they hadn't been fixed. (Opening memo)

        Some applications from groups with evidence of substantial political activity weren't forwarded to the team that had the task of giving applications extra scrutiny. Others that lacked evidence of significant political activity weren't sent to the IRS review team for further investigation. (Pages 9-10)

        IRS workers must watch a lot of TV cop dramas: They described their list of names to watch for as the "be on the lookout for" or BOLO list. (Page 6)

        When the agency asked for additional information — information the IG ultimately deemed to be irrelevant to the applications in question — the IRS would ask applicants to meet their requests within three weeks even though the IRS had essentially sat on some of the applications for more than a year. That's what New Yorkers would call chutzpah. (Page 18)

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/05/15/184246228/ten-things-we-learned-from-the-irs-inspector-general-report

Re:Massive conspiracy (1, Interesting)

sstamps (39313) | about 4 months ago | (#47260391)

..and you should also read what the IG said AFTER the report in congressional testimony, where he admits he was 'very concerned' that his report missed progressive targeting.

You should also, you know, READ the original TIGTA report, too. It is very enlightening, even with its admitted flaws. For example, the targeting was still a very small part of the total applications, and the "Tea Party" targeting was also less than a third of all targeted applications.

Internal BOLO spreadsheets are hardly secret. They are little more than worksheets to help people get their jobs done, and are distributed to everyone in the unit.

It wasn't unlawful, since no "illegal information" was required or used. If you think it was, cite the law that was broken. My wager is that you can't. Thus, I'll stick with "not unlawful" until you (or anyone else) demonstrates otherwise.

As for being harmful, it was no more harmful than it was for the other 2/3rds of the organizations which were sent to the unit for further processing. That it took forever affected everyone, not just "Tea Party" groups. Further, the law even provides for the ability for applicants to sue the IRS to expedite their application after 270 days, and NONE of them availed themselves of it. NONE.

But, you know, don't let silly little things like facts quash a good witchhunt.

Re:Massive conspiracy (5, Informative)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 4 months ago | (#47260531)

It wasn't unlawful, since no "illegal information" was required or used. If you think it was, cite the law that was broken. My wager is that you can't.

Information leaked by the IRS - information that was illegal to do so [washingtonexaminer.com] . Donor lists are private and are NOT required for 501c(x) filings; yet the IRS demanded them, and in this case when they were provided, they were leaked. That's a felony.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

sstamps (39313) | about 4 months ago | (#47260673)

Schedule B filings are public information. Normally, the names of the donors are redacted before it is released, but it was not done in this case.

That said, their case has already been set back by the judge, denying punitive damages, because NOM had "made no showing from which a reasonable jury could find that the disclosure of its Schedule B was the result of willfulness or gross negligence". Doesn't look like there's going to be a felony conviction forthcoming from that.

Still haven't cited the relevant law which was broken, too.

Keep trying, though.

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Informative)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 4 months ago | (#47260733)

Look - the Inspector General of the Treasury Department said it targeted groups for political reasons [ap.org] and that violates the equal protection under the law clause. Not to mention targeted audits of the same donors to those targeted groups [washingtontimes.com] . If it didn't do anything wrong, then why did the IRS apologize for its activities [washingtonpost.com] ?

Apparently you don't have a problem with the politicization of the IRS, to use the Government to attack political opponents. I get that. Most sane and reasonable people do have a problem with it - at least an ethical, if not recognizing that it's illegal and a gross misuse of Government power.

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47260909)

Still haven't cited the relevant law which was broken, too.

So if I shoot someone in cold blood and you can't point to the text in the law which makes murder a crime, then in your eyes, I didn't actually commit a crime? Here's a clue. Your demand is not only onerous, it is completely irrelevant. Something is illegal or not independent of whether another Slashdotter can point to the exact paragraph of law which makes the thing illegal.

I've noticed that ever since it became popular to play scientist in the climate change debates, that demands for citations have gotten ridiculous.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261983)

So if I shoot someone in cold blood and you can't point to the text in the law which makes murder a crime, then in your eyes, I didn't actually commit a crime?

And if I shot someone in self defense and you can't point to the text in the law that says self defense is ok, does it mean I did commit a crime?

The street goes both ways. If you want to pin somebody of a crime, you have to show how the law applies. If you want to defend somebody, you have to show how the law doesn't apply, or which law says I'm clear.

If you trust the courts, that's what they'll do. We on slashdot are simply offering our opinions and sharing information. If you have information on which laws are broken, I don't see why you won't disclose it. Informing more people of government atrocities is a good thing, no?

If you don't trust the courts... well, then you shouldn't be here. You're past the soap-box stage. Get out there and fix that government you no longer trust.

I've noticed that ever since it became popular to play scientist in the climate change debates, that demands for citations have gotten ridiculous.

Again, sounds like you're past the soap box stage. When you see the other side as ridiculous and words don't work on them, you need to escalate your protest.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47266809)

If you have information on which laws are broken, I don't see why you won't disclose it. Informing more people of government atrocities is a good thing, no?

The thing is, the original poster provided that information in a link to a story on that particular lawsuit. This is a demand for citation on top of that. Keep in mind also that the replier implicitly accepts that the law in question exists.

Again, sounds like you're past the soap box stage. When you see the other side as ridiculous and words don't work on them, you need to escalate your protest.

So how do I fix the problem of stupid and dishonest argument on Slashdot? Send everyone I don't like to the glue factory? It sounds to me like I am not past the soap box stage, but rather that you aren't yet to the soap box stage.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47271051)

The thing is, the original poster provided that information in a link to a story on that particular lawsuit.

And the subsequent poster didn't buy that the law was broken here.

Keep in mind also that the replier implicitly accepts that the law in question exists.

Accepting the law exists and accepting the law was violated are two different things.

So how do I fix the problem of stupid and dishonest argument on Slashdot?

I was talking about escalating protest in terms of fixing your government, not random Internet arguments.

Send everyone I don't like to the glue factory? It sounds to me like I am not past the soap box stage, but rather that you aren't yet to the soap box stage.

Again, soap box is referring to protesting government, not your personal problem of stupid and dishonest arguments on the Internet. So in that respect, you're the one who has yet to get on the soap box stage. You're on the "dick around picking arguments on the Internet" stage

And you're right. I'm not on the soap box stage either. But... so what? I'm not the one protesting.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47277329)

And the subsequent poster didn't buy that the law was broken here.

So what? There was such a law or the case would have been thrown out of court. And at that point, deciding whether a law has been broken is a case for a court not a citation.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262231)

Straw Man: If you shot someone in cold blood, and I told you it was illegal, I'd certainly be able to point to *multiple* laws which make it illegal.

If you're going to claim that an action was illegal, you most certainly *should* be able to point to a law which makes it illegal. Your claim, your burden of proof.
That's all.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47266645)

Straw Man: If you shot someone in cold blood, and I told you it was illegal, I'd certainly be able to point to *multiple* laws which make it illegal.

You haven't pointed to those *multiple* laws. You just asserted you could. That makes it not a straw man. Here, demanding a citation actually runs counter to a legitimate debate.

If you're going to claim that an action was illegal, you most certainly *should* be able to point to a law which makes it illegal. Your claim, your burden of proof.

And yet, you can't be bothered to show that such things are legal either. A single reference to show the activity is actually legal would have settled this argument as well.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47266747)

Still haven't cited the relevant law which was broken, too.

And the more I look at this particular statement, the more dishonest it gets. The previous poster linked to a story where it was claimed that it is a law. The judge treats it as a law - he didn't throw the case out just because a crime hadn't been committed. You even implicitly admit that release of "normally" redacted information is illegal (after all how can disclosure of such information be willful or gross negligence, if it is perfectly legal to do so?).

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260603)

[i]Further, the law even provides for the ability for applicants to sue the IRS to expedite their application after 270 days, and NONE of them availed themselves of it. NONE.[/i]

True The Vote is suing.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

sstamps (39313) | about 4 months ago | (#47260685)

Yeah, AFTER the TIGTA report came out telling them that they could, sure.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

Dahan (130247) | about 4 months ago | (#47260641)

You should also, you know, READ the original TIGTA report, too. It is very enlightening, even with its admitted flaws. For example, the targeting was still a very small part of the total applications, and the "Tea Party" targeting was also less than a third of all targeted applications.

Read it already, and you're misstating what it says. You seem to be referring to Figure 4 on page 8--that's showing that of the applications that went for special review, about 1/3 looked like they were from "Tea Party" groups. That doesn't really say too much about whether Tea Party groups were targeted or not; of course there will be other applications that look borderline and need more review. What does show that they were targeted is that in a random sample of all applications, all Tea Party-looking groups were selected for special review. In other words, if you're not a Tea Party group, you only get special review if there's something worth reviewing. But if you are a Tea Party group, you're definitely getting reviewed. If you had read the report, you would have seen that it specifically mentions that the IRS made the same argument you made, and the report refutes that argument:

Figure 4 shows that approximately one-third of the applications identified for processing by the team of specialists included Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names, while the remainder did not. According to the Director, Rulings and Agreements, the fact that the team of specialists worked applications that did not involve the Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 groups demonstrated that the IRS was not politically biased in its identification of applications for processing by the team of specialists. While the team of specialists reviewed applications from a variety of organizations, we determined during our reviews of statistical samples of I.R.C. 501(c)(4) tax-exempt applications that all cases with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were forwarded to the team of specialists.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

sstamps (39313) | about 4 months ago | (#47260709)

I was aware, as I have read and cited the report here and elsewhere several times in the last year.

The report does NOT refute the argument. You're reading into it more than it actually says.

The report is flawed in this area, because no other political affiliations were checked to see if they were also targeted. The IG *ONLY* looked at "Tea Party" groups, and lamented this fact in his later congressional testimony. A more thorough and detailed review will likely reveal that there were a number of groups improperly targeted, not just "Tea Party" groups.

You'll also note on the next page, it says that quite a few groups which DO trigger the normal, acceptable criteria for special review were not sent to the unit. The whole process was more broken than it was politically selective.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

stoborrobots (577882) | about 4 months ago | (#47260085)

A conspiracy has ALREADY been proven in this case. They already admitted to targeting specific people for additional scutiny and persecution. That is conspiracy.

No, that is "discrimination".

Conspiracy is when there are multiple parties secretly plotting together to cause harm or do something unlawful.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260129)

No, it was a secret that got found it.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260589)

Sending certain tax data to the FBI is unlawful.

The recipient at the FBI not immediately reporting it? That's conspiracy.

If they did report it and the higher-ups did nothing? Consipracy again.

Why conspiracy? Because they've actively tried to hide that any of this happened.

Heh, captcha is "coequal". Anybody remember when that meant something in .gov?

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261347)

And they were UNLAWFULLY discriminating in SECRECY against a portion of society. Just because it's no longer a secret doesn't mean it wasn't a conspiracy.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

nadaou (535365) | about 4 months ago | (#47261079)

They already admitted to targeting specific people for
additional scrutiny and persecution.

Not really, and there really hasn't been any meaningful persecution.

Remember that liberal PAC groups were equally tied up in this and
that 501c3 tax exempt groups are explicitly denied the ability
to make political endorsements. So the Tea Party PACs do not qualify
anyway. Also remember that many FOSS applications were also caught up
in the exact same tightening of the evaluations since they could be
mistaken for pro-industry trade groups. Anecdote vs. evidence, but
my GPL project was endlessly delayed in the same IRS round for the
same reasons as the Tea Party's ones.

Call it for what it is, like Benghazi, of no substantive significance
to the American people and a huge political misdirection away from the
real issues: the 1% robbing the general population of two or more years
of their working life by pushing back the retirement age.

If you are going to be mad as hell and not going to take it any more, be
mad about that, since you are not the 1% and they are stealing years of
your life from you!

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#47261359)

501c3 tax exempt groups are explicitly denied the ability
to make political endorsements. So the Tea Party PACs do not qualify anyway.

You have evidence of this? A group with Tea Party in their name must by definition make explicit political endorsements?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 4 months ago | (#47262663)

You have evidence of this? A group with Tea Party in their name must by definition make explicit political endorsements?

Explicit political endorsements? No. Attempting to influence legislation? Definitely.

From the IRS's page [irs.gov] on lobbying:

An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation.

I've yet to see a group with "tea party" in their name that didn't try to do that. And to be fair, I would expect any organization that has other current keywords on either side of the political spectrum to receive additional scrutiny.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | about 4 months ago | (#47264391)

Remember that liberal PAC groups were equally tied up in this and that 501c3 tax exempt groups are explicitly denied the ability to make political endorsements.

There are more types of non profits than 501(c)3 non-profits.
IRS provides a list, but not as helpful as the one on Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5... [wikipedia.org] .
PACs better fit under 501(c)4 non-profits, which are allowed to influence politics and legislation.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47299481)

When people live longer, it makes sense that they retire later. The amount of time Social Security paid you after you retired used to be shorter, and with the program really underfunded (due to a shift in demographics) they can't afford to pay all the elderly people for even longer now.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259343)

If I ever assume power, I will dedicate one of the Aleutian Islands for the reassignment of incompetent and/or venal Civil Servants. I'm afraid it will get crowded quickly though.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259707)

Leave our Islands out of this!

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259401)

Only if you include arsonist Darrel Issa and the rest of the criminals in Congress

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 4 months ago | (#47259499)

We need a special prosecutor and get people under oath.

Ahh yes the dreaded Oath. Nothing gets lying people to tell the truth more than a verbal agreement to tell the truth backed up by supernatural threats if they dont.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 4 months ago | (#47259527)

The idea is to get them to commit perjury, then it is easy to send someone to prison. The leftists know this well.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259575)

The idea of being under oath has nothing to do with swearing on a bible, but activating legal consequences after proof of their lies comes out in evidence. Penalties for perjury are no joke.

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

e3m4n (947977) | about 4 months ago | (#47259765)

such as "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" while under oath? The only consequence he suffered was disbarment.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261245)

His career ended? That seems pretty severe.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Jhon (241832) | about 4 months ago | (#47262515)

And more than 3/4 of a million dollars in a settlement he might have otherwise avoided.
And a stain on his character that will follow him for eternity.
And, arguably, his stink stuck to Al Gore enough to cost him the Presidency.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

alexo (9335) | about 4 months ago | (#47264913)

such as "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" while under oath? The only consequence he suffered was disbarment.

Two months after the Senate failed to convict him, President Clinton was held in civil contempt of court by Judge Susan Webber Wright. His license to practice law was suspended in Arkansas for five years and later by the United States Supreme Court. He was also fined $90,000 for allegedly giving false testimony. Clinton declined to appeal the civil contempt of court ruling, citing financial problems, but still maintained that his testimony complied with Wright's earlier definition of sexual relations.

-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 4 months ago | (#47259663)

There is more than just supernatural threats, there are legal ones involved as well.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259759)

Not if you are head of the NSA.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261201)

There is more than just supernatural threats, there are legal ones involved as well.

Oh, you mean the legalities that the IRS sidestepped repeatedly?

Clearly the legal threat is working well...

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Jhon (241832) | about 4 months ago | (#47262465)

"Ahh yes the dreaded Oath. Nothing gets lying people to tell the truth more than a verbal agreement to tell the truth backed up by supernatural threats if they dont"

Do you understand how the legal system works? If I say on the public street "I didn't see the bank robber" and I'm lying, there's no problem. If I say "I didn't see the bank robber" to a police officer and I'm lying, there's some legal issues you may have to address (re: Martha Stuart).

You say that under oath to a prosecutor and are lying, and your whole life can change. Isn't that right Mr. Clinton?

Re:Massive conspiracy (-1, Troll)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 4 months ago | (#47259533)

Cue the obama cum-lappers 3...2...1...

Re:Massive conspiracy (3, Funny)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 4 months ago | (#47259541)

How many emails does it take to equal 18 minutes of tape?

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about 4 months ago | (#47260631)

Given average email size of 75kB, compressible attachments, a 5:1 compression ratio and LTO 6 uncompressed 200MB/s write speed, 18 minutes of tape would be roughly 14.8 million emails.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 4 months ago | (#47260797)

How many Libraries of Congress is that?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about 4 months ago | (#47264029)

About 1.02996826% of a Library of Congress. :)

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 4 months ago | (#47261211)

How many emails does it take to equal 18 minutes of tape?

Dunno. How many tubes are we talking here?

And how big? Politicians always seem to exaggerate when it comes to the size of their internet tubes.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 4 months ago | (#47261907)

I presume people have modded it funny because they have forgotten Nixon was forced to resign over 18 minutes of missing tape out of 200 hrs of conversation related to the break in at Watergate.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 4 months ago | (#47262615)

I presume people have modded it funny because they have forgotten Nixon was forced to resign over 18 minutes of missing tape out of 200 hrs of conversation related to the break in at Watergate.

and the picture of Nixon's secretary showing how she accidently pressed a foot switch while talking on a phone opposite desk, and the position she was in (awkward). It looked so hokey this "18 minutes" was obvious conspiracy.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 4 months ago | (#47262973)

I presume people have modded it funny because they have forgotten Nixon was forced to resign over 18 minutes of missing tape out of 200 hrs of conversation related to the break in at Watergate.

18 minutes of tape was hardly the only evidence.

If we've forgotten anything as a nation, it's how to act when a President gets out of line. Seems the concept of impeachment was also on that 18 minutes of tape.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 4 months ago | (#47266801)

The missing emails is hardly the only evidence here either.

It is the evidence of a coverup that is what pushed Nixon over the line, and it should be here too. Obama simply does not have that type of character that would require him to resign in shame. In this case, Obama is shameless.

As for impeachment... not going mean much if there is a Democrat controlled Senate, they will never take action, just like the case of Clinton.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259579)

It might very well be a conspiracy.

But let me ask this:
When the Bush administration used non-official email systems around 2007 and emails where "lost", was that also a conspiracy?

I am curious if those protesting this ( and I'm, again, not saying things are OK, they look *wrong* at this point ) are cheerleaders for right wing politics and looking to count coup on "the enemy", or are truly interested in right and wrong.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259693)

Can we just agree that coverups are wrong? It doesn't seem like that is a hard stance to take... Wrong for the left. Wrong for the right.

Re: Massive conspiracy (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#47259723)

It's a very hard stance if you think your party is never wrong. Or only the other party is wrong.

And, sadly, LOTS of people do.

Re: Massive conspiracy (2, Insightful)

e3m4n (947977) | about 4 months ago | (#47259773)

they love the 2 party system.. they both keep selling the bullshit that the other party is entirely evil and they are angels of god. They both suck and ironically are both evil civil right stealing assholes. Where are the outraged persons who hated bush stealing civil liberties with the patriot act? Where is there outrage over the last 6years? fucking hypocrites is what they are... its a shame they can stand to look at their pathetic asses in the mirror every morning.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260455)

For some on this forum, Left is Right, and Right is Wrong.

Got that? Works just about everywhere except in traffic.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260713)

Got it.

You "got" that for others on this forum, Right is right and Left is wrong, yeah?

Be nice when we have more where political right and left arent such a big deal and right/ethical is important.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260703)

That was kinda the point I was trying to make.

But I get tired of seeing people cheering for wrong when their side commits it ( regardless of side ), but coming down like ton of bricks only when it is the other side doing it.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47261943)

the left made a HUGE deal about that... so why not now??? oh right because its their side that lost the emails.....

Re:Massive conspiracy (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47259581)

This is a massive conspiracy. The IRS is hopelessly corrupt. We need a special prosecutor and get people under oath. There needs to be a lot of jail time handed out, starting with the vile Lois Lerner.

For everyone that wants to jump to protect Obama... keep in mind republicans are likely to win the next election, and they'll have the opportunity to use the IRS in the same way if this doesn't get fixed. I personally think they're all scum.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

e3m4n (947977) | about 4 months ago | (#47259785)

repeal the 16th amendment! Id be for that.... considering nearly HALF of all the money they collect is spent on the IRS infrastructure its time to fire all those fucktards and start over.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47262289)

I'd prefer a use tax myself, income taxes punish people for creating wealth which just seems ass-backwards. But I'm no fool. Drastic changes like that are generally bad. Getting rid of income tax would have to be done gradually over a period of decades.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47263707)

"Half of the money they collect" is at best, incredibly misleading. At worst, it's a complete lie.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Hevel-Varik (2700923) | about 4 months ago | (#47259827)

I don't believe this is true at all. These institutions are not ideologically neutral. It's a progressive march through the institutions. So don't expect progressives to get behind that line of reasoning.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260025)

For everyone that wants to jump to protect Obama... keep in mind republicans are likely to win the next election, and they'll have the opportunity to use the IRS in the same way if this doesn't get fixed. I personally think they're all scum.

Or they win the next election, pretend to fix this problem, but instead continue to use this useless scare-mongering like they have for the past 3 Democratic Presidents. And 3 out of 5 past Republican ones who actually did corrupt things didn't get made to pay for it.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 4 months ago | (#47260217)

Oh you know, except where the Republicans control congress, and this whole situation is a result of Congress failing to give clarifying instructions to the IRS about whether or not a certain group can be tax-exempt while engaging in political advocacy.

The IRS is obligated to collect taxes, and was ordered to determine if groups were engaged in political advocacy, but given no instruction on how it was to proceed about this.

And how do you? You have to look at their materials, determine if they look like they're engaged in it such that they would be excluded, and then make a decision. Only this is a hazy process, with - again -- no clearly defined metric. Filtering based on keywords (of which "tea party" was not the only one) is one way to deal with the issue since those groups are probably politically affiliated and there was a huge increase in applications since Obama was elected.

As it was, roughly equal numbers of conservative and progressive groups got stung by this, a situation created due to congress not properly defining the way it wanted law implemented (but demanding it be implemented) and also not increasing funding for the IRS to hire more assessors for these types of applications.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47262247)

Like I said... they're all scum. So can we fix it now or are we going to continue to pretend there isn't a problem so you don't have to feel bad about voting for the same party constantly without ever looking at the details?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#47263423)

Sort of like how everyone warned the republicans not to use the nuclear option in Senate, because Dems would be able to use it later if they did.

Of course, democrats used the nuclear option regardless, so I guess we see how that works.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47259623)

In the private sector.... it is industry standard that enterprises ARCHIVE every message that goes in and out of their system. They do this automatically, for security and compliance reasons, and they have retention policies that govern the destruction of e-mail, so they can always answer legal requests made of them.

It seems like the IRS has ignored standard minimal industry security standards and found a complete end run around records laws, by maintaining a policy that seems to intentionally avoid creating records in machine-readable format, AND that doesn't make anything a permanent record, unless the employee who sent the message decides that it is worthy and preserves it by PRINTING IT [irs.gov] , and filing it with the papers.

This essentially GUARANTEES, that if e-mails are ever requested, there are going to be some lost.... routine hard drive failures can cause it to happen, if there was an oversight: and the employee accidentally failed to recognize that a crucial message needed to be kept as a record, OR if the employee maliciously decided to withold the e-mail from the printed record, so they could delete it later at any time they wanted, or press a big "PANIC" button and format the hard drive, before the formal orders came in to deliver records, if the staffer suspected they would come under intense scrutiny in a few months.

Re:Massive conspiracy (5, Informative)

plover (150551) | about 4 months ago | (#47259769)

Some companies have taken this in a different direction. They have a "delete all email after 30 days" policy, with no exceptions, except for legal holds required for gathering evidence in specific legal situations.

Having and following a policy are the only requirement. It doesn't have to be a rational policy, it just has to be a policy. A policy of timed destruction, even if it's only a month, fits the requirement, and it helps avoid deep legal fishing.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47259853)

Having and following a policy are the only requirement. It doesn't have to be a rational policy, it just has to be a policy.

I think 'small' must be very small here. This makes it difficult to do business. Also... while some enterprises can pick their own record retention periods; federal entities don't have this luxury, the legal requirement laid upon them by statute is to retain the complete set of all records ---- obviously printing damages the record by rendering the contents unsearchable, causing possible corruption loss of information, particularly regarding metadata, or the state of each bit in the attachments and message header.

Very often vital information will be in an e-mail message which will be needed beyond 30 days; sometimes an order might take 30 days from creation to shipment, sometimes the only copy of an invoice or a bill, and records of accounting department activities which need to be kept for 7 years, might be in an e-mail message. There may be important organization information; details about the network, intellectual property, stored nowhere else, except the employee's fallible brains.

The old e-mail might be vital for defending a case made against the company. Or it might be vital for prosecuting a lawsuit against other individuals or companies; without the content of the e-mail, for example, there might be no evidence that an employee sent out the trade secrets.

You can never be too sure that an employee didn't export a copy of some messages to their hard drive, tablet, or PC at home: messages, which might be required to be produced to satisfy an order.

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260223)

Email gets deleted from Outlook because managing hundreds of 3+ Gb pst files is foolish. The pst files do get backed up though. I know this because I had to restore a 95Gb one yesterday.

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

Simulant (528590) | about 4 months ago | (#47259683)


Having worked in government IT for a bit, I'd say their story is entirely plausible and not entirely unreasonable. How many years of backups should they be required to keep? But hey, don't worry. Congress shall pass laws mandating backups and we will spend millions on tapes to be used once until
subpoenaed.

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence"

In any case this is some petty, inconsequential, political bullshit we are talking about. Did the extra scrutiny result in anything? Anything at all?

Re:Massive conspiracy (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259761)

Yes it did. Those groups missed out on millions in donations during the 2012 election because they were not given their tax exempt status (Donors were waiting for that before giving because it is to take no more than 90 days according to IRS rules). That was the intention.

Whats in the emails is member lists of those that did donate being handed to liberal groups, like MoveOn, so they could harrass those individuals, which they have done. The IRS had no legal authroity to collect those lists, and they also had no authority to give thoses lists out to private groups.

In addition, 10% of people on those lists have been audited by the IRS. Currently the IRS is auditing less than 1% of income tax filiers.

So to sum up, it restricted freedom of speech, encouraged harrassment based on political views, and used the IRS auditing wing as an attack arm of the adminitration. But since it is people you don't like, its as you say inconseqential political bullshit that doesn't matter.

I'd say its profiling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262037)

"In addition, 10% of people on those lists have been audited by the IRS."

It seems only natural that the IRS would want to investigate the members of a group whos central platform is tax evasion.

How is this any different from the DEA targeting members or NORML?

Re:Massive conspiracy (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 months ago | (#47259797)

How many years of backups should they be required to keep?

In digital form? They should be required to have a backup of 100% of the years that they have done business, internal or otherwise, via email.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

rhazz (2853871) | about 4 months ago | (#47262339)

You realize that even backups degrade over time? This requirement would mean that every tape reaching a certain point in its life would then need to be backed up to a new tape to prevent data loss. Eventually the cost of backing up the backups would dwarf the cost of backing up your recent data. But hey, it's just taxpayer money...

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47263727)

You're kidding right?

Do you also propose that they maintain the hardware to restore these backups forever on whatever medium they were originally stored, or do you advocate they re-archive them to a newer format every 5 years until the eventual heat death of the universe?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 months ago | (#47265241)

Do you also propose that they maintain the hardware to restore these backups forever on whatever medium they were originally stored, or do you advocate they re-archive them to a newer format every 5 years until the eventual heat death of the universe?

Yes.

We are talking about email here, not a library of congress per day.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47265813)

Yes.

...then let me laugh even harder.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 months ago | (#47276533)

For someone with such a low UID, how is it that you are so astonishingly stupid not to think that backing up 100% of all email the IRS has ever received is a "laugh" ??

How ??

1 hard drive ca hold *billions* of emails. End of the fucking discussion with the ignorant low UID noooooob.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 4 months ago | (#47260083)

How many years of backups should they be required to keep?

How many years of records does the IRS expect taxpayers to keep? Imagine that you were audited and then the IRS lost the records of the audit and then audited you again. That would suck.

This appears to be slightly different -- if I understand correctly, the emails were downloaded to a PC (probably using POP3, not IMAP) and deleted off the server. Backing up every desktop system provides a lot of challenges. Backing up emails from a laptop that is rarely connected to the LAN is even more difficult.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#47262553)

Backing up archived email isn't difficult. No one is claiming the entire computer needs to be backed up.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47263201)

Government agencies are already mandated to archive email. I too have spend some time in government IT. A bit more than 6 years at one of the civilian agencies. We, like pretty much all government agencies, use MS Exchange and Blackberry Enterprise Servers. I just don't believe the IRS uses anything different. So all the email stayed on the server with a copy to the PC. The sever stores all the email on a SAN, which is backed up to tape, which in turn is stored in Iron Mountain. We kept email tapes for two years, except all political appointees email which is kept so a certain amount of time through the next administration. Sorry but I don't remember that exact amount of time. We also had procedures in place to extend the time on any one's email when a legal hold was placed, which was pretty often.

So for these turkeys to say that all email was kept only on each individuals PC is pure BS. This is a cover up, pure and simple.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1, Flamebait)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 4 months ago | (#47259687)

I think it's ok because it's against the nutjob tea baggers. They should just take their freedom elsewhere. This is the USSA!!

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

e3m4n (947977) | about 4 months ago | (#47259791)

just like marital affairs, if they will do it with you, they'll do it to you. Never marry someone who cheated on their spouse.

Re: Massive conspiracy (1)

Juan Mazo (2945277) | about 4 months ago | (#47259837)

I have to agree. We can all assume that exchange is being used. In an organization as large as the IRS, they need tons of standardization. Since things are standardized, the chances of data only being stored on a person local outlook cache is crapppppppppp. We all know that the exchange server had snap shots taken and that they had some sort of email archiving set up. Further, I think there emails are not only stored in some back up somewhere but I bet we can find proof of any malice. Reasons behind it? It's digital. There is no way we have zero proof. If we launch a third party investigation, they'll find it all.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1, Insightful)

hamburger lady (218108) | about 4 months ago | (#47259925)

The IRS is hopelessly corrupt.

because they did their due diligence when it came to applications for tax-exempt status, or because of the lost emails?

if the former, why shouldn't the IRS scrutinize applications for a tax-exempt status which disallows political activity* where the applicant group has 'Tea Party' in its title and description? isn't the Tea Party pretty much by definition a political movement? they also scrutinized 'progressive' groups for the same reason (IIRC 'progressive' groups were the only ones denied status), but you don't hear people on capitol hill yelling about that.

should 501(c)(3) status just be handed out without the application receiving any scrutiny at all? or should conservative groups get a pass and only 'progressive' groups get scrutinized? i honestly don't understand what's the actual scandal here.

*substantive lobbying and campaigning IIRC.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260361)

> why shouldn't the IRS scrutinize applications for a tax-exempt status which disallows political activity* where the applicant group has 'Tea Party' in its title and description?

Because the rules apparently say otherwise, they are supposed to ignore the group's name and the description of the group and instead look for other signs of political acitivty. Sorry, not enough of an expert to say what those other signs are. What it does look like is the employees themselves thought it was too hard (and they were understaffed) to follow the "rules" so they short-cutted.

From the report by the Inspector General of the Treasury [npr.org] :

Even employees in the IRS's tax-exempt unit were stupefied by the rules about which they had to make decisions. They were so confused, their bosses decided they needed hands-on training — after which an absurdly low and slow 2 percent application approval rate soared. Given the political sensitivity of this part of the IRS's work, you might have expected the training to happen sooner. The problems remain, however, according to the IG, and the guidance the workers labor under is vague at best. (Page 14)

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260575)

You don't even understand the groups that were interfered with. They were 501c4s, not c3s, main difference is the donations ARE NOT tax deductible. Irs targeted one side during an election year. If you're a Democrat, you probably don't see a problem, but remember, some day a Republican will hold that same power, and probably wont like having it suppress you causes.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260717)

In other news, the city of Springfield has been discovered giving parking tickets only to elderly Asian females and nobody else. hamburger lady thinks this is okay since they were actually parked illegally.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

nadaou (535365) | about 4 months ago | (#47261127)

> i honestly don't understand what's the actual scandal here.

hell, at least they haven't called it foogate yet.

there's no scandal, only active misdirection from the real issues.

Re:Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260041)

And a blowhard running around wearing tin foil hat declares that this is a conspiracy.

Stop the Fucking Guess-Ass Shit! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47260691)

Sorry for the language, but you don't know what the fuck you are talking about. You are guessing out of your ass based on fragments of info.

Idiot!

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#47260835)

While on the technical side, it looks like criminal negligence (after all your SMTP and POP server can certainly and usually is required legally to archive all email going through it, no need to archive on individual end systems), it may just be gross stupidity, incompetence and waste of taxpayer money. After all, they sot on the source, why should they spend it efficiently and competently if they can always suck more money out of the population.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 months ago | (#47260963)

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

It could be that they're just really, really bad at data retention, in which case other people need to face jail time. There are already laws for that.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | about 4 months ago | (#47264999)

Ok, but 10 simultaneous HDD failures of key individuals related to the targeting scandal? Seems like quite the coincidence.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 months ago | (#47269959)

Is that in the article? In true Slashdot fashion I know nothing about the situation, but comment like I'm an expert. It's endemic.

They had lied under oath and will, again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261007)

... We need a special prosecutor and get people under oath ...

The Obama administration has lied under oath, and they will gladly do it again, and again, and again, ad infinitum

As long as no one dare to prosecute those fuckers, the Obama administration won't give a fuck about justice, about laws, about the Constitution

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 months ago | (#47261401)

If I were a Judge connected with this, I would imprison those in charge in general population until such a time as the emails are recovered.
I suspect they will magically appear, hows that for IT troubleshooting?

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 4 months ago | (#47261581)

Lerner’s computer crashed in the summer of 2011, depriving investigators of many of her prior emails. Flax’s computer crashed in December 2011, Camp and Boustany said. The IRS said Friday that technicians went to great lengths trying to recover data from Lerner’s computer in 2011. In emails provided by the IRS, technicians said they sent the computer to a forensic lab run by the agency’s criminal investigations unit. But to no avail.

Well, to be fair, before everybody gets wound up and declaring 'massive' conspiracies, why don't we get them to tell us what they think the term "computer crash" means, and what exactly happened to her (for a start) computer?

How are these computers 'crashing' in such a way that a forensics team couldn't pull data off the drives?

What e-mail infrastructure does the IRS use?

Get a list of the people that the IRS head e-mail and subpoena the e-mails ON THEIR SIDE.

Let's also find out why people at the IRS seem to suffer an extraordinary number of catastrophic 'crashes' to their computer systems, especially the higher up the food chain you go. Don't they have top of the line firewalls, anti-virus, et cetera? I know that doesn't make anyone totally protected, but I am stuck managing all of the computers for my immediate and extended family and none of them have had drives with unrecoverable data (and believe me, some of them visit some sketchy sites and install whatever appears to be interesting, lol...)

Details people, details.

Hard to know what actually happened when people just use the term 'computer crash.'

Tax rebels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261765)

Think there might be a link between Tea Party/Libertarian groups and tax rebels who, for ideological reasons (not for personal gain of course) refuse to pay their taxes? Is there a possibility that the IRS was simply doing it's job?

Re: Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47263873)

The IRS did what it was supposed to... Not give away tax breaks. They also served their second purpose which is to harass political opponents and/or "criminals (which goes back to Al Capone)

Yes the IRS caused extra hassle on getting a tax break/election donation fraud after CU... Don't kid youself, these groups were set up to commit what was 3months earlier illegal campaign fraud... So the IRS was totally correct to hassle them... And that's what happened.. People were expected to PROVE they deserved the tax breaks. It's invasive, but its tax breaks and the IRS can do what they want. BEFORE investigation started most conservative groups got their exemptions and several liberal groups were blocked on the SAME audit process.

Congressmen and Attorneys call up the IRS to "hassle" parties THEY don't like "within the law" all the time. The Koch dogs didn't get their way after CU as quickly as they WANTED... And their Koch licking lapdogs are punishing somebody.

Re:Massive conspiracy (1)

billd10 (1889990) | about 4 months ago | (#47275547)

When our glorious emperor is involved and prosecution is the responsibility of his hand-picked criminal lawyer (he's the criminal) what can you expect? A private interest group may be able to use the Freedom of Information Act to get some of the data and then file a lawsuit. But the problem is that neither the news media or the general public cares as much about this as who's winning on "Dancing with the Stars." After all, our emperor has been doing this sort of thing since he was elected and the voters reelected him. "We get the government we deserve"

Massive conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47277385)

the trouble is a special prosecutor will likely take long past the next presidential cycle and depending on who is elected nothing may come of it.

you need a more investigative press or a public who cares

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259241)

Do these people not run Exchange or some other centralized emailing system? When I used to work as a systems administrator, none of the companies I worked for stored emails on the client side. It was all done through Exchange, held on the company servers and backed up to tape. If a client crashed, at most they lost a few minutes of unsyncronized drafts.

Re:Huh? (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 4 months ago | (#47259261)

Remember this IS the government we're talking about here. They aren't accountable to anybody but themselves. Notice how the IRS sent these computers to its own criminal investigations unit? Yeah...

Re:Huh? (2)

SteveWoz (152247) | about 4 months ago | (#47259421)

When you make the rules, you are right when you're wrong.

Re:Huh? (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 4 months ago | (#47260867)

Funny thing is I got down-modded...I figured that pointing out that any entity performing a criminal investigation upon itself is a pretty clear cut conflict of interest.

And oh...a response from the Woz himself! I actually had a professor who says he worked with you for a while around the time that the Apple III was in development. Also says he wrote the very first commercially sold word processor (or something like that) for Apple hardware. Perhaps the most knowledgeable teacher I've ever had to boot. I can't say I'm a regular Apple customer myself, but I've seen your work and my hat's off to you sir.

Huh? (1)

youngone (975102) | about 4 months ago | (#47259273)

Of course they do. This is just someone trying very hard to cover their arse. Not a very good attempt I would say.

Re:Huh? (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 4 months ago | (#47259387)

Of course they do. This is just someone trying very hard to cover their arse.

Simple (unrealistic) proposal for a new law: for every employee under investigation the IRS has "lost emails" for, American taxpayers get a free year to use the excuse, "Oops, I just lost the financial documents for my audit" without any punishment, fines, or further questioning. By my reckoning, we all should have absolute defenses against tax audits until 2021 so far.

That will stop this nonsense fast.

Re:Huh? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#47259727)

Hardly. Even if we could get such rules passed, we're talking about people covering their own asses against misconduct charges. Which would you prefer in that position? Having your job become more difficult, or releasing evidence that could land you, personally, at the wrong end of a federal court case? After all you'd better believe there's plenty of people still working there who would be implicated as well.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260175)

I agree. I like white people too.I'm white. The color of my skin is white. I look at the beauty of my skin, and say how lucky I am. I am not a monkey or a yellow temple gong, or a pouch of Red Man. I AM THE WHITE MAN. Thank heaven.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 4 months ago | (#47259275)

Yes, of course they do. And they do regular backups. This story only flies with people who are not knowledgeable about computers in a business environment. Apparently the IRS thought there were enough of those that the people crying bullshit could be made to seem like right wing loonies.

But this isn't a right wing vs left wing issue -- whatever the current administration gets away with, will be fair game for the next administration, regardless of party.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259349)

> Yes, of course they do. And they do regular backups. This story only flies with people who are not knowledgeable about computers in a business environment.

Actually, anyone who has handled email admin for a big business knows they have email "retention polices" [d4discovery.com] where they explicitly delete all email older than X days (often just 90 days) except for what each user deliberately saves off. They do it to preemptively destroy evidence that might be used against them. But they never say that, they always have reasons that sound legitimate to the credulous, like lack of resources or being appropriate to the business culture, etc. They also routinely over-write or discard the backup-tapes as part of that retention policy because that would defeat the purpose if they didn't.

I can totally believe that some chucklehead IT manager with experience in that sort of environment decided to implement the same polices for the IRS because it is an industry "best practice."

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259443)

Except that Federal Law requires that any record be retained, usually for years, sometimes for decades, occasionally forever. There is no way in hell that deleting all emails that the IRS has, after just 6 months, was legal.

And that the compliance office signed off on this policy for years. And that the Inspector General didn't object. And that the criminal investigations division, which relies on copies of emails between the IRS and citizens, also had this same policy.

Re:Huh? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 4 months ago | (#47259485)

Yes, but... he still has a point. If the "computer crashed" story doesn't fly for whatever reason, they might throw a local sysadmin under the bus for "implementing a typical industry email purge policy, not realizing that it's illegal for a federal entity to do so". Watch for that story.

Re:Huh? (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#47259601)

There are specific Fed regs for email. In fact, a hard copy is required. This is a blatant sham.

Re:Huh? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 4 months ago | (#47259617)

There are specific Fed regs for email. In fact, a hard copy is required. This is a blatant sham.

Agreed.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260517)

Agreed? WTF is that? This is not a matter of opinion either it is true or not. But instead of looking up the facts you "showed your support."

That's the kind of bullshit that comes out of people who don't care about the facts, they only want to be a part of a group.

Man you need to break out of the herd and learn to think for yourself. And none of that fake, "oh I am in the group of people who think for themselves" groupthink. I mean really go out and look shit up yourself. The way to really find out what's up is to go out looking for proof that you are wrong. That's because it is super easy to disbelieve the people you disagree with. What takes really intellectual honesty is to disbelieve the people you agree with. Look to prove them wrong and if you can't prove them wrong, then you know that you aren't being conned. Remember "con" is short for confidence - they work by getting your confidence, your trust. And once they have that trust, they use it to feed you a pack of lies. Don't let your very human desire to be part of a group keep you from finding out the truth for yourself.

Re:Huh? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 4 months ago | (#47260763)

That would have a lot more impact if you were a real person. As it is, it reads ironic.

Re:Huh? (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#47262881)

Instead of offering any sort correct and accurate "signal" of actual useful information you dump about 20 sentences, berating him adding to the noise. You are either signal or noise and you AC rant is the same crap you accuse him of.
http://www.irs.gov/irm/index.h... [irs.gov] You can see in the document they are held under FISMA standards and Their exchange was backed up regularly.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260369)

> There are specific Fed regs for email. In fact, a hard copy is required. This is a blatant sham.

You are making that up. Go ahead find the regs they don't say what you are claiming they say. Not by a long shot.
When you find them, post a link so everybody can see just how vague they really are.

Re:Huh? (1)

Straif (172656) | about 4 months ago | (#47262939)

Good enough? [irs.gov]

Re:Huh? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47263857)

In fact, a hard copy is required.

BWAHAHAHA!

Oh, man, you're killing me here. That's the funniest thing I've seen here in a long time.

Numerous government organizations use 90-day retention policies for email. They're deleted from the server, which is why people keep PST files -- which they probably shouldn't either, but network admins bend to the will of executives...you know, in every organization everywhere.

NARA makes pretty damned clear that the only federal government requirement for archiving email is when it's a "record" and goes on to describe what a "record" is.

http://www.archives.gov/record... [archives.gov]

The only argument here is if some of those emails constitute "records" or not.

Re:Huh? (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 4 months ago | (#47260167)

Actually, anyone who has handled email admin for a big business knows they have email "retention polices" [d4discovery.com] where they explicitly delete all email older than X days (often just 90 days) except for what each user deliberately saves off.

Except the IRS isn't a business; it's a government agency. It's completely irrelevant what retention policies businesses use because government officials work for and are accountable to the American people, amirite?

The alternative to saying "we lost the emails you want to use as evidence against us in a criminal inverstigation" is to hand over the emails and turn around to make it easier to put the handcuffs on. Not really surprising they chose the path they did.

eDiscovery Retention Policy (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 4 months ago | (#47260213)

>> anyone who has handled email admin for a big business knows they have email "retention polices" where they explicitly delete all email older than X days...to preemptively destroy evidence that might be used against them...

He's right. Here's a typical article relaying that point from last month:
http://resources.infosecinstit... [infosecinstitute.com]

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

subanark (937286) | about 4 months ago | (#47259415)

Government is also slow on the technology pickup. The university back home still only keeps emails up to 1 year on their servers (citing space issues) and tells teachers and staff to archive emails if they want them longer. Typically, email hasn't been a "must keep a record of this" on the list of documents you save. The only reason they still have the computers that crashed is probably due to a requirement that they be properly disposed of to avoid leaking out sensitive data, and they just didn't get around to disposing of them.

Fine, sure 3 computers crashed, they were probably way out dated and many computer equipment isn't built to last. How many computers did they retrieve emails from? What percentage of these 3 is of the total?

Re:Huh? (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 4 months ago | (#47259479)

Yea, I noticed that slow pickup at the NSA complex in Utah - those are Commodore 64's right?

Re:Huh? (0)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 4 months ago | (#47259523)

Bloody sycophant. Jeez. The computers of six people who were targets of Congressional investigation almost simultaneously crash and the backups deleted (without the effected computers having their emails restored shortly after the crash as would normally be the case) AND they can't locate the local or backup copies of the emails on the recipient computers or backup systems?

I guess for you it's Donkeys all the way down. . .

Re:Huh? (1)

plover (150551) | about 4 months ago | (#47259803)

It's not that uncommon. We had six computers in our area crash within days of each other. Of course, that was corporate IT idiots pushing out a BIOS patch that destroyed our disk encryption keys, rendering the devices utterly unrecoverable.

And two weeks after the "oops" incident? The bloody idiots re-pushed the patch across the board, because some computers didn't get it; the update software blindly installed it a second time, wiping all the freshly recovered disks a second time.

I simply cannot believe the IRS admins are any more competent than our IT department.

Re:Huh? (1)

Loki_1929 (550940) | about 4 months ago | (#47260149)

Did those six computers that crashed just happen to be the systems that belonged to the six people under congressional investigation for politically motivated abuses of authority? Did those six computers happen to include the email server(s) and associated storage devices and include any and all backups? And did all of that stuff just happen to crash in such a way that virtually nothing of any consequence was recoverable in a clean room? All happening at the same time as a congressional investigation began?

I don't believe their IT department is enormously competent. In fact, I believe quite the opposite. However, anyone who thinks this is anything other than a deliberate, coordinated campaign to destroy evidence linking higher-ups (not necessarily including the President, but not necessarily excluding him) is a complete idiot. I can believe their admins are incompetent enough to fail to maintain proper server-side retention policies. What I can't believe is that their regular maintenance plans include tearing out desktop and laptop hard drives and smashing them with hammers. And if you want to believe that, go right ahead, but you know and I know that it's bullshit.

Re:Huh? (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 4 months ago | (#47260251)

Well if you read any of the articles you'd note that what was missing in the original story was any email prior to 2011 due to the computer of the employee involved crashing in the summer of that year.

"The IRS was able to generate 24,000 Lerner emails from the 2009 to 2011 because Lerner had copied in other IRS employees. The agency said it pieced together the emails from the computers of 82 other IRS employees."

The IRS said in a statement that more than 250 IRS employees have been working to assist congressional investigations, spending nearly $10 million to produce more than 750,000 documents.

Overall, the IRS said it is producing a total of 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering the period from 2009 to 2013.

This is going to be "email of the gaps" because the Republicans are just desperate for a scandal they pin on Obama and gosh darnit Benghazi just isn't sticking!

Re:Huh? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47260619)

This is going to be "email of the gaps"

Destruction of evidence is another name for it.

and gosh darnit Benghazi just isn't sticking!

You should be more concerned. Just because it's your guy this time doesn't mean it won't always be. What Obama gets away with today will be what the future administrations will get away with. So his administration screws up security for an ambassador, he lies about it on TV for advantage leading up to an election, and there are no repercussions? Well, that's what a future Republican or possibly even a religious nutcase can get away with.

If his administration can contribute to the murders of at least a couple hundred people in Mexico and the US (the Fast and Furious thing), then that's going to hold for people you don't like too.

If his administration gets to use the IRS as a bludgeon to punish its opponents, then guess what's going to happen when someone you don't like gets in power?

Rather than brag about how legitimate scandals aren't sticking to your pet president, maybe you ought to think about the future and what's going to happen when others use those same tricks to avoid accountability and restraints on their power?

Re:Huh? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 4 months ago | (#47261683)

I like the part where you ignored the issue that none of this happened "yesterday" and all happened many years ago for apparently legitimate reasons, which are what happen when you don't ever fund an agency to update it's hardware and hire more IT support.

You know I bet if someone asked, they could probably figure out the average rate of computer failures in the IRS and put a number on the estimate rate of lost email correspondence. Probably work all that up into some kind of report, maybe the kind that congress would then ignore like they've done at every juncture because despite a 7 to 1 return on dollars invested at the moment, nobody ever wants to increase funding to the IRS to prevent tax fraud.

So no, I'm not concerned. Because like everything else once this fishing expedition points the finger back at bills and instruction which has Republican signatures from Congress on it as well they'll mysteriously lose interest in the problem. Oh, what's that about cutting funding for embassy security? That was championed by who again?

Re:Huh? (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#47262969)

I like the part where you deliberately Ignore the fact that the IRS has admitted their guilt in targeting Tea Party groups, and has fired people for their involvement in the actions and those implicated are pleading the fifth to protect themselves in front of courts. If they've done nothing wrong, then they have no need to plead the fifth as the truth would be revealed during the court cases. Ollie North may not have been guilty too, except that he was.

Re:Huh? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47266387)

I like the part where you ignored the issue that none of this happened "yesterday" and all happened many years ago for apparently legitimate reasons, which are what happen when you don't ever fund an agency to update it's hardware and hire more IT support.

Do you know why I "ignored" that? Because those weren't legitimate reasons. And it is interesting how the IRS also lost those emails on recipients' servers too.

Because like everything else once this fishing expedition points the finger back at bills and instruction which has Republican signatures from Congress on it as well they'll mysteriously lose interest in the problem.

It mystifies me how people can continue to make completely bullshit claims like this. You are the one not Congress who should be making sure that something like the IRS affair and subsequent destruction of evidence doesn't happen again.

Oh, what's that about cutting funding for embassy security? That was championed by who again?

Doesn't matter. Hypocrisy is no excuse for ignoring that Obama got away with lying about a serious problem where people died in order to win an election. It sets a precedent. When the Republicans do this instead of Obama, what are you going to do then?

Re:Huh? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 4 months ago | (#47267079)

Because like everything else once this fishing expedition points the finger back at bills and instruction which has Republican signatures from Congress on it as well they'll mysteriously lose interest in the problem.

It mystifies me how people can continue to make completely bullshit claims like this. You are the one not Congress who should be making sure that something like the IRS affair and subsequent destruction of evidence doesn't happen again.

Oh surprise surprise, this can't possibly be Congress's fault because that would imply the party with a majority there would somehow be responsible. Thanks for proving exactly my point.

Re:Huh? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47267181)

Oh surprise surprise, this can't possibly be Congress's fault because that would imply the party with a majority there would somehow be responsible.

Both parties have majorities. And this really is a stupid excuse for ignoring malfeasance. Further, it is worth noting that the IRS shenanigans started after several requests [reason.com] by congress members. So Congress may well be involved, just not in the way you expect.

Re:Huh? (1)

tacokill (531275) | about 4 months ago | (#47262879)

Keep dreaming with your head in the sand. If you can't buck up and admit there's a problem here, there is no hope for you. You're a partisan and your opinion is rightly devalued.

The IRS itself has stated Lerner's emails from 2009 - 2011 have been lost. That is a problem no matter who's side you are on. It's not about "pinning" something on Obama, it's about keeping the IRS (and all government agencies) in check so they aren't abusing their power.

Re:Huh? (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#47262899)

If you look at the IRS MAnual wqhere it explicitly states they backup their exchange server according to FISMA standards regularly and offsite, or they are non compliant.

Re:Huh? (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 4 months ago | (#47260541)

Government is also slow on the technology pickup. The university back home...

You do realize that the government doesn't run universities, right?

Re:Huh? (1)

srichard25 (221590) | about 4 months ago | (#47259931)

The IRS, like most big government agencies, are mostly filled with people who support big government agencies. On average, the leaders of these big government agencies are unlikely to be sympathetic to a party that claims to want to shrink the federal government (whether they actually do so is a topic for another thread). If the next president is a Republican, he/she is unlikely to get the IRS leadership to attack liberal groups like they have attacked conservative groups.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260109)

I'm not sure that comparing administrations is really useful here. If Cheney were involved he would have:
1. Told congress "suck my dick"
2. Shot them in the face after they swallowed.
3. And then ignored them while the stacked courts also ignored them.

While that might be funnier, it's not from a results standpoint more useful. Democracy still suffers.

Re:Huh? (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 4 months ago | (#47260199)

Well, even here on /. we have people yelling right-wing loonies so, yeah, they didn't have to stretch very far to win that battle.

Re:Huh? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 4 months ago | (#47261533)

No. If it's a right wing party in power then the national media will stay on top of them like stink on shit. ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN will run continuous stories about the scandolous behavior of those right wing politicians and demand an end to the coverup. Look here, we have the IRS admit to being guilty and liberals line up to say that the IRS did nothing wrong. It's mind blowing. I fully believe that President Obama could rape an 8 year old girl on the White House lawn and MSNBC would say it was a neo-conservative plot and find a way to make it Bush's fault. Not that the President would do such a horrible thing, I actually kind of like the guy on a personal level he seems like a good person. Sadly good people seldom make good presidents (Jimmy Carter).

Too Late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262529)

Bush White House email controversy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_White_House_e-mail_controversy

"Conducting governmental business in this manner is a possible violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978, and the Hatch Act.[1] Over 5 million emails may have been lost or deleted.[2][3] Greg Palast claims to have come up with 500 of the Karl Rove lost emails, leading to damaging allegations.[4] In 2009, it was announced that as many as 22 million emails may have been deleted.[5]"

Capcha "habeas"

Re:Too Late... (1)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 4 months ago | (#47266669)

This is not comparable. The Bush email system was an attempt to obey the law - specifically, the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act prohibits using government property to engage in partisan politics. The NRC and Bush set up a private email system and issued laptops that would use that system so that communications with the NRC would not run afoul of the Hatch Act. There were allegations that some governmental business was conducted on this email system. Also, the LA Times stated only that "thousands" of emails may have been lost - not 5 million. The 5 million allegation came from a partisan report citing "confidential sources." The NRC was not obligated under the law to retain emails. The IRS was obligated to retain and print hard copies of the emails and the "crashes" occurred shortly after Congress launched an inquiry.

Re:Huh? (1)

jwhitener (198343) | about 4 months ago | (#47267375)

They do, and their official policy is 6 months of tape backup. After that, it is gone/overwritten. Whether the IT department followed the rules or not having only a 6 month retention period, I don't know.

Re:Huh? (1)

packrat0x (798359) | about 4 months ago | (#47259331)

Do these people not run Exchange or some other centralized emailing system? When I used to work as a systems administrator, none of the companies I worked for stored emails on the client side. It was all done through Exchange, held on the company servers and backed up to tape. If a client crashed, at most they lost a few minutes of unsyncronized drafts.

Yes, the IRS runs Exchange. Yes, they have back-ups of the servers. However, back-ups from more than 2 years ago may age out. Thus, if you wait 2 years and dd if=/dev/[zero|urandom|random] the harddrive, you can make emails hard to recover.

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 4 months ago | (#47259691)

2 years is a ridiculously short time to "age out" email archives. Especially for an agency that takes longer than that to handle basic interactions. I just got a call last month from the IRS regarding the estate of a relative who passed in 2011. And the IRS claims they have the authority to go back six years for substantial errors so I'd expect them to be keeping their emails at least that long. More realistically, I'd expect them to keep their emails indefinitely. Storage is getting cheaper faster than email accumulates. What does the average person accumulate in a decade? 5 gigs? IRS has around 90,000 employees so that's 450,000 gigs of data give or take. Shit, I've got 32,000 gigs of storage 2' from me. I could expand that to 78,000 by swapping in bigger hard drives. And 144,000 by swapping in bigger drives and adding more ports. That's with stuff I could order from Newegg and assemble on the dining room table. If I went with real equipment, the only limit would be my wallet.

Last company I worked for, had been archiving email for years before I started and hadn't thrown out (or lost) a single email when I left 5 years later. If legal needed something from 2005, they'd give me the particulars and I'd plug them in and the system spit out a compilation of every message that met the specs. I also made an image of every employee's hard drive when they left the company before I put a fresh image on their computer. Just in case they'd stored something important on their local drive instead of their department's server. Only needed that a few times but the cost was so negligible we spent more on donuts and bagels than storing drive images.

Their failure to have a redundant, secure archive of such recent email is either intentional destruction or gross incompetence.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259771)

Yes, I'm sure your homebrewed 'system' would have saved the IRS.

I'm sure your experience is easily scalable to say 150,000 employees if you count turnover. Why that's barely petabytes of data.

But your real ignorance is showed here. "What does the average person accumulate in a decade? 5 gigs?" You're not an actual email sysadmin, are you? In most businesses, it's easily 5GB of data PER MONTH that go through an employees inbox/filters. PDFs, videos, pics, etc.

Shit, I was an email sysadmin at a ~100 person company, it was about 10GB per day of archives. Scale that to the IRS (even though it's probably low for them) and that's 10TB per day for 100,000 employees. Or 7.5 petabytes in 2 years. All organized & stored on hardware the government can buy ie 5 years out of date.

But, yeah, I'm sure you thought of all those constraints, right? Dipshit.

Re:Huh? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 4 months ago | (#47259807)

Maybe if your employees weren't emailing so many dick pics, the traffic wouldn't be so high. My email archive of nearly 20 years is 5 gigs. I quadrupled that. Dipshit.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262769)

Not archive. Every single email, ever. Extrapolated to the IRS, who probably deals in lots of large returns, statements, etc. I'm guessing you didn't consider that. At all.

Re:Huh? (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 4 months ago | (#47261061)

Why do we have idiots all time disputing the technical side of comments? Translating to english, the man said "if I can do it, they surely can do it, and they have vastly more resources than my company".

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262711)

Because he know fuckall about scale?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261343)

10GB per day in email? For 100 people? What the fuck were they emailing? Full size photos? Video footage? Sounds like you were doing things badly.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47263739)

Business documents. Including, yes, fullsized, high res PDFs, large spreadsheets, and yes, lots of personal pics/vids/etc, too. Add in the stupid footer images that corp often makes you put in every email. It adds up to a LOT every day.

If you think 100kb of email per day per user is a lot, you haven't actually done email administration.

Re:Huh? (1)

packrat0x (798359) | about 4 months ago | (#47263169)

I said "may" age out, subject to official policy and budget constraints. Alternatively, emails related to assigned case files need to be saved, archived on CD, and/or printed out for the case file. Emails with general instructions such as "Ask for more information from 501(c)'s which have to following words in their name..." are considered internal, and not case related. The email servers are for work only, so most email is plaintext or attached PDFs / Word DOCs. The emails probably use less space compared to what you would see from private accounts.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259955)

Actually, according to what the IRS says, at the time they "aged out" backups at 6 months. They had absolutely no archival backups whatsoever.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259367)

I have seen a number of companies do it too. I even tried to change it, but got yelled at by my boss who said it wasting server space.

Re:Huh? (1)

wannabe (90895) | about 4 months ago | (#47259743)

An exchange server is not infallible or the primary source of discoverable data. The exchange server follows the rules of archiving and message expiration set out in the agency policy. Some organizations have a 90 to 120 day expiration as a default. This is done to prevent over discovery of email archives during a law suit, as well as to maintain some reasonable limit on data storage. If an organization has a competent general counsel, this will be strictly enforced. This means that the local client will contain either a pst or ost (in an exchange environment) that can be pulled that may contain trace elements of the synchronized mailbox. The local pst copy, both deliberate and incidental, do not have the expiration limits that are enforced on the server side. This means the local pst may contain years worth of messages, contacts, appointments, and other stuff. It's a treasure trove of discoverable data, but it's also at the mercy of the hardware / software environment on the client side. Unfortunately, a simple delete and compact on the local pst will mess up most ability to recover anything not in the active portion. This means, it's bye-bye for all intents and purposes.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260479)

> The local pst copy

It's important to remember that Microsoft intentionally hid the .pst export in newer versions of Outlook. You now have to do the hidden File -> Open -> Import -> Export to a file dance to create a .pst file. No logical person that wants to export to a .pst file would ever click on Open, much less Import, to do an export.

Re:Huh? (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#47260841)

Basically, the only systems that can run non-centralized email systems are Unix-like systems with static IP addresses. I had one such local mail-server running when I had a Linux-box with static IP at University. Other systems cannot really support that and usually SMTP is firewalled anyways, so the central server for inbound and outbound is not only needed, but also technically enforced in addition. The only explanation is that they were unable to archive the emails on that server. Probably incompetence. After all, the government gets the most incompetent sysadmins as they pay the worst and have the worst working conditions.

NSA to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259263)

Not to worry. NSA has a copy.

Re:NSA to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260017)

A congress person in the house is already requesting this.

Put them all in Jail. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259271)

And throw away the key.

These are the kinds of people whom solidify in the mind of the protester the need for Violent Radicalization, and in the mind of the Patriot, the need for Terrorism and Civil War. That path invariably ends in sorrow; nearly every revolution and insurrection has resulted in the election of a despot. America is one of the very few historical example of a civil consequence of Revolution, and it's people very much so, despite it's governments best efforts, believe in a higher existence.

You can only "Nudge" people so far before they break (Yes I'm referencing this book: ISBN 978-0143115267, because so many policy makers think of it as a bible)

Also, the individual who asked or ordered them to do this; that person, jail.

Also, any organization which requested this, those people, charge with treason, then either publicly execute or jail.

Re:Put them all in Jail. (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 4 months ago | (#47259321)

America is one of the very few historical example(sic) of a civil consequence of Revolution

America was .

FTFY.

Re:Put them all in Jail. (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 4 months ago | (#47259489)

Sad, isn't it?
Oh wait, America needs to be apologized for because we are the "Great Satan". Never mind,

US Government is Hopelessly Corrupt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259277)

What's the matter with you, America? In Europe we go through governments like fat people go through Cheetos. Why can't you people kick these criminals out? They just keep getting re-elected over and over and over again.

I just don't get it.

Re:US Government is Hopelessly Corrupt (1)

callahan2211 (1963904) | about 4 months ago | (#47259379)

"Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result" translated to voting parlance "Voting for the same people over and over again and expecting a different result". Conclusion, the American voter is insane.

Re:US Government is Hopelessly Corrupt (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#47260845)

May also be "unable to learn from experience", commonly also referred to as "stupid". Probably both.

Re:US Government is Hopelessly Corrupt (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#47263027)

Because you usually have more than 2 parties in Europe. We don't.

How do we blame this on BOOOOSH!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259295)

This is all BOOOOSH!

Re:How do we blame this on BOOOOSH!?!?! (1)

felrom (2923513) | about 4 months ago | (#47260193)

Bush appointed Lois Lerner.

You laugh, but for the segment of Slashdot still hung up on blaming everything on Bush, this is their go-to response to this whole mess.

Here's one... http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Decision made to intentionally lose email. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259297)

Having worked in Government IT before. What I can say is that the standard IT model is to not keep any data, especially email, stored primarily on the local desktop pc. What ever is happening is deliberate for sure. The standard model is to have a working copy - your outlook inbox on the local pc, at most, if its not stored on the MS exchange server which it should be to meet any records retention policies. So, to lose the email, they would have to have lost email for the entire exchange email server, and, all of its daily backups, weekly, and monthly backups for the past 2 years, and the hard drives of the local desktop computers. Then, once a critical failure occurred they would have had to purposely made the decision to not restore the backups to retrieve the email, and intentionally lose it. Its managements responsibility to make sure that never happens also.

Re:Decision made to intentionally lose email. (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 4 months ago | (#47262695)

about 10 years ago an article about "Losing History" as result of govt leaders using email. We can look at letters and notes written by Roosevelt, Churchill, and others to see what they were thinking when making major decisions. But with emails that are volatile historians years from now will not be able read the same by Bush, Cheney, and others.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259299)

Bullshit. The same laws apply to me. My email is not "stored on my computer". While it is cached, there are many parts of law that prohibit it from being stored there, starting with the Official Records Act. All email that I send that provides any official direction is stored IAW the official records act. To do otherwise is a crime.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259449)

> there are many parts of law that prohibit it from being stored there, starting with the Official Records Act.

Probably does not apply to "work product" aka the daily crap that most people email during work. The ORA is swiss cheese. The last couple of presidents did their damndest to make sure their emails never entered the permanent records and they all got away with it.

NSA: For All Your Backup Needs (4, Funny)

Carnildo (712617) | about 4 months ago | (#47259337)

I'm sure the NSA has copies. Perhaps someone should request them?

Re:NSA: For All Your Backup Needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259551)

Re:NSA: For All Your Backup Needs (4, Informative)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 4 months ago | (#47259559)

Some already did:

http://news.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

Re:NSA: For All Your Backup Needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259793)

Which is kind of stupid of the congressman. He should be asking the Chinese.

Re:NSA: For All Your Backup Needs (1)

sethradio (2603921) | about 4 months ago | (#47259665)

No, honey, the government does not spy on the government. (Ignore the whole intelligence committee/CIA debacle that has Dianne Frankenstein up-in-arms)

Re:NSA: For All Your Backup Needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260751)

But we were assured that data was only to find turrists.

Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259347)

Assuming they are responding to a subpoena, this is perjury on the face of it. There is no way the crash of a desktop workstation could destroy the contents of a hard drive at the level that all the 1's and 0's are not recoverable by forensic analysis. Not to mention the server and backup records.

Unless the "crash" was a laptop in an airplane crashing into an erupting volcano. Or the disk was overwritten many times by a military grade eraser program and them filed down with an industrial sander.

Peaple need to do serious jail time for this. If this passes without consequences, it will be used by both parties repetitively in the future and the government will become even less accountable in the future.

Wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259355)

Are the jackass repubs still fucking this dead story? Tons of libs targeted too. As if they give a shit about that.
They can burn.

No Democratic groups were targeted (2)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 4 months ago | (#47259429)

Tons of libs targeted too.

Name one.

As far as I know, the only "liberal" groups that were targeted were liberal groups that were also against the current administration. Pro-Democrat Party groups, on the other hand, were not targeted.

This is absolutely a political issue and a gross overstepping of power on behalf of the current administration and they absolutely should be investigated for it.

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259473)

How about a bunch [thinkprogress.org] to upset the little lies you're told on AM radio to get up your dander.

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 4 months ago | (#47259501)

So you go for a biased site rather than the Inspector General's report?

Bravo!

Keep enjoying your Kool-Aid.

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260397)

> So you go for a biased site rather than the Inspector General's report?

You mean the inspector general report that said, "We did not review the use of other named organizations on the BOLO listing to determine if their use was appropriate." (page 6) That report?

Don't confuse absence of evidence with evidence of absence.

But the report did say: "All of these officials stated that the criteria were not influenced by any individual or organization outside the IRS. ... Specifically, only first-line management approved references to the Tea Party in the BOLO listing criteria before it was implemented." (page 7)

Here's what I think, I think that you haven't read the report yourself and are instead relying on people with an axe to grind to interpret it for you.
So, here' s my gift, a link to the report itself. [treasury.gov]

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259585)

Like many ThinkProgress articles, that article just throws a bunch of b.s. up in the air and hope something sticks to the right people.

If you have an argument to make it, make it. Stop posting such incoherent garbage.

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 4 months ago | (#47259637)

I'm pretty sure that article actually proves my point, but it's impossible to tell, because the very first thing they do is throw up a histogram where they should be using a pie chart. (At least, I think those bars are showing percentages. It's hard to tell because their method of data collection is utterly inscrutable.)

But it looks like the "progressive" groups that were targeted were almost exclusively pro-marijuana groups. You know, progressive groups that are against the current administration's policies. Which is what I said: the only progressive groups targeted were those that went against the current administration. (Remember, while Obama may be left of center, many progressive groups are even further left.)

Groups backing the current administration were simply not targeted. Only those against it - be they right or left of the administration - were targeted.

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (1)

dcollins (135727) | about 4 months ago | (#47260311)

'At least, I think those bars are showing percentages."

Can you not read the label on the y-axis? It says, "APPEARANCES ON THE WATCH LIST".

And anyway, the 3rd bar (the next one higher than Tea Party groups) is for "Acorn Successors", ACORN being the group that many Republicans blame for electing Obama in the first place [thinkprogress.org] . So your arguments seem to be in a shambles.

Re:No Democratic groups were targeted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260413)

> But it looks like the "progressive" groups that were targeted were almost exclusively pro-marijuana groups. You know, progressive groups that are against the current administration's policies.

Of course the overwhelming majority of groups being created are ones who are unhappy with the status quo. I'll bet you a quarter that less than 1 group that had a goal of maintaining the status quo even tried to register.

Re:Wtf (2)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 4 months ago | (#47259645)

Nice BS AC. Try again. The IRS Inspector General's office stated in a letter that only 6 groups with “progress” or “progressive” in their names were given any scrutiny at all for potential political activity, while 70 percent of “progressive” groups received no additional scrutiny. The letter continued, “In comparison, 100 percent of the tax-exempt applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were processed as potential political cases” and subjected to intrusive scrutiny. Finally, the letter concluded that it “did not find evidence that the IRS used [the term “Progressive”] as selection criteria for potential political cases.”

Further, all of the leftist political groups received their approval very quickly whereas most of the tea part groups have waited years and still haven't received approval of their applications! The reason why "repubs" are still "fucking this dead story" is because it isn't dead you brain-dead fucktard. Nixon merely wanted to use the IRS to oppress his political opponents but was denied - Obama fucking succeeded!

Re:Wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259795)

To be fair, he learned these techniques from Bush Sr and Jr.

Re:Wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260429)

> Nice BS AC. Try again. The IRS Inspector General's office stated in a letter that only 6 groups with “progress” or “progressive” in their names were given any scrutiny at all for potential political activity

No it did not. See for yourself [treasury.gov] The IG report does not even contain those words, I just did a full-text search myself. What the report does say is, "We did not review the use of other named organizations on the BOLO listing to determine if their use was appropriate." In other words the IG did not concern itself with the question of what other groups were scrutinized.

I can see through it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259361)

Transparency! Transparency! Transparency!

Move along people, nothing to see here.

Do they have ANY emails of their employees??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259363)

Seriously...

Check the backup tapes

Waaaaaaaait a second. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259365)

Why would the user's computer crashing destroy the emails on the server? Why wouldn't the IRS have backups? Isn't this agency's core competency knowing about records and stuff? Can you imagine if GM or Microsoft was accused of evading taxes and all of the incriminating emails vanished due to tragic accidents just as they were subpoenaed? How about an ordinary peasant like you or me?

Even assuming client side storage of email wasn't a ridiculous proposition, what kind of "crash" would render it unrecoverable via forensics? Was it accidentally left on an artillery range? Perhaps it accidentally fell into a nuclear explosion? Were the hard drive platters accidentally dropped into a particle accelerator?

Also, how did the crashes affect all the employees who would have had knowledge of executive branch involvement at the same time? Was it just a tragic "bring your hard drive" field trip where all of the IRS's executive leadership left their emails next to an MRI machine or something?

Email recipients (4, Interesting)

sir-gold (949031) | about 4 months ago | (#47259369)

Can't they subpoena data from everyone else at the IRS who sent or received emails from the employees under investigation?

By it's very nature, there are always 2 copies of every email, one on the sender's PC and one on the receiver's PC.

Re:Email recipients (5, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 months ago | (#47259453)

. . . unfortunately, the receivers' disk have also crashed.

It should be pretty obvious to everyone now. The IRS is not going help the investigation. If fact, they are obstructing it.

Re:Email recipients (2)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about 4 months ago | (#47260131)

Careful, a naive individual may mistakenly assume that something like this is against the law.

Re:Email recipients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261769)

The IRS' job is to collect money from every US citizen and corporation, for redistrubition to every Government agency. Can you say, 'cut off nose to spite the face'? This is a crap shoot all around. The IRS will ll obstruct. It will be a political hot potatoe. A few people might get sanctioned or go to jail. And in the end, nothing will happen. Politically, it's pointing fingers and op-ed damnation of the other side.

If there's one thing I'm certain of, from a lowly citizens p.o.v., the concept of equal justice when applied to inter-agency officials in lieu of political scandals is wholly warped. Since it doesn't involve sex or terrorism, it isn't personally damning to anyone, or a false/real threat to National Security.

Thus, this is a vanilla scandal and will be treated as such. Save the outrage for something that isn't over before it began.

Re:Email recipients (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 4 months ago | (#47259457)

I'm not sure they can do that. I think subpoenas need to have a "target" - you can subpoena Fred Smith for any emails he sent; you can subpoena John Doe for any emails sent, and fill in the correct name when you've been able to determine who it is, but you can't subpoena "anyone who sent emails to this address", because you have no way to serve such a subpoena.

Re:Email recipients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259607)

Nope, but you can sure as fuck subpoena someone for all the emails they have sent to or received from a certain person.

Re:Email recipients (1)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 4 months ago | (#47259667)

They subpoena organizations because the systems are theirs - not the individuals. Hence, the subpoena was directed to the IRS. They also need to be directed to the organizations that Lerner and her flunkies communicated with - the White House, the DOJ & the FEC. Of course, Obama will then assert "executive privilege."

Target is clear (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#47260365)

You can target everyone who was sent or sent mail to anyone who lost email - you find out who that is simply by gathering a list of everyone that person communicated with a month before and after the period they lost the email for. You might miss a few people in the middle but it would be pretty close, and you'd probably get most of it.

Re:Email recipients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259497)

Who were the recipients? And what of the emails these 7 people (the subjects of this investigation) sent to each other?

Re:Email recipients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259991)

Can't they subpoena data from everyone else at the IRS who sent or received emails from the employees under investigation?

Emails to or from other employees of the IRS are of minor interest.

The really interesting emails are the ones sent or received from the staff of the Executive branch. Who in the Executive branch knew what and when? And especially, did the orders to target Tea Party and conservative groups come from the Executive branch and/or the White House?

Re:Email recipients (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | about 4 months ago | (#47265593)

The IRS has already used this tactic to obtain internal emails. This is why the controversy is over the loss of external emails, which cannot be recovered by IRS IT personnel. Of course, it is the external emails that are the most damaging to political interests.

And you also need to know who they sent email to in order to check their local machine for copies of the email. And if 6 of those recipients just happened to also accidentally have hard drive crashes in the same time period, well, you wouldn't be able to find out what those 7 were talking to each other about. But that's a little far-fetched. I doubt that would ever come up.

B.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259371)

Obviously a coverup by the IRS. Anyone working in IT knows this is B.S. or total incompetence.

what kind of hardware failure can do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259375)

“It is unfortunate that the IRS experienced equipment failure that resulted in several computers crashing and some email data being lost from Lois Lerner’s hard drive between 2009 and 2011,” said Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. “But every equipment failure is not a conspiracy. The IRS has taken every step to restore the data, and has already retrieved the emails sent internally during that time period from non-impacted computers.”

What kind of equipment failure, loses data from more then one computers hard drive AND the email server?

Maybe raid failure? And email is never stored locally on the client, and no one noticed and the backups overridden?

It's possible I guess :/ - I'm not sure how much I'd believe it though.

Re:what kind of hardware failure can do this? (2)

phrackthat (2602661) | about 4 months ago | (#47259471)

What about where the emails were sent? The emails that were "lost" were sent to the White House, the Department of Justice (Lerner sent other emails that we know of trying to coordinate with DOJ to try to drum up prosecutions of Tea Party groups) and the FEC to try to target any alleged political speech. Each of these departments should have independent backups and records on each of the recipient's computers.

A member of the House has already sent a request to the NSA for any metadata [arstechnica.com] it may have on Lerner's emails. Hopefully this will help track down any "lost" emails and who the recipients were.

Re:what kind of hardware failure can do this? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 4 months ago | (#47259491)

Don't hold your breath or you'll turn blue and pass out.

Re:what kind of hardware failure can do this? (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 4 months ago | (#47259653)

We call that kind of hardware failure a "Rose Mary Stretch".

what kind of hardware failure can do this? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 months ago | (#47259711)

The kind of hardware failure that keeps gov retained emails clean and safe. Meetings posted to all staff, the need for more equipment, tasks many staff know about, that tasks have been completed, the good reviews, requests for office supplies and everything that can be trusted to a court or search by any entity at anytime.
With some projects you dont use gov networks with backups. With some projects you use federal gov cleared .com email accounts via contractors for the duration of a task.

Re:what kind of hardware failure can do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259713)

The same type of failure that lost the Bush White House emails? How easy it was to lose all emails then, but now? Impossible! Just another thing Obama has continued from his predecessor. Of course, all Republicans are now against this.

Re:what kind of hardware failure can do this? (0)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47263621)

just like how all democrats were saying what the GOP is saying now back then right?

The loss of emails under bush was deplorable, the fact that emails disappeared this many years after it already happened makes this even worse. And the fact that the people who were so butthurt over the lost emails back then are not equally butthurt over it now is very telling.

Fp ta+3o (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259385)

So they didn't try to retreive the data? (0)

future assassin (639396) | about 4 months ago | (#47259439)

You'd figure the gov would have access to some powerful hd data forensics teams. Shit I just saved a very important HD that was failing with lots of bad sectors and slow as hell using Acronis backuo. I'm sure a freezer and some other recovery software would worked.

IRS or NEW KGB of US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259455)

They are covering their buts and the man that put them up to it. They no longer serve the US population as a bias government organization. WELCOME TO THE NEW KGB OF THE US..

They don't want you to know what else they did. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259483)

No wonder I got audited after donating to Ron Paul. First time I ever donated. First time I ever got audited in over 20 years of working to pay other peoples bills.

Some questions (5, Insightful)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about 4 months ago | (#47259495)

Sorry to repeat myself, but this was a late post to the first incarnation of this story.

Sharyl Attkisson (investigative reporter formerly with CBS) has posted some questions [sharylattkisson.com] that should be asked:

  • Please provide a timeline of the crash and documentation covering when it was first discovered and by whom; when, how and by whom it was learned that materials were lost; the official documentation reporting the crash and federal data loss; documentation reflecting all attempts to recover the materials; and the remediation records documenting the fix. This material should include the names of all officials and technicians involved, as well as all internal communications about the matter.
  • Please provide all documents and emails that refer to the crash from the time that it happened through the IRS’ disclosure to Congress Friday that it had occurred.
  • Please provide the documents that show the computer crash and lost data were appropriately reported to the required entities including any contractor servicing the IRS. If the incident was not reported, please explain why.
  • Please provide a list summarizing what other data was irretrievably lost in the computer crash. If the loss involved any personal data, was the loss disclosed to those impacted? If not, why?
  • Please provide documentation reflecting any security analyses done to assess the impact of the crash and lost materials. If such analyses were not performed, why not?
  • Please provide documentation showing the steps taken to recover the material, and the names of all technicians who attempted the recovery.
  • Please explain why redundancies required for federal systems were either not used or were not effective in restoring the lost materials, and provide documentation showing how this shortfall has been remediated.
  • Please provide any documents reflecting an investigation into how the crash resulted in the irretrievable loss of federal data and what factors were found to be responsible for the existence of this situation.
  • I would also ask for those who discovered and reported the crash to testify under oath, as well as any officials who reported the materials as having been irretrievably lost.

Re:Some questions (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 4 months ago | (#47259583)

Good. Someone with a functioning brain cell is asking the right questions.

Re:Some questions (5, Insightful)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about 4 months ago | (#47259909)

Exactly. Now you see why she is a *former* CBS investigative reporter.

Re:Some questions (1)

AlienSexist (686923) | about 4 months ago | (#47260227)

+ Mod this, so right on.

Re:Some questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262873)

In the wrong fucking place

Re:Some questions (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 4 months ago | (#47259599)

One more:

How many emails does it take to equal 18 minutes of tape?

Re:Some questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259695)

On one hand, this insane level of documentation is the primary cause of unnecessary bureaucracy that contributes to the inefficiency of many large government agencies & corporatins.

On the other hand, this is the agency that tried to fine me $15,000 if I could not find a copy of a five year old schedule C, so no sympathy. I look forward to someone from the DOJ doing to the IRS what the IRS has been doing to the people.

Re:Some questions (2)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 4 months ago | (#47260237)

Please provide a list summarizing what other data was irretrievably lost in the computer crash. If the loss involved any personal data, was the loss disclosed to those impacted? If not, why?

The data was obliterated, not taken. Any personal data is gone, and disclosure implies a scenario that didn't happen. In other words no one would be impacted. Keep in mind that this was a personal laptop and not a server.

Re:Some questions (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#47264703)

keep in mind they are now claiming "multiple computer crashes" so no it was not "just 1 laptop" and if you honestly believe it was only 1 laptop prior to the info about more systems you are a useful idiot

Re:Some questions (1)

Reziac (43301) | about 4 months ago | (#47274005)

The obvious question: have the emails also disappeared off all the *recipient* computers??

Cuz if not, they can be retrieved.

If so, it's a miracle.

Re:Some questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261569)

Easy replies... "I'm sorry... we lost all documentation in the crash's crash."

Snake eats tail... game, set, match.

Re:Some questions (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47263911)

Why is this so hard to understand?

The IRS doesn't archive mail. It backs up its Exchange servers for disaster, but not for endless archiving, because there is no requirement for them to do so. [NARA says so.]

Someone with a laptop had their laptop crash in 2012 and lost a PST file, or someone upgraded them to Windows 7 and didn't back up their personal junk. Astonishing!

Re:Some questions (1)

alexo (9335) | about 4 months ago | (#47265175)

  • Please provide a timeline of the crash and documentation covering when it was first discovered and by whom; when, how and by whom it was learned that materials were lost; the official documentation reporting the crash and federal data loss; documentation reflecting all attempts to recover the materials; and the remediation records documenting the fix. This material should include the names of all officials and technicians involved, as well as all internal communications about the matter.
  • Please provide all documents and emails that refer to the crash from the time that it happened through the IRS’ disclosure to Congress Friday that it had occurred.
  • Please provide the documents that show the computer crash and lost data were appropriately reported to the required entities including any contractor servicing the IRS. If the incident was not reported, please explain why.
  • Please provide a list summarizing what other data was irretrievably lost in the computer crash. If the loss involved any personal data, was the loss disclosed to those impacted? If not, why?
  • Please provide documentation reflecting any security analyses done to assess the impact of the crash and lost materials. If such analyses were not performed, why not?
  • Please provide documentation showing the steps taken to recover the material, and the names of all technicians who attempted the recovery.
  • Please explain why redundancies required for federal systems were either not used or were not effective in restoring the lost materials, and provide documentation showing how this shortfall has been remediated.
  • Please provide any documents reflecting an investigation into how the crash resulted in the irretrievable loss of federal data and what factors were found to be responsible for the existence of this situation.
  • I would also ask for those who discovered and reported the crash to testify under oath, as well as any officials who reported the materials as having been irretrievably lost.

All those documents were meticulously collected but unfortunately lost in a computer crash.

Lots of computers crashing? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#47259509)

Coincidence?

I have this mental picture of lots of computers flying off the roof of a building. Or cars backing over them mysteriously. Something like a Monty Python sketch.

Re:Lots of computers crashing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259603)

They employ 90k people. You're thinking the loss of 7 people's email accounts is "lots"?

You're this guy, eh? http://xkcd.com/705/

Re:Lots of computers crashing? (2)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#47260161)

They employ 90k people. You're thinking the loss of 7 people's email accounts is "lots"?

Sorry. My bad. I run Linux, Unix and Mac systems. I forgot all about the poor fools stuck with Windows.

Re:Lots of computers crashing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261281)

Someone once said something along the lines of "One is an accident, two is a coincidence, any more is malice."

Re:Lots of computers crashing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261675)

They employ 90k people. You're thinking the loss of 7 people's email accounts is "lots"?

You're this guy, eh? http://xkcd.com/705/

When it's 7 for 7 subpoenaed email accounts?

Yeah, that's "lots".

Re:Lots of computers crashing? (2)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#47263087)

If 7 is the entire sample size, that means 100% of the emails they've been looking for have been missing.

More likely a specialized program (1)

Marrow (195242) | about 4 months ago | (#47259697)

Pop this program on, and "Poof" you have a crash that is guaranteed to wipe the stuff you wanted to hide and do it in a way that is undetectable.

Re:More likely a specialized program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259829)

DBAN?

Great Length? (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 4 months ago | (#47259519)

Who has the "great length"? Obama, Lerner, Pelosi Reid, Jarrett, Levin. They couldn't get a great length between them combined! I pray for a fatal yeast infection and prostate cancer to strike them all!

Re:Great Length? (1)

stevez67 (2374822) | about 4 months ago | (#47259661)

I see you're working on your humanitarian award ... got to love when you leave your decency and morality at the door and proceed to wish pestilence on people simply for not agreeing with you.

why doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259549)

someone investigate all these corrupt illegal organizations (mostly right wing, "tea party") that are claiming to be tax exempt, even tho they are primarily political.
Looks like a vast right wing conspiracy to commit tax fraud and steal elections

Congress Churns, Federal Institutions Do Not (3, Interesting)

Scot Seese (137975) | about 4 months ago | (#47259571)

Senators and Representatives blow like the leaves during elections, but our federal institutions persist. Their executive personnel may turn over, but the organization doesn't.

You can have as many Senate hearings and bluster on CSPAN as you like, possibly even terminate and reappoint senior level officials, but the organizational mission of the NSA & CIA is skullfuckery, treachery and manipulation, and the IRS exists to refill the wallet of the federal government every way imaginable.

What will come of this? Well, a probe into data archiving pract Oh look a tornado just wiped out a town out West and one of the Kardashians is pregnant again. Just a sec, gotta look at Reddit on my iPhone. What were you saying?

but LEGALLY, how do you proove (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | about 4 months ago | (#47259573)

that an email on someone elses computer came from the shown recipient ?
after all, people could be going to jail, or loosing their pensions: it is not enough to say, hey, lets look at other hard drives; you need forensic chain of evidence.

Re:but LEGALLY, how do you proove (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259701)

NIST 800-45 Non repudiation

Pretty sure they are required to follow NIST standards.

Re:but LEGALLY, how do you proove (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47259787)

that an email on someone elses computer came from the shown recipient ?

Seeing as the IRS is running Exchange. It is very convincing if an e-mail is in their mailbox showing a certain sender. The forensic analyst will be able to analyze the mail object more closely and find the X500 or X.400 address of the sender.

Since generating such a message from the mail server requires Send As security permission, and use of Send As can show up in the audit trails; this is quite difficult to forge.

They could also corroborate by reviewing the copy of the mailboxes on the mail server, which are even more secure.

Re:but LEGALLY, how do you proove (1)

Eristone (146133) | about 4 months ago | (#47260011)

Everyone keeps asking "how do you lose it" -- and it is fairly simple actually. They are running Exchange so they implement a maximum mailbox size of 100-200MB. There isn't even a need to have a message retention policy. Mailbox fills up, the end user is told to move mail to a .PST file. .PST files are stored on your local system ("do not put .pst files on the shared storage because that space will fill up too quickly" - remember that statement?) and then just have the local drive crash, or the user move to a new computer and not get everything transferred over. Standard IT policy and it all goes bye-bye and there isn't a conspiracy to make it happen.

Re:but LEGALLY, how do you proove (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47263927)

This explanation - the simple obvious one - is posted in every thread here, and people are too damned blind to get it.

The IRS doesn't archive exchange, they only back it up. Huge difference.

Some dudes lost some PST files. Whee!

Gotta love the right wing conspiracy nuts (0)

stevez67 (2374822) | about 4 months ago | (#47259619)

In fact the IRS was scrutinizing the left wing organizations too. This is just trolling biased BS.

Re:Gotta love the right wing conspiracy nuts (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 4 months ago | (#47260165)

According the IRS Inspector General [washingtonpost.com] , that actually wasn't the case. It was overwhelmingly conservative groups.

Re:Gotta love the right wing conspiracy nuts (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47263981)

All of you idiots keep linking that without reading the actual report

Page 6

We did not review the use of other named organizations on the BOLO listing to determine if their use was appropriate.

Can you read the things you link for us? Do you see that the "investigation" didn't even both to review other named organizations? Yes, the BOLO list included "Tea Party," but the report didn't bother to look at any of the other names on the BOLO list.

"Tea Party" absolutely found more conservative groups, but there's no indication if "ACORN" was on the list(spoiler alert: it was!), and if it absolutely found more liberal groups.

Re:Gotta love the right wing conspiracy nuts (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 4 months ago | (#47265405)

From the report (specifically page 6) [washingtonpost.com] :

In August 2010, the Determinations Unit distributed the first formal BOLO listing. The criteria in the BOLO listing were Tea Party organizations applying for I.R.C. 501(c)(3) or I.R.C. 501(c)(4) status. Based on our review of other BOLO listing criteria, the use of organization names on the BOLO listing is not unique to potential political cases.16 EO function officials stated that Determinations Unit specialists interpreted the general criteria in the BOLO listing and developed expanded criteria for identifying potential political cases.17 Figure 3 shows that, by June 2011, the expanded criteria included additional names (Patriots and 9/12 Project) as well as policy positions espoused by organizations in their applications.

Furthermore, the criteria for expanded scrutiny:

Figure 3: Criteria for Potential Political Cases (June 2011)
“Tea Party,” “Patriots” or “9/12 Project” is referenced in the case file
Issues include government spending, government debt or taxes
Education of the public by advocacy/lobbying to “make America a better place to live”
Statement in the case file criticize how the country is being run

Certainly seems to skew HEAVILY towards tea party/conservative groups...

Now, given I've read the report and quoted DIRECTLY from it (I've linked the report for you), who's the idiot, and who's the one that swallowed the story from the progressive/liberal side of things that would love to see this go away? Who benefits from the IRS "losing" the e-mails? The same group that wants this to go away. Essentially, the liberal side of politics in the US.

Re:Gotta love the right wing conspiracy nuts (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47265799)

You keep repeating the same tired argument.

"We added 'Tea Party,' '9/12,' and ''Patriots' to the BOLO list."

And then they specifically fail to mention the other watchwords they put on the BOLO list which weren't right-leaning. ...and they specifically mention in the report that they didn't bother to look. The "16" in your quote is the footnote you keep ignoring where it says exactly that.

Re:Gotta love the right wing conspiracy nuts (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 4 months ago | (#47267151)

So - back at you. You keep claiming that progressive groups were targeted just as much, and had as much screening. What terms were used to identify them? What was the actual rate of progressive groups that were targeted, delayed? Why didn't the Inspector General and the IRS apologize for targeting them?

Re:Gotta love the right wing conspiracy nuts (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47267331)

Absence of proof isn't proof of absence.

The fact that the report had to specifically call out the fact they didn't look at any other BOLO triggers speaks volumes. It might just be saying they didn't want to invite any more controversy, but it certainly says something.

Re:Gotta love the right wing conspiracy nuts (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 4 months ago | (#47268283)

Cool. So your belief - absent facts - that others must have been just as bad as what we have definitive proof AND admission for, is all you have. In other words - empty faith. And when it comes to legal action, absence of proof IS proof of absence.

Let's simplify this (1)

BobandMax (95054) | about 4 months ago | (#47259641)

The Congress should provide a list of all IRS employees under suspicion so that the IRS can lose all their emails and documents from the relevant period. Then, the Democrats will declare the investigation closed and we can move to the next scandal. P.S.: I got this plan from Harry Reid, Thanks, Harry!

how about joe peon, clerk level 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259685)

can you find HIS emails?

Sure Like Exchange isn't a distributed Database. (1)

Jonathan Cox (3512819) | about 4 months ago | (#47259719)

It is just like the executive team to bogus the IT team to cover this mess up they created. The one in power to pull this card knows the truth hurts really really bad! I for one believe in the all mighty statement on the US dollar "IN GOD WE TRUST" to cover the honest in this country!

So what, they "lost" emails... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259731)

Just fire them all and start from scratch with a simplified tax code. If they complain then treat them as terrorists.

How email works (1)

neurosine (549673) | about 4 months ago | (#47259741)

So, we are expected to believe that all government email resides on individual workstations, as opposed to a centralized server that gets backed up reguarly? That's simply absurd.

Re:How email works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259843)

Actually their software procurement process probably stipulates the following features:

- Don't store anything that might embarrass us
- Make sure everything goes poof the moment anyone asks questions
- ...unless it can be used to make money, then keep that forever + infinity * 2

Really, I expect my e-mail is backed up in at least a million places, including the NSA, the cloud, everyone that wants to sell me something (which is everyone, all the time).

I suspect some weird conversations came out of this:

        "So, we need all the e-mail stored on his desktop computer."

        "...ah...yeah...sorry, no. That crashed and the data was unrecoverable."

        "We'll take the hard drive."

        "...ah...yeah...sorry, no. We shredded the hard drive."

        "We'll take the e-mails of anyone they were corresponding wit..."

        "...ah...yeah...sorry, no. Those machines all crashed as well."

        "We'll have to talk to all the people involved to try and piece everything back..."

        "...ah...yeah...sorry, no. All the people crashed and we had to shred them."

        "..."

Metal tipped flog and list of IRS managment (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about 4 months ago | (#47259783)

Oh mymymy  a memory loss easy enough to fix.  Gub'mnt hacks crumble like sugar-cookies. Line up the top 100 IRS managers and pass out metal-tipped flogs to 100 small-business owners recently audited. Start at the top ...  fat kitty, first with extra points for being an Obama.nation pimp.  Bet it wouldn't take .....  but the first 5-10 screams-of-pain to get those emails unlost.  Whose next ??

Great News! (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 4 months ago | (#47259805)

Evidence of the act of document destruction should be harder to cover up than the documents themselves. Now it's x7! Obama is going to have no choice now but to throw all seven under the bus to avoid impeachement. Usually I am a pessimist, but I'm predicting actual jail time for at least one of the seven.

Re:Great News! (1)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about 4 months ago | (#47260101)

IRS officials working at the direction of the Whitehouse? Facing jail time?

You must be new here. There's nobody on the planet more safe from jail time.

Re:Great News! (1)

Megane (129182) | about 4 months ago | (#47261553)

Obama is going to have no choice now but to throw all seven under the bus to avoid impeachement.

Considering that the process of impeachment makes the entire (Democrat majority) Senate the jury, with no strike-outs, I don't think he has much to worry about. Besides, if he was impeached AND kicked out (note that Clinton and Nixon were impeached but not kicked out, Nixon resigned, Clinton didn't), we'd have to have Biden be president. Now that's what I call job security.