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IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the but-please-keep-your-tax-records-forever dept.

Government 682

phrackthat (2602661) writes The Senate Finance Committee has been informed that the IRS recycled the hard drive of Lois Lerner, which will deprive investigators of the ability to forensically retrieve emails which were supposedly deleted or lost in a "crash." This news comes after the IRS revealed that it had lost the emails of Lois Lerner and six other employees who were being investigated regarding the targeting of conservative groups and donors.

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Fox News? (0, Troll)

mrbill1234 (715607) | about 3 months ago | (#47270953)

/. is really going downhill....

Re:Fox News? (4, Insightful)

pastafazou (648001) | about 3 months ago | (#47270997)

can you find the story on the Washington Post or the New York Times? If so, maybe you could provide a link, and we can compare the details included or omitted by each source. If, on the other hand, all you want to do is take a cheap shot at Fox news, then maybe you should be modded down as a troll....

Re:Fox News? (2, Funny)

mrbill1234 (715607) | about 3 months ago | (#47271059)

I would love to be a fly on the wall in the Star Chamber where all the MSM other than Fox news conspire together.

Re:Fox News? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271167)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/irs-lost-lois-lerners-emails-in-tea-party-probe/

It is a shame to NBC and ABC when even CBS is doing their job to some degree.

Re:Fox News? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271173)

I found a left-wing take on the missing emails.. http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITI... [cnn.com]

Re:Fox News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271455)

The past gov offices I've worked at always had a maximum exchange server per user capacity of just a few hundred MB. I'd regularly have to delete old emails in order to stay within capacity. I was encouraged to download the old emails into an achieve on desktop, but due to roaming profiles sometimes that would get lost as well. Luckily I never dealt in anything critical that might be needed later.

Re:Fox News? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47270999)

I wouldn't necessarily look upon this as a partisan attack or the babbling of conspiracy theorists, although there probably is some of both in the mix. The reality of the situation is that people in public office and certainly people at that level need to have all official e-mails archived. Relying on the un-backed-up hard drive of a computer as the sole repository of official communications is complete insanity. Heads need to roll over this. They wouldn't accept this as an excuse when they're chasing after private citizens for this or for that. And to top it all off, the information probably does exist somewhere on a government server ... controlled by the NSA. It's out of control.

Re:Fox News? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47271301)

I'm just baffled as to how IT managed to avoid being lynched by the cube drones if their standards for data retention and redundancy are in fact that low.

People hate losing data, and storing it the employee's HDD (except as an expendable cache purely for speed and bandwidth purposes) is roughly equivalent, once you have a decent number of people in the office, to just randomly deleting some sucker's email every week or two. Even in complete absence of any legal requirements, the users would either switch to unofficially using some shit webmail service or rise up with pitchforks in short order.

I am less than convinced by the alleged nonprofit status of some of the poor, wounded, groups whining about their treatment by the IRS; but the IRS sure is doing an excellent job of looking guilty as hell right about now.

Re:Fox News? (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 3 months ago | (#47271409)

Maybe their data retention is 3 months. And higher ups didn't understand what that meant and called it a crash/purge/accident/whatever.

I don't believe there are any actual regulations on how long you have to keep data, other than to have a stated length of time. I know that's how it worked where I was an email admin. We decided on 6 months. And legal okayed it. 6months & 1 day, it's all gone.

Re: Fox News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271447)

I wonder why they didn't bother looking at the email servers that house all of the emails sent? I am making the assumption that they were sending emails using their official irs email accounts...

Re:Fox News? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271021)

They hit bottom long ago and have been aggressively digging, I'm surprised they haven't drowned, as far below the water table as they have reached.

Here comes hope and change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271053)

Yeah, this site is now a liberal echo chamber. But don't worry, soon Obama will bail them out.

Re:Fox News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271067)

For quite some time now /. has been sounding to me as a 'murica filled rightist hideout.

Re:Fox News? (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 3 months ago | (#47271069)

"We've been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away," - Sen. Orrin Hatch:Finance Committee

What exactly prompted you to attempt that lame non-sequitor to Fox News? How exactly does it support any position that this did not happen, which was your obvious attempt to imply?

Re:Fox News? (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 months ago | (#47271185)

Because Fox News paints it like this was some sort of sudden nefarious act by the IRS and fails to give relevant facts. Politico [politico.com] gives a much more detailed explanation that makes it less like a grand conspiracy. Lerner's HD crashed in 2011. It was replaced. IT threw away the old drive because it wasn't functioning. When facts are presented, it doesn't seem like it's that big a conspiracy.

Re:Fox News? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 3 months ago | (#47271299)

Why were her emails allowed to be on only her laptop/desktop HDD?

Re:Fox News? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 months ago | (#47271341)

They were not "only" on her computer. They were also on the Outlook server; however, the IRS only keeps 6 months of emails. The GOP wanted all copies of her emails and they may have been on the computer in her .pst file. I say "may" as those files become corrupt themselves and have max file size, etc.

Re:Fox News? (5, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 3 months ago | (#47271263)

"We've been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away," - Sen. Orrin Hatch:Finance Committee

What exactly prompted you to attempt that lame non-sequitor to Fox News? How exactly does it support any position that this did not happen, which was your obvious attempt to imply?

OK, here you go: The hard drive containing her emails "crashed" (it was unusable and could not be recovered by the IRS IT staff) and as a result, it was recycled/destroyed and replaced with a new one. The actual source was a Politico story which, besides conjecture, contained only this brief line of concrete information:

“We’ve been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away,” Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said in a brief hallway interview.

So, unless there is some compelling reason to think that the drive was corrupted purposefully, or the recovery was disingenuous, then all you have here is SOP for any IT department (fix what's broke). Yet the only thing we see on Foxnews.com is a story painted to look exactly like the uncovering of a conspiracy (see all the other rants about impeachment for an example of how severely people are overreacting to this.)

Anything else I can help with?

Re:Fox News? (1, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 months ago | (#47271317)

Why is no one in these meetings asking the fecking obvious question - why were her emails only stored on the one hard disk? What happened to the server side store? The archives? The on site backups? The off site backups?

Re:Fox News? (1, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47271081)

/. is really going downhill....

The media in general is going down hill. As much as Foxnews shills for the republicans, this is probably the biggest story of the year, yet it's missing from nearly every other news organization in the country.
http://www.nytimes.com/ [nytimes.com]
http://www.latimes.com/ [latimes.com]
http://www.pbs.org/topics/news... [pbs.org]
http://www.cbsnews.com/ [cbsnews.com]
http://www.nbcnews.com/ [nbcnews.com]
http://abcnews.go.com/ [go.com]

I checked every one of those and there's no mention of it.
Obama could get IMPEACHED over this. This is turning into a Watergate level scandal.
It could all be coincidental, but seriously? The IRS doesn't archive email? REALLY?

Re:Fox News? (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#47271123)

Or it could be FAKE NEWS and the others refuse to report on made up bullshit? A Lot of news outlets are prone to make shit up. CNN did that over and over, Fox news has, etc...

Until I see at least three separate reported stories on different sources of it with complete information, I treat everything reported on Fox news or ANY other news outlet and 100% bullshit.

Our fucking news sources are 90% entertainment and 10% professional today.

Re:Fox News? (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47271271)

Or it could be FAKE NEWS and the others refuse to report on made up bullshit? A Lot of news outlets are prone to make shit up. CNN did that over and over, Fox news has, etc...

Until I see at least three separate reported stories on different sources of it with complete information, I treat everything reported on Fox news or ANY other news outlet and 100% bullshit.

Our fucking news sources are 90% entertainment and 10% professional today.

How about directly from the lips of Orrin Hatch?

“We’ve been informed that the hard drive has been thrown away,” Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, said in a brief hallway interview.

http://www.politico.com/story/... [politico.com]

Re:Fox News? (5, Informative)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 3 months ago | (#47271333)

Or Leahy, Democrat from Vermont (since Hatch is a Repub):
"You can't erase e-mails, not today, They've gone through too many servers. They can't say they've been lost. That's like saying, 'The dog ate my homework.' They're there, They know they're there, and we'll subpoena them, if necessary, and we'll have them."

Re:Fox News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271291)

Our fucking news sources are 90% entertainment and 10% professional today.

You're giving them WAY too many professionalism numbers there. Maybe even an entire power more.

Re:Fox News? (1)

kick6 (1081615) | about 3 months ago | (#47271439)

Or it could be FAKE NEWS and the others refuse to report on made up bullshit? A Lot of news outlets are prone to make shit up. CNN did that over and over, Fox news has, etc... Until I see at least three separate reported stories on different sources of it with complete information, I treat everything reported on Fox news or ANY other news outlet and 100% bullshit. Our fucking news sources are 90% entertainment and 10% professional today.

First you say that "others refuse to report on made up bullshit." Then you go on to say that, basically, all the MSM reports on made up bullshit. Color me confused.

Re:Fox News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271191)

> As much as Foxnews shills for the republicans, this is probably the biggest story of the year,

You don't get out much, do you? Step *outside* the Tea Bagging Party, and pay attention to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, growth in technology hiring, the failure to eradicate polio, or the actual funding of the Tea Party by the Koch Brothers. Heck pay attention to the reviews of the summer movies!

Re:Fox News? (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 months ago | (#47271247)

The IRS doesn't archive email? REALLY?

Apparently.... either they are in violation of the law, or we really need a new federal records act, requiring that all electronic documents pertaining to business be preserved in their original electronic form and backed up in at least two places, with yearly verification that the backup is working: with industry standard security controls to ensure that individual employees, regardless of status, are not allowed to omit, alter, or remove items from the record; technical measures are used to enforce the requirement; and, administrator actions to override the technical requirement are logged and audited and admin audit logs are backed up to at least two pieces of write-only media at different geographic locations.

Re:Fox News? (2, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 months ago | (#47271251)

Maybe the media doesn't report it because it's not that big a story. Politico [politico.com] did report on it and they presented with many more facts that makes it seem like less a story. Fox News paints it like the IRS suddenly destroyed an old HD. In reality, the HD crashed in 2011 and was replaced. Being broken, IT threw it away. End of story.

Obama could get IMPEACHED over this. This is turning into a Watergate level scandal.

For that to happen, Obama would have to be involved. So far EVERY single detail of this so called "scandal" has uncovered that the President knew about it. Most likely because the actions of every single bureaucrat doesn't involve the President. Basically it's the GOP trying anything they can to oppose the President. Fake scandals like this one are just another tactic. And guess what, you're the sucker the GOP/Fox News is targeting.

It could all be coincidental, but seriously? The IRS doesn't archive email? REALLY?

Well if you read another source other than Fox, you would have known that the IRS keeps 6 months of emails. The GOP is asking for emails that go back 3 years.

Re:Fox News? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 months ago | (#47271267)

Edit: That the President didn't know about it.

Re:Fox News? (1, Flamebait)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 months ago | (#47271155)

Welcome to the world of hyper-partisan liberals, who don't want the anointed one to be blamed for anything.

Come on, liberals. This is now beyond the scope of Watergate, if you have even the most base level of integrity you already know this. If you don't, you're either woefully ignorant on a site that's supposed to be for geeks, and you don't even understand the basics of how back-ups are done, and multi-mirrored arrays come into play. Or you're so hyper-partisan, so fucking bigoted that you should be questioning your entire belief system at this point.

White collar prison (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47270959)

More people need to go to prison for "white collar" crimes. The brash disregard of the law has turned into an epidemic because everybody with an ounce of clout is let off the hook with a slap on the wrist.

Re:White collar prison (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271003)

More people need to go to prison for "white collar" crimes. The brash disregard of the law has turned into an epidemic because everybody with an ounce of clout is let off the hook with a slap on the wrist.

Who would go to prison though, the person who ordered the mail to be deleted, or the IT admin who received an order from above to do something that he thought shouldn't be done (just like nearly every other order he gets from management)?

Re:White collar prison (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271215)

All of them.

Put them all in a cell together with Bubba and see which one keeps his asshole intact the longest. Sounds like a new reality series.

Re:White collar prison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271237)

The person in the management position which is responsible for data retention would go to prison. That's what being responsible means. And yes, the IT admin too, if he participated. That environment of "do the right thing and get fired, do the wrong thing and you're protected" is exactly what's causing this. There needs to be a real downside to doing the wrong thing, and it needs to be worse than getting fired, or this will keep happening.

Re:White collar prison (5, Interesting)

Joel Cahoon (2906501) | about 3 months ago | (#47271453)

More people need to go to prison for "white collar" crimes. The brash disregard of the law has turned into an epidemic because everybody with an ounce of clout is let off the hook with a slap on the wrist.

Who would go to prison though, the person who ordered the mail to be deleted, or the IT admin who received an order from above to do something that he thought shouldn't be done (just like nearly every other order he gets from management)?

You seem to be implying that it would be unjust for the IT admin, who was "only" following orders, to suffer consequences for his illegal actions. I do not agree, but you have raised a crucial point; let's follow this course of thinking to its logical end.

If the lowly peon isn't held accountable for his direct actions, then the next time management asks him to do something wrong or illegal, there's one less reason for him to refuse. If he refuses, he can be assured of repercussions from management, but experience has shown him that threat of legal consequences is low if he complies; the path of least resistance is clear.

But, if you do hold him accountable for his direct actions, this has some interesting indirect effects, aside from the obvious direct consequences. The next time he or someone else is asked similarly to do something wrong or illegal, he's got to weigh the consequences on both sides. These concerns can be raised to the manager making the request as a reason (that would be less likely to result in repercussions for the IT admin) not to comply. Even if the threat of legal repercussions alone is not enough to deter the IT admin from complying with an illegal request, his moral or ethical views coupled with this threat may be enough to change his actions. The manager will have a harder time finding an IT admin to perform unlawful acts on his order. The threshold of reasons to even request such acts will be raised.

Let's not forget that the primary reason laws exist is to shape societal behavior; punishing or "rehabilitating" individual deviance should come secondary, as means to this end. If laws are not enforced, in this particular case if we let people off too frequently for "just following orders," then the laws can never have their intended effect: to prevent this whole stupid fiasco from happening in the first place.

That being said, let's not forget that overly broad interpretation and overzealous application of laws can result in witch-hunts which can be just as harmful, for reasons not entirely unrelated. Balance.

How Convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47270961)

I guess the backup tapes were recycled as well? Perhaps the IT staff should be charged with Obstruction of Justice?

A conversation about destroying evidence constitutes a conspiracy.

Re:How Convenient (5, Insightful)

pastafazou (648001) | about 3 months ago | (#47271027)

You're absolutely correct, and everyone with any idea about IT knows this. Every story about this on the 'net has plenty of comments suggesting it too. So why don't the folks on the committee asking questions know it?

Re:How Convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271145)

Because most members of our government know next to nothing about the Internet, IT, or any of what runs the modern world.

As a former backup/DR instructor who had to talk about SOX and a myriad of other data retention requirements, I shake my head at this.

How deep is the rot in Washington? (5, Interesting)

pastafazou (648001) | about 3 months ago | (#47270965)

The politicization of the IRS should be the biggest scandal ever. How many other institutions are being used to pursue a political agenda instead of their true function?

Re:How deep is the rot in Washington? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271101)

How about the NSA searching and seizing all communications of US citizens? Or the drone program executing US Citizens without a trial? Or the torture, or the selling of drugs to fund rebels. While the IRS is an important issue, and one that targets open source software as well, biggest scandal ever is a stretch.

Re:How deep is the rot in Washington? (0, Troll)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47271193)

Another ignorant fox watcher. We've covered many times how the IRS enforcing Tax Law and ensuring that nonprofits file for nonprofit status under the proper section of law is NOT ILLEGAL and NOT A SCANDAL. But hey, dont let the repeated facts and debunkings stop your ignorant roll. The GOP in congress doesnt, and theyve got over 25000 pages of findings and several hearings, that all produced jack squat so far in actual actionable material.

As for the emails.....not surprising. Government computers die all the time. Cause they suck. Old peices of trash. Horrible software bloat too, things required to run in background for security. And government IT's solution nearly always the same: Wipe it and reimage it, or "here, have a new(ish) computer".

Re:How deep is the rot in Washington? (4, Informative)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 3 months ago | (#47271367)

Hatch (R) and Leahy (D) both disagree with you and they're in a better position to judge than you are.

Re:How deep is the rot in Washington? (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47271435)

Selective enforcement is a violation of the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection.

right-wing spin (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47270969)

They targeted groups for their anti-IRS activities, not because of their conservative politics. That is a typical Tea Party spin of this story. Even if they were targeting conservatives, it wouldn't be any less fair than the FBI/NSA targeting liberals, which it did for decades.

Re:right-wing spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271009)

They targeted groups for their anti-IRS activities

Which still means the IRS broke the law.

Even if they were targeting conservatives, it wouldn't be any less fair than the FBI/NSA targeting liberals, which it did for decades.

So what you are saying is as long as the government is spying and committing illegal acts against both the left and the right, you are okay with it? Two wrongs or something...

Re:right-wing spin (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 3 months ago | (#47271141)

Which law?

Re:right-wing spin (2)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47271241)

44 USC Section 3101 et seq, for one:

3101. Records management by agency heads; general duties

The head of each Federal agency shall make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency and designed to furnish the information necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the agency's activities.

Re:right-wing spin (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 3 months ago | (#47271279)

That is not the situation he was talking about. He was saying their actions in questioning the groups.

Re:right-wing spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271189)

No, that is your interpretation of what I'm saying. What I'm clearly saying is that the story of targeting of anti-IRS groups such as the Tea Party, was conflated FOX-news-style in the post to being the IRS targeting "conservatives", which is a lie. ( Large numbers of conservatives have no problem paying their fare share of taxes. )

And I clearly did not say that it was ok. But IRS abuses are only part of the picture, and conservatives aren't the major focus of the abuse.

Re:right-wing spin (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 3 months ago | (#47271031)

Open source = anti-IRS?

left-wing spin (1)

pastafazou (648001) | about 3 months ago | (#47271055)

They targeted likely opponents of the Obama administration in an attempt to impede the flow of funds to their opponents. It is a clear politicization of a department of the government that shouldn't be politicized. Any other interpretation of this is spin.

Re:left-wing spin (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47271201)

Another myth repeated without factual basis.

Re: left-wing spin (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271375)

http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/14/read-the-inspector-general-report-on-the-irs-scandal/

The IRS inspector General disagrees with you.

Re:right-wing spin (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271063)

BULLSHIT!!!!

A bushel of Pinocchios for IRS’s Lois Lerner [washingtonpost.com]

In the days since the Internal Revenue Service first disclosed that it had targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, new information has emerged from both the Treasury inspector general’s report and congressional testimony Friday that calls into question key statements made by Lois G. Lerner, the IRS’s director of the exempt organizations division. ...

The Pinocchio Test

In some ways, this is just scratching the surface of Lerner’s misstatements and weasely wording when the revelations about the IRS’s activities first came to light on May 10. But, taken together, it’s certainly enough to earn her four Pinocchios.

FWIW, "four Pinoocchios" is as bad as it get when it comes to lying.

And that was over a year ago, before 12 months of foot-dragging culminating with seven cases of "the dog ate my hard drive."

Re:right-wing spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271425)

When the revolution comes I hope you're first against the wall. I'd happily pull the trigger myself.

whistling (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47270971)

I am sitting here trying to imagine the look on a judges face as I explain the same type of personal misconduct....

yeah, that's right, the Do you think I'm stupid? look.

Re:whistling (3, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 3 months ago | (#47270995)

The question to ask is: Did the drive get destroyed prior to a retention order being issued?

If so, then that's SOP; Dead hardware is recycled.

If not, someone goes to jail.

Re:whistling (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271111)

It may be SOP for the physical drive itself, but is there not an IRS policy in place mandating that data be retained for some minimum number of years? If they were not certain there was another backup of information covered under this policy, is it not misconduct regardless of the timing of a retention order?

Re:whistling (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#47271243)

if they used MS Exchange then you can have email delivered to the pst file which means it will be deleted from the server after a few weeks and probably won't be in any backup. or you can configure deleted mail to be deleted automatically and not sit in the hidden location for a month.

Re:whistling (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 3 months ago | (#47271121)

I would say the question would be where are the computers that were on the receiving end of those emails? Perhaps they were the other half dozen that "failed" as well? If the smell of bullshit is overwhelming, you don't actually need to find it to know it's there.

Re:whistling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271127)

A retention order is not required. If you have reason to believe you are destroying evidence, then boom, you are destroying evidence. There was plenty of reason to believe evidence was being destroyed, There was for years. They were aware that they were committing a crime. You don't plead the fifth if you are innocent.

Re:whistling (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47271163)

The question to ask is: Did the drive get destroyed prior to a retention order being issued?

If so, then that's SOP; Dead hardware is recycled.

If not, someone goes to jail.

The recycling of the hardware isn't a question in my mind. Of course they recycle hardware...
No email archiving? really? Of an IRS director?
All of her emails were really stored in a local PST file, with no backup what-so-ever?
And after that hard drive failed, with no backup, you then destroyed the drive?

Now that is a series of coincidental incompetence that I just cannot accept.
It's fathomable yes, but the Republicans certainly have the right to turn this into a full on circus.
Nothing Bush ever did was this obviously corrupt and he was up to all sorts of evil.
I always thought of Obama as similar to Jimmy Carter. I disagree with his policies, he's failing miserably, but his hearts in the right place.
Now I see him as more of a Nixon.

Re:whistling (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 3 months ago | (#47271369)

I know of at least one Russell Group university which archives email into local PST files. I suppose I should expect more from a government department, but then I remembered it was a government department ;)

Re:whistling (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271137)

I am sitting here trying to imagine the look on a judges face as I explain the same type of personal misconduct....

yeah, that's right, the Do you think I'm stupid? look.

You're forgetting how openly corrupt the DOJ and court system currently is. I remember a couple of years ago (2012) when the white house was threatening the Supreme Court to say the Obamacare fines were Constitutional, or else. And they came up with that BS excuse of "it's not a fine it's a tax". This is a much bigger scandal than the missing 18.5 Nixon minutes, and yet no one seems to be even considering impeachment. In fact I predict that *NOTHING* will be done to those involved, even though destroying government Email is a crime, especially if it is covering up criminal behaviour. This will be in the news for a few weeks and then just disappear, no one will be punished. Someone might be asked to resign but there will be no prison time.

i'd go to jail for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47270975)

I'd go to jail for this act, likely I'd get charged with obstructing justice, destroying evidence etc. Will we see these charges brought about to members of the IRS staff?

so, no backups? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47270977)

what kind of DR plan does the IRS have?

Recycled Hard Drive?! (1, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 3 months ago | (#47270985)

See this is where the news gets varying degrees of surreal.

In 2014, you "recycled" a hard drive with important emails on it?! Really?!

So then we're faced with that famous Dr. Who trick of whether the Media is accurately reporting an astoundingly senseless event, or if the Media got it wrong.

Oh look, this time it's the IRS. What's with agencies magically losing data when it suits them? Snark aside and all that, why is it that only HIPAA medical records get taken remotely seriously at least with lip service? What possibly produces a result like "ho hum, let's recycle this person's hard drive and damn any data that happens to be there in the only copy with no backup?!"

Re:Recycled Hard Drive?! (3, Interesting)

SpzToid (869795) | about 3 months ago | (#47271093)

Conspiracy theory, much? Really? This is the U.S. Federal Government we're discussing and the taxpayer is kind of a legacy concern of theirs. No one was considering preserving anything on that particular hard disk, and presumably another part of the government I.T. dept. was responsible for backing up the emails, (and another part of the government was responsible for a verifiable audit trail, ...and at some point the hard disk did what hard disks due in such circumstances), while yet another department merely wanted to re-use the %$#!@! hard disk.

Because of the gravity of the situation, someone did track all that down and there you have it. ...p.s. This is Slashdot and it is full of admins just doing their job to pay their rent. I'm not saying the situation is Kosher, but just so long as we can all agree on what is exactly Kosher well then, fine; otherwise everything is anyone's guess.

P.S. Whatever happened to G.W. Bush's Exchange server backups and recovery? That was a priority with a budget if I recall correctly.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... [arstechnica.com]

Re:Recycled Hard Drive?! (2, Interesting)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47271259)

Fox is acting like its big news, but really, anyone whos had to deal with government computer networks shouldnt be surprised by any of this.

Government computers die all the time. Cause they suck. Old peices of trash. Horrible software bloat too, things required to run in background for security. And government IT's solution nearly always the same: Wipe it and reimage it, or "here, have a new(ish) computer. the emails arent even stored on the personal issued computer anyway, they're on the server. And those serves go down a LOT. The backups frequently dont work, or get lost; I cant tell you how many times I've lost stuff on the server drive. Plus employees all the time ignore protocols that get in the way of productivity ("must scan now" "must backup now" "dont turn off" are frequently met by "end task sucker, i got work to do"). Much like any large business.

All in all: non-scandal

Re:Recycled Hard Drive?! (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47271275)

I'll pull that back slightly:
All in all: the only real scandal is how poorly managed and enforced government IT is.

Re:Recycled Hard Drive?! (3, Interesting)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | about 3 months ago | (#47271285)

. Whatever happened to G.W. Bush's Exchange server backups and recovery? That was a priority with a budget if I recall correctly.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... [arstechnica.com]

It truly baffles me to no end when people use the wrongs of the past to somehow justify the wrongs of today.

So I guess we just say F' it and let our elected officials get away with whatever they want. Justice was overrated anyways.

Re:Recycled Hard Drive?! (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 3 months ago | (#47271437)

While my Presidential document archival reference might baffle you, I did clarify that particular disk/document recovery referenced in TFA was actually *funded* and prioritized soon enough, at least in theory. Not all government hard disks are treated with such respect for their former contents, and in fact most are discriminated against as they get their contents securely wiped.

Re:Recycled Hard Drive?! (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 months ago | (#47271113)

Unfortunately there are no details of this recycled drive on Fox News, that's not surprising that they spin it like the IRS suddenly destroyed a HD. Politico [politico.com] has much more detail.

As part of the investigation, the GOP has asked for all media that Lerner may had used like old hard drives, thumb drives, etc. This is fairly normal. The hard drive in question was in Lerner's computer until summer 2011. It had crashed and IT staff replaced it. The GOP wanted the hard drive so that tech experts could try to recover the data. But IT has long recycled that drive as it was no longer functioning. Personally I don't know of many IT staff that keep broken hard drives for 3 years.

Re:Recycled Hard Drive?! (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 3 months ago | (#47271183)

"Personally I don't know of many IT staff that keep broken hard drives for 3 years." - Or make the attempt to recover the only copies of governmental correspondence contained within? Nixon's secretary accidentally erased 18 minutes too, you know.

Re:Recycled Hard Drive?! (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 months ago | (#47271379)

And how do you know that they didn't? Most times when a HD crashes, IT tries to recover the data; however, they aren't experts at this. If a basic attempt does not work, they give up on it. They could send it out to an outside company that does it for a ton of money. But like all things, maybe there wasn't anything on the drive that was so important as to spend the money. You are reading the lack of evidence as evidence of a conspiracy.

Re:Recycled Hard Drive?! (5, Funny)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 3 months ago | (#47271197)

Stop spouting facts, they have no place in this lynching! Next you'll be pointing out that the IRS targeted OWS groups too...

Re:Recycled Hard Drive?! (2)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 3 months ago | (#47271253)

No, the sensible version of this would be that the drive failed, so they recycled it. That's completely reasonable. Happens all the time. The UNreasonable and unbelievable part is that those emails existed ONLY on that hard drive. If that really happened, there should be lots of documentation including who got fired for it.

Good point, though, in anything I've been involved in that got reported in the news (nothing work related, I'm thinking of a climbing accident that happened while I was in the park) the first details reported in the news were astoundingly wrong.

The first step is to stop lying (-1, Troll)

wiredog (43288) | about 3 months ago | (#47271407)

But I don't expect that of the teabaggers infesting Slashdot these days.

Judging from the news stories the drive was recycled in 2011.

Lost... (4, Insightful)

JBMcB (73720) | about 3 months ago | (#47270991)

We lost the backups. Her computer drive was taken apart and recycled into a crib mobile for underprivileged infants. We had printouts but those were shredded into organic compost. The tape backups were overwritten as we only have one backup set of tapes. The people who sent her the email also deleted them from their "sent" boxes as they only have 5MB of quota for that mail box. The people who received her email deleted them from their inboxes as we rigorously practice inbox zero.

So you see, no monkey business here.

Re:Lost... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271089)

The mail servers on which the email was transmitted also did not store the emails as our email server is a heavily modified ENIAC machine which has no digital storage. The emails were outputted onto punch cards, but a freak accident involving a series of angry kittens destroyed these too. We sifted the remains for any clues to the contents of the emails, but unfortunately did not have any luck.

It was proposed that we contact the souls of John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert via a medium and a Ouija board, but this was rejected on ground of religious freedom due to the IRS being a Christian organisation and not subscribing to paganistic rituals.

The Green Option (1)

neglogic (877820) | about 3 months ago | (#47271005)

Did they recycle the lost e-mails also? I hate to just throw away those electrons, better to recycle them.

Anti-tax, not conservative, groups (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271023)

These groups specifically feel that "taxation is slavery", and tried to circumvent tax law by claiming educational organization status.

To NOT target them for further scrutiny would have been a bigger scandal.

Re:Anti-tax, not conservative, groups (4, Informative)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 3 months ago | (#47271219)

Your post is a blatant lie. "The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was "inappropriate" targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status." - Associated Press

Do you really want to trust a government with (4, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 3 months ago | (#47271029)

your health records when they can't even keep your tax data??

Why the hell aren't these people slapped with an obstruction of justice fine??

Re:Do you really want to trust a government with (1)

OutSourcingIsTreason (734571) | about 3 months ago | (#47271187)

Why do you think "they can't even keep your tax data"? The company I work for is far more careful with customer data than with the emails I send to my coworkers.

Re:Do you really want to trust a government with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271227)

Yes, I would trust the government with my healthcare records, as the purpose in this case is not to allow these records to fall in the wrong hands. It is obvious that the government is doing admirable job in protecting the records in this case. Now stop being a republican troll throwing the tired "If the government can do _insert_something_here_ how can we trust them to do _insert_something_unrelated_here_"

This is routine IT stuff (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271071)

Her hard drive crashed 3 years ago, she lost her pst file that was kept on her local hard drive (a bad but common practice). IT shredded the ruined drive, or a more likely event, it was turned into the manufacturer for a replacement drive because it was still under warranty.

No great conspiracy, just basic IT stuff.

How do you recycle a crashed hard drive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271083)

Don't don't things become unusable because of all the damaged sectors?

Spoliation (1)

fluffmypill0w (3662411) | about 3 months ago | (#47271099)

This is a clear cut case. Records will show abnormal handling of data. Duh

Watergate doesn't come close (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271159)

This is undoubtedly either the most corrupt or the most incompetent Administration ever. If you are still calling this a "phony scandal," you're practicing at a level of self-delusion beyond sanity.

Re:Watergate doesn't come close (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271441)

Nixon attempted to get the IRS to focus on certain enemies, and was rebuffed, because the IRS director wanted no part of that corruption.

I think this administration is worse than Nixon's, and will cause more long-term harm to the office of the presidency. Not so much for the NSA scandal, which is only a result of Obama continuing on the curve begun many administrations ago... but for this scandal and the abuse of executive decree, fundamentally breaking the roles and separation of powers in our government.

I've seen IRS computers (5, Interesting)

slaker (53818) | about 3 months ago | (#47271171)

An acquaintance of mine is a senior guy in Chicago's IRS office. He does large corporate audits, which means he's sitting across from guys in $2000 suits all day. The laptop he was carrying until late 2012 had a Windows 2000 license sticker on it and his "new" government-issued laptop is an HP that was manufactured in 2004. These guys really do make more with less and I have no trouble believing that the equipment Lerner was using was painfully obsolete and used until it died.

Missing IRS emails (0, Offtopic)

Ron Goodman (465764) | about 3 months ago | (#47271181)

At this point, it's hard to take seriously any of the right wing complaints against Obama. Even if a particular one might be justified, there has been so much fake outrage from them that they just look like clowns.

Re:Missing IRS emails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271307)

When the boy cries wolf a thousand times and the farmers don't bother to respond its still the farmers fault for disregarding the alarm.

All Hail our Supreme Dictator Barack (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 3 months ago | (#47271211)

We're approaching a "The Reichstag Burned Down" moment in America.

really (-1, Flamebait)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 3 months ago | (#47271229)

are repubs still fuckin this dead horse? its no secret there was a lot of dirty dealing with them and the "non-profits"

Mail Server? (1)

jimmifett (2434568) | about 3 months ago | (#47271257)

Who cares about a computer hard drive, what about the mail server? Surely her mail is archived by exchange or something. I mean, corporate email has to be archived for what, 5-7 years or something? Delicious bacon forbid that a business doesn't backup it's communications. Even IMs are archived via corporate email these days, via Office Communicator or it's successor. Sure, her local PST files are probably lost with drive erasure, but the server archive has to be there. If not, someone needs to be going to prison, and I can guarantee the IT ppl are going to point fingers in the proper direction, they aren't going to take the fall.

Is he the anti-christ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271269)

If anything can make me believe in God, it is all of this. You have no choice but to believe in a God when you have been shown proof of an anti-christ. We have a leader that is beyond crooked and has crossed the line to evil.

Sick the NSA Frankenstein on Government (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47271393)

Well good people, now is the time to send a request over to NSA so that we (American people) can get the meta data by and between the entire IRS the whomever "they" have been talking to on this matter (and what else?).
Sure it will not directly yield the content of the messages (or so they say) but it can point to someone else you has a an electronic copy of these "lost" emails - like government computer.

A yeah -- sure (1)

Greg Heller (3031971) | about 3 months ago | (#47271429)

How convenient this is -- Everyone concerned in this charade needs to go to prison, including that fool in the WH
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