Scandal: The tangled web of IRS deceit unravels a bit more with news recycled backup tapes of lost emails still exist and statements before a federal judge that Lois Lerner's hard drive was irreparably damaged were untrue.
On July 11, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, at a hearing examining a lawsuit against the IRS by the targeted conservative group True the Vote, told Obama administration lawyers he wanted to see an affidavit explaining what happened with Lerner's hard drive.
He wanted something on the record and under oath that went beyond the tap dancing of recent congressional testimony. Walton also wanted to know the serial number of the hard drive and, if that number was known, "why the computer hard drive cannot be identified and preserved."
In response, the IRS said under oath that the hard drive from Lerner's computer was destroyed and recycled, echoing earlier testimony from Commissioner John Koskinen.
The reason given for Lerner's hard drive — possibly containing incriminating emails from and to the former head of the IRS Tax Exempt division — being destroyed and recycled, according to the IRS in the affidavit, was that a team of its technical experts had determined the drive was irreparably damaged and had to be recycled.
Except that was not true.
On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Committee investigators said that they had a chance to talk to the technical experts inside the IRS who actually examined Lerner's computer, and that the experts said the hard drive in question was merely "scratched" and most of the data on it was indeed recoverable.
According to a committee release, "in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data."
Yet no attempt to get outside help was made.
A justifiably outraged Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said in a statement: "The committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded.
"To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS."
As Byron York reports in the Washington Examiner, "committee aides say they have consulted with 'former federal law enforcement and Department of Defense forensic experts' about the matter, and their conclusion is that the majority of information on the drive could have been saved."
As we and others have noted, the desire to use the IRS to punish political enemies was one of the articles of impeachment against President Nixon.
That President Obama's IRS may have actually been doing it, we believe, is sufficient motive to go along with the opportunity the IRS had to destroy the incriminating evidence that was possibly one of the reasons Lerner pleaded the Fifth Amendment in testimony before Congress.
As if this wasn't enough, Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee for the fourth time on Wednesday, said the backup tapes possibly containing the emails in question, supposedly recycled and lost forever, have been found.
Koskinen stressed that he does not know "how they found them" or "whether there's anything on them or not." Of course he doesn't. The "being there" commissioner has either pleaded ignorance or tap-danced around his prior contradictory statements with all the aplomb of a husband caught sneaking in at 3 a.m.
But now the IRS, arguably caught lying many times, has been caught lying to a federal judge. We have two words for this: "special prosecutor."
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