Back in 2013 when the IRS’ scandalous targeting of “teaparty” organizations was first disclosed and when then IRS-official Lois Lerner pleaded the Fifth while the IRS’ defense was that all her emails in the period under question were destroyed due to a local hard disk “failure” (which was then shredded to destroy all evidence) everyone who was not an utter idiot asked a simple question: where are the backup servers? After all, every email not only leaves a permanent trail, it can always be tracked down to a host server.
Today during a testimony by the Treasury’s Inspector General for tax administration, J. Russell George, before Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the IRS finally closed that gaping loophole. In the most idiotic way possible.
Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George
As AP reports, according to the IG’s deputy Timothy Camus, two “lower-graded” employees at the IRS center in Martinsburg, West Virginia, erased 422 computer backup tapes that contained as many as 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner.
It gets better: the tapes were erased in March 2014, months after congressional investigators requested all of Lerner’s emails, and months after Zero Hedge, among many others, said to simply track down the server backups.
And the punchline: according to George, who before “investigating” IRS cimes, was a page for the 1980 Democratic National Convention and a founder of the Howard University College Democrats, the workers might be incompetent, a lead investigator said Thursday, but there is no evidence they were part of a criminal conspiracy to destroy evidence.
Funny: remember the conversation the guy who was overseeing the Deutsche Bank Libor riggers had with a member of the Brither Bankers Associationshortly before all hell broke loose?
Mr. Nicholls repeatedly dismissed concerns that Libor could be manipulated. “Banks do not collude to try to set a Libor rating,” he told John Ewan, the BBA official in charge of running Libor.
“I think I am just hearing a lot of hysteria about Libor that is just misinformed,” Mr. Nicholls added.
When the Deutsche Bank official argued that an individual bank wouldn’t be able to improperly influence Libor, which at the time was set by a group of 16 banks, Mr. Ewan responded: “A cabal of them could.”
“What’s a cabal?” Mr. Nicholls asked.
“A group together could,” Mr. Ewan said.
“That’s an interesting conspiracy theory,” Mr. Nicholls responded.
It was interesting. It was also a fact, and it was playing out right under Nicholls’ nose for years. All the while he had not the faintest idea.
Same thing with the IRS, only much, much worse: the guy who just informed a committee that two IRS employees purposefully deleted 422 computer backup tapes, containing tens of thousands of Lois Lerner emails, said they did so by accident. Because it would be a “conspiracy theory” to suggest they could have possibly done so maliciously, and hence criminally. Ignore the fact that they had clear Congressional orders to preserve all emails relating to Lois Lerner!
In a statement, the IRS said it repeatedly alerted employees starting in May 2013 that they must save all emails, computer tapes and other records related to investigations by Congress and the Justice Department.
“The IRS recognizes there was a clear breakdown of communication in one part of the organization regarding the need to preserve and retain the backup tapes and information, although (the inspector general) concluded this wasn’t intentional,” the statement said.
And while the usual idiots will once again rise up and say George is being sincere and not grossly colluding with a criminal cartel engaging in epic malfeasance at the highest level of government, not everyone was utterly lobotomized to the banana republicanization of America.
“It just defies any sense of logic,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “It gets to the point where it truly gets to be unbelievable. Somebody has to be held accountable.”
Well, somebody is: two “lower-graded” IRS employees. Better known as scapegoats. At least they didn’t also flash crash the market.
Camus said the workers did not fully understand an IRS directive not to destroy email backup tapes. He did not name the workers.
“When interviewed, those employees said, `Our job is to put these pieces of plastic into that machine and magnetically obliterate them. We had no idea that there was any type of preservation (order) from the chief technology officer,'” Camus told the committee.
And the hits just keep on coming: Camus said interviews, sworn statements and a review of the employees’ emails turned up no evidence that they were trying to destroy evidence. Well, let’s see: if everyone at the IRS is lying under oath, why not two of its lowliest employees desperate to avoid prison time. And as for emails not exposing an IRS crime implicating the IRS with destroying emails, well… it is not even worth bothering to joke about that.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., asked Camus if incompetence was to blame for the tapes being erased.
“One could come to that conclusion,” Camus said.
Which is ironic, because moments ago the following statement hit:
BREAKING: US officials: State Department can't find 15 Clinton emails released by Benghazi panel.
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 25, 2015
One can surely blame incompetence for those emails being deleted too. In fact, why not just blame the US submergence into third world banana republic status on the grossest incompetence ever conceivable by an administration.
Actually, that would be more or less accurate.
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