The scope of excuses coming from the Obama Administration is truly stunning. The IRS is now claiming it lost two years' worth of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s email because of a computer crash. These emails just so happen to come from the time period in which conservatives were being targeted by the agency.
A congressional investigation into the targeting has been underway for quite some time, and the timing of the recent discovery has outraged House Republicans.
On Friday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) called the excuse “unacceptable.”
According to Camp, the IRS is now saying it has Lerner’s emails sent to and received from other IRS employees from early 2009 to April 2011. But the IRS cannot find emails between Lerner and anyone outside the IRS in that timeframe.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) does not buy the claims.
“Do they really expect the American people to believe that, after having withheld these emails for a year, they’re just now realizing the most critical time period is missing,” Issa asked.
On radio this morning, Glenn further questioned the credibility of the claim given the size and scope of the NSA data surveillance techniques.
“Hang on a second. I had two years of e-mails, and I just don't know where the hell I put them. Oh, they're lost. I don't know what happened to them. Unfortunately, they were all of the most important e-mails that I had,” Glenn joked. “I have all the e-mails. But the e-mails you specifically asked me for, I don't have those. Damn it. Those were the ones that were going to prove that I did or didn't do something wrong.”
It is hard to believe the IRS did not have any sort of backup system – be it a hard drive or cloud service – that would copies of these emails.
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) responded to the IRS claims by asking the NSA to turn over all the metadata it has collected on Lerner. It remains to be seen if his request will be granted.
“I have asked NSA Director Rogers to send me all metadata his agency has collected on Lois Lerner’s email accounts for the period which the House sought records,” Stockman said. “The metadata will establish who Lerner contacted and when, which helps investigators determine the extent of illegal activity by the IRS.”
“When's the last time they respond to do anything,” Stu said of the NSA. “They don't respond to the demands of the Constitution, let alone a congressman they don't like.”
Ultimately, Glenn couldn’t help but draw the obvious comparison to the now infamous 18 minutes of missing tape during the Watergate investigation.
“IT people who have looked through this said there's no way this could happen,” Stu said.
“That's what makes it so weird,” Glenn said sarcastically. “Do you remember during the Nixon Watergate trials, and they were missing 18 and a half minutes of tape? It was just gone.”
Listen to the full episode: