Remember John Koskinen, IRS commissioner? Better known to film buffs as Yoda’s dumber brother, Koskinen told Congress in June that former IRS official Lois Lerner’s potentially damning emails were irrevocably lost because the disaster recovery tape onto which the agency’s electronic correspondence is backed up holds data for only six months.
A month later, Koskinen, feeling pressure from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, miraculously located IRS “backup tapes” covering the period of Lerner’s requested emails — the same tapes he previously testified had been overwritten.
It was never clear how many emails had been recovered — until now. The Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio reports:
Up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever.
The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed congressional staffers from several committees on Friday that the emails were found among hundreds of “disaster recovery tapes” that were used to back up the IRS email system.
“They just said it took them several weeks and some forensic effort to get these emails off these tapes,” a congressional aide told the Washington Examiner.
In all, investigators from the inspector general’s office combed through 744 disaster recovery tapes. They are not finished looking.
There are 250 million emails on the tapes that will be reviewed. Officials said it is likely they will find missing emails from other IRS officials who worked under Lerner and who said they suffered computer crashes.
Lerner, whose computer “crashed” by a remarkable coincidence 10 days after House investigation began, claimed twice in statements before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that she had done nothing wrong. On both occasions, she proceeded to take the Fifth Amendment. It has long been believed by investigators that her emails, which conveniently vanished, might contain incriminating evidence. The fact that Nikole Flax, then-chief of staff to former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, visited the White House 35 times after talking with Lerner, suggests the wrongdoing may run deep.
- Lerner’s computer mysteriously ‘crashed’ 10 days after House investigation began
- Jay Carney, Jr. (aka Josh Earnest): IRS scandal GOP conspiracy theory
- Paul Ryan just hammered the IRS: Good for him
- IRS official whose emails were ‘lost’ visited White House more than 30 times
- Fun fact: Guess where current IRS commish used to work
- IRS chief: White House told about missing emails 6 weeks before Congress
- Oops. IRS chief didn’t read agency manual, says emails not ‘official record’
- Obama’s double asterisks on IRS
- IRS manual explicitly governs email backup and retention