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THE LATEST ON LOIS LERNER’S “LOST” EMAILS, WITH A BOMBSHELL AT THE END
Powerline ^ | 6-16-2014 | John Hinderaker

Posted on 06/16/2014 8:29:36 PM PDT by smoothsailing

June 16, 2014

THE LATEST ON LOIS LERNER’S “LOST” EMAILS, WITH A BOMBSHELL AT THE END

by John Hinderaker

The Internal Revenue Service claims, as of last Friday, that two years’ worth of Lois Lerner’s external emails are gone forever. You can read the letter in which the IRS told Senators Hatch and Wyden that Lerner’s external emails from 2009 to 2011, the critical time period for the IRS’s effort to suppress conservative nonprofits, have been lost, here. The letter is signed by Leonard Oursler, National Director for Legislative Affairs. If you keep reading, you eventually will get to the part about Lerner’s emails.

The IRS describes its system for storing emails. As I noted here, emails reside in user accounts on email servers:

The IRS email system runs on Microsoft Outlook. Each of the Outlook email servers are [sic] located at one of three IRS data centers. … For disaster recovery purposes, the IRS does a daily back-up of its email servers. … Prior to May 2013, these backups were retained on tape for six months, and then for cost efficiency, the back-up tapes were released for re-use. In May of last year, the IRS changed its policy and began storing rather than recycling its backup tapes.

Yes, I’ll bet they did! This is almost incredible. But wait, it gets worse. It turns out that each IRS employee, even senior managers like Lois Lerner, have ridiculously little space allotted to them on the un-backed up email servers:

Due to financial and practical considerations, the IRS has limited the total volume of email stored on its server by restricting the amount of email most individual users can keep in an inbox at any given time. …

Currently, the average individual employee’s email box limit is 500 megabytes, which translates to approximately 6,000 emails. … Prior to July 2011, the limit was lower, 150 megabytes or roughly 1,800 emails.

These are absurdly low limits. By way of comparison, the Power Line Gmail account currently contains 12,437 megabytes of material–83 times as much storage as was permitted to an IRS employee before July 2011. A senior employee like Lois Lerner would probably send or receive 1,800 emails in a few weeks at most, thereby exhausting (if the IRS’s account is believed) his or her allotted server capacity. At that point, the IRS reverted to manual document management. Seriously:

If an email user’s box gets close to capacity, the system sends a message to the user noting that soon the mailbox will become unable to send additional messages.

Given the tiny mailbox capacity, this must happen every few days.

When a user needs to create space in his or her email box, the user has the option of either deleting emails (that do not qualify as official records) or moving them out of the active email box (inbox, sent items, deleted items) to an archive. … Archived email is moved off the IRS email server and onto the employee’s hard drive on the employee’s individual computer. As a result, these IRS employees’ emails no longer exist in the active email box of the employee and are not backed-up as part of the daily backup of the email servers. Email moved to a personal archive of an employee exists only on the individual employee’s hard drive.

If this is true, it means that the IRS’s record-keeping is utterly inadequate. It has no systematic record of the decisions made and actions taken by IRS employees. Within six months, all centrally located and accessible email records–which, in today’s world, means more than 90% of the relevant documents–are gone. Records of the agency’s actions exist, after that time–if they exist at all–only on individual desktop or laptop computers, from which they cannot be accessed or reviewed in any efficient way. And forget about hard drive crashes, what happens when an employee gets a new computer, or is replaced by a new employee with his or her own computer? Are emails systematically copied from one computer to another so that the IRS will have a record of what the employee has done, assuming that the employee took the trouble to archive them in the first place? I doubt it.

My opinion of the federal government’s efficiency is not high, but I find it hard to believe that this is really how the IRS manages its records. I am not a tax lawyer, but I assume that any corporation subjected to an IRS audit, or any other kind of government investigation, that had this lousy a system of preserving records would be crucified.

That is all very interesting, but the question remains: did Lois Lerner really lose the only copies of her 2009-2011 emails in a hard drive crash? In its correspondence, the IRS tried to prove the point by attaching an email thread in which the agency’s IT professionals sadly advised Ms. Lerner that they had been unable to recover her missing files. But if you read to the end of the thread (i.e., the beginning) you see Lerner’s email of July 19, 2011, in which she laments the loss of “personal files” due to her computer’s crash, but never mentions any lost emails. Click to enlarge:

LernerEmail0449

It is remarkable that Lerner does not say: “Oh no! My hard drive crashed, and the IRS’s only copy of two years’ worth of my highly important work has been lost!” No: she is concerned about “my lost personal files,” because “there were some documents in the files that are irreplaceable.” That is a clearly stated and entirely reasonable concern, but it has nothing to do with losing the agency’s only record of two years of work.

If this is the best the IRS can come up with, it has much more explaining to do.


TOPICS: Computers/Internet; Government
KEYWORDS: irs; lerner
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1 posted on 06/16/2014 8:29:36 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

‘Bombshell,’ as in a year old pop corn fart.


2 posted on 06/16/2014 8:31:16 PM PDT by deadrock (I am someone else.)
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To: smoothsailing
Email is not (simply) stored on your hard drive. That just isn't how this stuff works.

They really think we're stupid.

NOTE: I have MS Outlook .pst files on my hard drive. If my HD crashed, I'd lose my .pst files. But that doesn't change the fact that my emails are all stored in various other places by various other entities. It's all retrievable.

3 posted on 06/16/2014 8:34:02 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy ("Harvey Dent, can we trust him?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBsdV--kLoQ)
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To: smoothsailing

They just screwed Issa. Might as well kill the investigation. It is impossible to fight these hard core communists Democrats. Throw the witch in jail for contempt.


4 posted on 06/16/2014 8:34:11 PM PDT by Logical me
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To: smoothsailing

If the drive failed a new one would be installed and data restored from backup. Why was this data not restored? Such specified data from both “inbox” and “sent”?

Make them prove that a disk failure occurred. Seize the machine.


5 posted on 06/16/2014 8:38:34 PM PDT by Ray76 (True change requires true change - A Second Party ...or else it's more of the same...)
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To: smoothsailing

I don’t think it’s uncommon to overwrite daily backup tapes. However, backup strategy involves more than just a daily backup. Typically there are quarterly and annual backups of server data which is archived and kept off site for a long time.


6 posted on 06/16/2014 8:40:31 PM PDT by Mygirlsmom (Tea: A beverage best served cold. With RINO meat.)
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To: smoothsailing

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but the IRS explanation pretty much defies belief. What they are saying is that they only save emails for 6 months, then they are irretrievably lost, UNLESS, you store the emails on your computer.

The IRS can go back YEARS and ruin your life if you can’t produce the proper paperwork. But, you try to find their record of communications, it all stops at 6 months.

If this is true, which I doubt, people should go to jail over this.


7 posted on 06/16/2014 8:40:31 PM PDT by Bryan24 (When in doubt, move to the right..........)
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To: smoothsailing

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but the IRS explanation pretty much defies belief. What they are saying is that they only save emails for 6 months, then they are irretrievably lost, UNLESS, you store the emails on your computer.

The IRS can go back YEARS and ruin your life if you can’t produce the proper paperwork. But, you try to find their record of communications, it all stops at 6 months.

If this is true, which I doubt, people should go to jail over this.


8 posted on 06/16/2014 8:41:10 PM PDT by Bryan24 (When in doubt, move to the right..........)
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To: Mygirlsmom

In addition, most user profiles are also stored on a network in an enterprise environment so they can be backed up as well.


9 posted on 06/16/2014 8:42:57 PM PDT by Mygirlsmom (Tea: A beverage best served cold. With RINO meat.)
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To: Ray76

If the drive failed a new one would be installed and data restored from backup.


You would especially expect that to happen with someone that is in an important position as Ms. Lerner.

Everyone knows it’s one big lie.


10 posted on 06/16/2014 8:45:02 PM PDT by boycott
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To: Bryan24

SO basically if you get an email from the IRS, you can ignore it for 6 months and then say - “Email? You never sent me any email.....”


11 posted on 06/16/2014 8:45:42 PM PDT by Mygirlsmom (Tea: A beverage best served cold. With RINO meat.)
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To: Mygirlsmom

Moreover, the emails of top officials should be stored for ALL posterity, and not destroyed in the normal cycles. Three datacenters? The data is somewhere, Issa just needs to find it. The Techs know where it is, but are too dam afraid to say so. Just offer up 1 million$ to the source who comes forward with he data.


12 posted on 06/16/2014 8:51:10 PM PDT by SgtHooper (This is not my tag!)
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To: smoothsailing

The IRS is putting out a lie which their sycophants in the media can repeat in unison, blocking out any reasonable discussion. The halfassed analysis fits any instance where the regime is called to question. The truly remarkable thing is that it always works.

The treasons are coming in such rapid succession now that no one can really keep track.


13 posted on 06/16/2014 8:51:34 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: Ray76

Yes, they need to man up, seize the servers, locate off-site backup location and lock it down.


14 posted on 06/16/2014 8:51:56 PM PDT by Kenny
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To: smoothsailing

C’mon IRS IT guys. Do the Snowden thing and come forward and be one of the good guys. You know this is wrong and a coverup.


15 posted on 06/16/2014 8:52:03 PM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: deadrock

“Ban Bombshell”


16 posted on 06/16/2014 8:54:23 PM PDT by bigbob (The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln)
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To: deadrock

The Smoking Gun is in there. Obviously the entire conspiracy came directly from the White House.

Thumbing their nose at us, they are.


17 posted on 06/16/2014 8:54:38 PM PDT by IncPen (None of this would be happening if John Boehner were alive...)
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To: smoothsailing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4rXEKtC8iY


18 posted on 06/16/2014 8:54:39 PM PDT by Osage Orange (I have strong feelings about gun control. If there's a gun around, I want to be controlling it.)
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To: smoothsailing

It took a year to come up with this little bit of plausible deniability but Lerner is not off the hook by any means. She is legally required to keep a hard copy of all IRS business correspondence that is not permanently archived.

1.10.3.2.3 (07-08-2011)
Emails as Possible Federal Records

1.All federal employees and federal contractors are required by law to preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency. Records must be properly stored and preserved, available for retrieval and subject to appropriate approved disposition schedules.

2.The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media. Emails are records when they are:

•Created or received in the transaction of agency business

•Appropriate for preservation as evidence of the government’s function and activities, or

•Valuable because of the information they contain

3.If you create or receive email messages during the course of your daily work, you are responsible for ensuring that you manage them properly. The Treasury Department’s current email policy requires emails and attachments that meet the definition of a federal record be added to the organization’s files by printing them (including the essential transmission data) and filing them with related paper records. If transmission and receipt data are not printed by the email system, annotate the paper copy. More information on IRS records management requirements is available at http://erc.web.irs.gov/Displayanswers/Question.asp?FolderID=4&CategoryID=5 or see the Records Management Handbook, IRM 1.15.1 http://publish.no.irs.gov/IRM/P01/PDF/31421A03.PDF).

4.An email determined to be a federal record may eventually be considered as having historical value by the National Archivist prior to disposal. Therefore, ensure that all your communications are professional in tone.

5.Please note that maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the IRS email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record. Therefore, print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.


19 posted on 06/16/2014 8:58:52 PM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: Ray76

“If the drive failed a new one would be installed and data restored from backup. Why was this data not restored? Such specified data from both “inbox” and “sent”?”

I’m old and don’t know all this techie mumbo jumbo, so I asked my grandson to explain. He said it sounds like they’re using Exchange, which keeps the mailbox on the network, not the computer. If you lose your hard drive, all your mail is still in Exchange. Also, he mentioned that more important people usually have that mail limit raised because they do more emailing. So Lois Lane could have had 20-30,000 emails to keep.

If I could only keep 6000 emails, I would get rid or back up any of the unimportant stuff somehow, but keep the critical messages on my mailbox. Congress needs to get a couple of geeks in there to sift through the commie smoke and mirrors.


20 posted on 06/16/2014 8:59:33 PM PDT by Up Yours Marxists
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To: boycott

The precision of the “lost” emails is the give away.


21 posted on 06/16/2014 8:59:45 PM PDT by Ray76 (True change requires true change - A Second Party ...or else it's more of the same...)
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To: jwalsh07

And OTOH I’m sure the NSA has her crap on some black server somewhere.


22 posted on 06/16/2014 9:00:27 PM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: Bryan24

You’re totally correct. But they don’t care whether anyone believes them or not. They will just say “We told you, the emails are gone, now shut up about it”.

In other words, “Move on!”

Rules are different for “us” than for “them”. Try using “My records were lost when my hard disk crashed” excuse to the IRS and they will say “F### you, you must pay the penalty PLUS interest anyway”.


23 posted on 06/16/2014 9:04:04 PM PDT by bigbob (The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln)
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To: bigbob

Issa needs to hit them hard and stop belly aching.


24 posted on 06/16/2014 9:07:19 PM PDT by Ray76 (True change requires true change - A Second Party ...or else it's more of the same...)
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To: Bryan24

You’re not wrong at all. They’re just lying their butts off.


25 posted on 06/16/2014 9:13:23 PM PDT by TigersEye ("No man left behind" means something different to 0bama.)
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To: Ray76
Well I uh accidentally bumped Lois' computer and it fell off the desk then Beavis tripped and spilled a glass of water into it and it sparked so I said, Dude it's toast. We panicked and threw it in the garbage bin nd it uhhh fell out because there was too much garbage piled up and then he uhh trash truck came around the corner and ran over it and mashed it into a hundred pieces. After that we uhhh threw all the leftover pieces into the garbage truck

26 posted on 06/16/2014 9:13:31 PM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: smoothsailing
I noticed the confusion between lost documents and lost emails on Megyn Kelly's show this evening. It is possible to lose documents from a disk crash but email is on servers and is backed up. Email is your BFF. But in the case of Lois Lerner, maybe not.
27 posted on 06/16/2014 9:15:47 PM PDT by InterceptPoint
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To: smoothsailing

NSA anyone?


28 posted on 06/16/2014 9:18:53 PM PDT by Rannug ("all enemies, foreign and domestic")
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To: smoothsailing
Outlook is a mail client, not an email server. That is what was on Lerner's workstation. The application serving the email can be anything that supports common email protocols, but is, if reports are correct, Microsoft Exchange.

The claim is that (1) tape backups of mail stores are only stored for six months, (2) that when a user's mailbox reaches a critical size, the excess is downloaded to the local workstation and stored (likely in OST files), and (3) that when that happens it is no longer present on the servers and hence vulnerable to loss if the workstation experiences a hard drive crash.

For a small to medium size operation this is actually quite believable, assuming that it is unlikely that the email will ever need to be retrieved for purposes of, say, intellectual property rights or legal discovery. For an operation the size of the IRS, given its job and the sensitivity of data that are likely to be present in those emails, it is absolutely unprofessional, derelict in duty, and quite possibly actionable.

Understand that the system as described is deliberately designed to discard evidence. This is not some small company that can't afford tape storage. These are not people dealing with electric bills or Ebay sales. These are people who can put citizens in prison for lengthy terms based on the evidence they have before them.

This opens up a rather interesting can of worms for anyone convicted recently of tax evasion, among other violations. They subpoena the records including the email transactions. If those are unavailable, the case is seriously compromised.

Which is why I don't believe a word of this. If the IRS really were this incredibly careless or cavalier about the data they exchange then the firings should begin with the IT director and continue down to the most junior operator. But it's a pretty solid story if you're willing to throw your entire IT staff under the bus. And they're more than willing.

The email may, in fact, be recovered from the recipients if it is possible to determine who they are and subpoena their records individually. That is a daunting but not impossible task. But in all this one thing is very clear: this is a criminal operation run by criminal conspirators. The corruption is that deep. And it is nearly untouchable.

29 posted on 06/16/2014 9:21:12 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: smoothsailing

The citizen must not be held to a higher standard of compliance with the law than the regulating agency is willing to observe itself. A government that will give itself a pass without informing anyone else is a government that has an insufficient fear of the seriousness of the power we have delegated to it.

Well, in my book, what can be delegated can be undelegated. And that is exactly what I hope an Article V Convention of the States to amend the Constitution does.


30 posted on 06/16/2014 9:24:38 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: Billthedrill
For an operation the size of the IRS, given its job and the sensitivity of data that are likely to be present in those emails, it is absolutely unprofessional, derelict in duty, and quite possibly actionable.

The practice of archiving presumably is the result of an Act of Congress, since the whole apparatus would require funding.

And, presumably, this Act of Congress sets some standards for maintenance of records and their recovery.

Is the IRS in violation of this Act? If so, shouldn't Congress immediately prepare for discovery leading to prosecutions?

31 posted on 06/16/2014 9:34:26 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: Ignorance on parade.)
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To: smoothsailing

I have to keep records of real estate transactions. I have emails back to 2007. How can the IRS not keep these vital email trails current?


32 posted on 06/16/2014 9:36:28 PM PDT by DaxtonBrown (http://www.futurnamics.com/reid.php)
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To: smoothsailing

All businesses are required by the IRS to keep six years worth of records.


33 posted on 06/16/2014 9:45:21 PM PDT by kaehurowing (FIGHT BULLYING, UNINSTALL FIREFOX)
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To: smoothsailing

Bookmark


34 posted on 06/16/2014 9:55:07 PM PDT by fullchroma (iCitizen)
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To: smoothsailing
the subject of the email requesting recovering files is “Be careful what you ask for”?.

and then states here assistant get to her email also?

35 posted on 06/16/2014 10:00:28 PM PDT by tophat9000 (An Eye for an Eye, a Word for a Word...nothing more.)
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To: smoothsailing

I say we should go back to using carbon paper. The only way something could be “lost” would be with a shredder.


36 posted on 06/16/2014 10:02:51 PM PDT by VerySadAmerican
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To: ClearCase_guy

.”They really think we’re stupid.”

No.

They really think we are cowards.


37 posted on 06/16/2014 10:03:29 PM PDT by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
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To: smoothsailing
Didn't the press go a fishing expedition for all Sara Palin's emails while Governor of Alaska ?
38 posted on 06/16/2014 10:08:18 PM PDT by tophat9000 (An Eye for an Eye, a Word for a Word...nothing more.)
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To: tophat9000

That’s what they must be doing again. (A fishing expedition in Alaska, outside of cell phone and internet coverage, etc.)


39 posted on 06/16/2014 10:11:53 PM PDT by 21twelve (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2185147/posts 2013 is 1933 REBORN)
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To: smoothsailing

So when we e-file unless they print it out the IRS does not have a copy of our tax return after a year? If all their files are backed up like email...........


40 posted on 06/16/2014 10:21:06 PM PDT by Mat_Helm
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To: smoothsailing

If I were Congress (Republican, at least) I would go after Leonard Oursler, National Director for Legislative Affairs. He was stupid enough to put his name to the nonsense, so I would make him own this lie. When it is proved that losing 2 years of e-mails is a lie, I would nail him for lying to Congress.

Throw him in jail and strip him of his pension. Then watch him name names!


41 posted on 06/16/2014 10:23:21 PM PDT by Cowboy Bob (They are called "Liberals" because the word "parasite" was already taken.)
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To: Billthedrill

Nice post, Bill, and to the point.

We all appreciate it.

CA....


42 posted on 06/16/2014 10:24:28 PM PDT by Chances Are (Seems I've found that silly grin again....)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Hells bells, NSA is recording everything else- Just ask the NSA for copies /semi sarcasm

As to them thinking we are really stupid, they actuallynever think of us as other than drones or slaves, probably do not care what we think.


43 posted on 06/16/2014 10:35:37 PM PDT by Nailbiter
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To: Billthedrill

Yep.

I was going to explain how email works, but there are enough of us who know this an outright lie.


44 posted on 06/16/2014 10:46:46 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: Ray76

Issa and his committee

There’s an office at a university that assists the disabled and handicapped. It took me a while to figure it out, but eventually I was able to determine that their focus is less upon helping, uh, retards as it is protecting the university from liability.

Think about that for a while.

OK. How many criminals like Lerner has Issa’s committee nailed.
Take your time ...
The answer is “zero” isn’t it?


45 posted on 06/16/2014 10:51:20 PM PDT by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: all armed conservatives)
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To: Ray76
Issa needs to hit them hard and stop belly aching.

Issa is a compromised, weak, contemptible POS.

We should bookmark this post.

It is a 100% certainty that ISSA will only give a little lip service -- only words.

"When" the collapse happens I pray that ISSA's name will be on a list of those who have committed high Treason against our Republic.

Swift and merciless justice must be to all those who stood by and let our Republic be destroyed.

46 posted on 06/16/2014 11:25:55 PM PDT by sand88 (We can never legislate ourselves back to Liberty)
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To: Billthedrill
No public or private company that has ever been involved in any dealings with the IRS compliance people would design a system that handles business correspondence records that poorly. Bring the IT people before Congress and see how quick you can find someone who knows where that data can be found. It's on a backup or in a server somewhere unless it was intentionally disappeared. In that case, there is an audit trail that can point to who disappeared the data.

Any IT person who stands behind this story is incompetent or complicit in the cover-up.

47 posted on 06/16/2014 11:27:43 PM PDT by eggman (End the Obama occupation of the White House!)
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To: jwalsh07

Bumping this post.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/3168632/posts?page=19#19

And a HA! to this one!

You are absolutely correct!

Those emails are out there. Do you suppose they really think we are that dumb? Does Boehner think we are that dumb?

I’m not going to speculate any further than that but, boy howdy, I surely could.


48 posted on 06/16/2014 11:34:52 PM PDT by dixiechick2000
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To: Nailbiter

Screw the NSA; you men to tell me there is not a single hacker out there that can’t get into the IRS electronic files, regardless of how hidden they are?


49 posted on 06/16/2014 11:35:40 PM PDT by 5th MEB (Progressives in the open; --- FIRE FOR EFFECT!!)
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To: 5th MEB

should have said “you mean to tell me”.


50 posted on 06/16/2014 11:37:18 PM PDT by 5th MEB (Progressives in the open; --- FIRE FOR EFFECT!!)
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