Pelosi: “They need a new technology system at the IRS”

posted at 9:21 pm on June 19, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

But of course. They probably just don’t have enough money! They need more of our money. In her press conference today, the former Speaker allowed that the only problem at the IRS is a profound lack of wicked sweet MacBooks:

“What it convinces me [of] is that they need a new technology system at the IRS,” Pelosi told reporters. “They need to upgrade their technology, get it right, so that there’s no suspicion about what agenda anyone may have on that.”

Yes, the federal government often has terrible technology. But it’s not because they don’t have enough money. It’s because they spend way too much money on technology that does not work. Obamacare’s websites are the most glaring example of this habit, but it’s nearly ubiquitous in federal agencies. A friend of mine who writes about the federal government’s cumbersome and corruptible procurement process offers an example—Recovery.gov— and a possible solution—pilot programs for governmental IT projects. Make them smaller, testable, and cheaper before you spend tens of millions on a broken monstrosity. Sounds like a no-brainer to someone who thinks all government operations might operate better if they were smaller, testable, and cheaper. Some might even be surprised to find out the giant federal government doesn’t already do this.

We discussed Recovery.gov, which the Sunlight Foundation bid on when Johnson was there. Sunlight thought it could build it for $1.4 million, but because the site was part of the Alliant GWAC, Sunlight was ineligible. The site ended up costing $18 million.

“It certainly doesn’t look like an $18 million website. It’s touted as way to combat waste, fraud and abuse, but not a lot of people are finding mustache-twirlers by searching on there. Open government relies on technology, and so you’re not going to build a house on a foundation that’s broken.…Fixing Recovery.gov would mean changing the scope of the project. The RFP had unnecessary things in it, like datacubing, firewalls, etc., things government didn’t need to build it, but no one was equipped with the knowledge of how modern software systems are built, or they would have asked for much simpler software.”

This led to a discussion of pilot programs, which Johnson has championed in the federal government.

“I’d say the first thing we’re going to do is three $250k pilot projects for Recovery.gov. Keep it small and restrained, three teams of six people or less to implement. Over the course of one month, we’d see which is most successful out of those pilots, and attach clear metrics as to how those pilots work. After the pilots are completed, we pick the one that works the most, allow it to grow. It’s a more agile form of contracting than giving a 4-year contract and hoping the contractor does the job right. You’re less dependent upon your initial assumptions. “

Whether it’s incompetence or nefariousness, the IRS is not preserving the records the law requires it to preserve. At the very least, its incompetence leaves room for the nefarious to hard drive crash evidence out of existence easily. They probably do need a new technology system at the IRS. And, they should have to find the money for it in their current budget among the ashes of whatever they burned on their current disaster. Or, just cut back on the conferences.


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Comments

They don’t need new technology, they need to be abolished.

jawkneemusic on June 19, 2014 at 9:23 PM

And the rubes will believe that the only reason we are not getting the emails is that the IRS is trying to save us money by running old cheap equipment. Fools.

VegasRick on June 19, 2014 at 9:24 PM

Oh give me a f@#king break!

bernzright777 on June 19, 2014 at 9:24 PM

From what I read, the problem is in the guidelines detailing what is to be saved and what is to be deleted. A RAID5 at every workstation would have made no difference in this case.

ROCnPhilly on June 19, 2014 at 9:25 PM

She may have just established a new record for idiotic spin. Quick, call the Guinness people, and have it checked out. You can always count on San Fran Nan for a good laugh.

Flyovercountry on June 19, 2014 at 9:26 PM

From what I read, the problem is in the guidelines detailing what is to be saved and what is to be deleted. A RAID5 at every workstation would have made no difference in this case.

ROCnPhilly on June 19, 2014 at 9:25 PM

It’s just a coincidence that the other 6 people’s computers crashed at the same time and the hard drives were wiped clean and then destroyed.

VegasRick on June 19, 2014 at 9:28 PM

*********** No Sh*t SherlockEtte ***************************!!

canopfor on June 19, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Me thinks,..the IRS needs,…INTEGRITY!!!

canopfor on June 19, 2014 at 9:29 PM

From what I read, the problem is in the guidelines detailing what is to be saved and what is to be deleted. A RAID5 at every workstation would have made no difference in this case.

If I offered you $1 Billion to successfully eradicate any and all traces of these emails for a two year time frame, you couldn’t do it. That anyone is even entertaining this conversation is mind blowing. Basically, when ever you post a comment, chat in a chatroom, or send an email, the only one who can no longer see something once deleted is the person who did the deleting. Those emails are somewhere on some government server, and it’s merely a matter of actually looking.

Flyovercountry on June 19, 2014 at 9:30 PM

And guess what that means…..
She wants MORE OF OUR MONEY TO FUND IT!!!

Brat on June 19, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Stupid. Ignorant. Fool.

Chowderhead123 on June 19, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Me thinks,..the IRS needs,…INTEGRITY!!!

canopfor on June 19, 2014 at 9:29 PM

Well said my northern friend… along with a healthy dose of law enforcement.

thatsafactjack on June 19, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Nazi Pelousy is either constantly drug addled or suffering the mid stage effects of dementia. Her movements, expressions and speech would get us little people locked up for DUI.

Exninja on June 19, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Those emails are somewhere on some government server, and it’s merely a matter of actually looking.

Flyovercountry on June 19, 2014 at 9:30 PM

You would have to actually want to find them in order to look for them. Don’t be surprised if some govt IRS storage buildings burn to the ground in the next few days. Man, these emails must be some doozys and go all the way to king putt.

VegasRick on June 19, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Why, it’s almost as if there is an incentive to fail.

stldave on June 19, 2014 at 9:35 PM

As I keep stating,

The IRS email system uses microsoft exchange servers. That is very new technology.

But here’s the real kick. Those servers are backup onto tape robots. The IRS probably has something like an LTO 6 tape robot. An LTO6 tape store 6.5TB of data at a cost of $50 per tape. The IRS has 104,000 employes. The average worker writes and receives 120 emails per day with the average email size being 75KB. One week’s worth of IRS emails fits on 1 LTO6 tape.

The Record Act requires federal agencies to archive all data, error corrected, checksummed and verified, in duplicate and stored offsite…. Indefinitely. All media is to be transferred to the latest media every 10 years….indefinitely.

So for the IRS to archive all emails… 100% would cost $5200 a year. The IRS is claiming that they reused archival tapes to “save money”. $5200? Really? I don’t believe them.

Furthermore, servers don’t delete email. People do. Now why did Lerner delete emails from 2009-2011 on the server to “make room on her account” but keep all the emails from 2001-2008?

dougless on June 19, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Is she shriveling into Ruth Vader Ginsburg?

Flange on June 19, 2014 at 9:36 PM

No, they don’t. The IRS needs to be abolished and everyone that works there, fired.

Meople on June 19, 2014 at 9:38 PM

Honey, we’ll take care of that Jan 2017.

faraway on June 19, 2014 at 9:39 PM

Yet the IRS has the technology to ascertain whether or not you over-claimed a deduction by so much as a penny, and can instantly make you aware of your treacherous mistake.

Bishop on June 19, 2014 at 9:39 PM

exchange servers are good tech, even if they are on 2007 version that was still a good system and if they have any 2010 servers even better.
not too sure on 2013 yet, have not messed with it enough

dmacleo on June 19, 2014 at 9:40 PM

This is all such bull shit.

KCB on June 19, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Now why did Lerner delete emails from 2009-2011 on the server to “make room on her account” but keep all the emails from 2001-2008?

dougless on June 19, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Now that’s the question of the day.

faraway on June 19, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Mary, you surprise me. Are you buying into Pelosi’s spin that the IRS needs new technology?

Trust me, they have records of all the emails they need… even dating from the Reagan Administration.

Conservatives need to wake up to the fact that Democrats have staffed almost, if not all, of our government agencies with like-minded drones who do their bidding. These agencies sabotage and leak like crazy when a Republican is President but then become tools of persecution when Democrats take charge.

It is way past time for a bold conservative to become President and RADICALLY overhaul the agencies… laying off thousands and re-staffing with people who hold allegiance to the country first and not a political party.

TheRightMan on June 19, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Man, these emails must be some doozys and go all the way to king putt.

VegasRick on June 19, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Not only the address of those emails but the words, terms, and schemes they outlined.

Seven people, all directly connected with this debacle, and all seven just happened to have hard drive failures in the same year, with the same information contained on the drives, and all the drives were not only irreparable but were subsequently lost or destroyed.

Once…ok maybe, MAYBE. Twice? Eh, not so sure. Three times, four, five? No effing way. Just no way.

Bishop on June 19, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Stupid b*tch, stick to ordering your archbishop around.

Shay on June 19, 2014 at 9:44 PM

This is all such bull shit.

KCB on June 19, 2014 at 9:41 PM

That it is… Can’t say any better than that!

Scrumpy on June 19, 2014 at 9:46 PM

What they need over at the IRS (and Justice and HHS and DHS and the White House) are orange jumpsuits and decades of hard labor staring them in their ugly faces.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 19, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Conservatives need to wake up to the fact that Democrats have staffed almost, if not all, of our government agencies with like-minded drones who do their bidding. These agencies sabotage and leak like crazy when a Republican is President but then become tools of persecution when Democrats take charge.

It is way past time for a bold conservative to become President and RADICALLY overhaul the agencies… laying off thousands and re-staffing with people who hold allegiance to the country first and not a political party.

TheRightMan on June 19, 2014 at 9:43 PM

You said it!! ^5

Scrumpy on June 19, 2014 at 9:47 PM

canopfor on June 19, 2014 at 9:29 PM

Well said my northern friend… along with a healthy dose of law enforcement.

thatsafactjack on June 19, 2014 at 9:33 PM

thatsafactjack: Ya darn toot’n:0

canopfor on June 19, 2014 at 9:48 PM

…Three times, four, five? No effing way. Just no way.

Bishop on June 19, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Right On Bishop, Preach It!! :)

Scrumpy on June 19, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Hard time is what they all need to be doing, for real :)

Scrumpy on June 19, 2014 at 9:49 PM

dougless on June 19, 2014 at 9:36 PM

The Law has been there for years, no excuse.

Our so called side lets them get away with ‘murder’ ahem…

Do Somthing darn it!!

Scrumpy on June 19, 2014 at 9:51 PM

Pelosi: “They need a new technology system at the IRS”

No, you need to GTFA, forever. And ever.

arnold ziffel on June 19, 2014 at 9:54 PM

It’s just a coincidence that the other 6 people’s computers crashed at the same time and the hard drives were wiped clean and then destroyed.

VegasRick on June 19, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Of course not. The problem with the IRS email guidelines is that individuals get to mark which emails are saved and which are deleted. This, in turn, determines which messages are purged when the dataset is compacted and stored. It’s as though the guidelines were designed to facilitate deletions of incriminating evidence. If this were a private enterprise, the feds would shut it down and jail the execs.

ROCnPhilly on June 19, 2014 at 9:55 PM

VIOLA:

https://twitter.com/DarrellIssa

Darrell Issa @DarrellIssa · 1h

In case you weren’t able to tune in, I talked #IRS and lost emails tonight with @gretawire. Video: http://youtu.be/1UoVkMxFRDE
===================================================

6-19-2014 Issa on Lois Lerner’s Lost emails – On the Record with Greta Van Susteren

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UoVkMxFRDE&feature=youtu.be

canopfor on June 19, 2014 at 9:56 PM

Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!

portlandon on June 19, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Works here too.

CW on June 19, 2014 at 9:56 PM

As predictable as the sun rise.

jaywemm on June 19, 2014 at 9:58 PM

Scrumpy on June 19, 2014 at 9:46 PM

They treat us like we are democrats.

KCB on June 19, 2014 at 9:58 PM

When I was in the Service we had SNAPII running at 4 meg. Reel backup.

I could type a paragragh and hit enter, go out for a smoke, come back in and it still wasn’t done.

And we lost nothing. Ever.

wolly4321 on June 19, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Conservatives need to wake up to the fact that Democrats have staffed almost, if not all, of our government agencies with like-minded drones who do their bidding. These agencies sabotage and leak like crazy when a Republican is President but then become tools of persecution when Democrats take charge.

It is way past time for a bold conservative to become President and RADICALLY overhaul the agencies… laying off thousands and re-staffing with people who hold allegiance to the country first and not a political party.

TheRightMan on June 19, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Exactamundo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jayrae on June 19, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Yeah….this reminds me of my childhood friend who has worked for the IRS since college graduation telling me that the IRS doesn’t have enough power…..

ladyingray on June 19, 2014 at 9:59 PM

It is way past time for a bold conservative to become President and RADICALLY overhaul the agencies… laying off thousands and re-staffing with people who hold allegiance to the country first and not a political party.

TheRightMan on June 19, 2014 at 9:43 PM

“a bold conservative to become President”

Unfortunately, I can’t think of who or how at the moment…

ROCnPhilly on June 19, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Ok, not an IT wizard here and I asked this earlier in the day: A successfully sent email will have to have a recipient record, and someone sending an email to Liarner successfully will also have a record.

Why not go after every possible person that Liarner would have corresponded with during this debacle, demand all the other hard drives.

If nothing else we would get the satisfaction of watching the wheels fly completely off this particular wagon as we’re told that yes, all those hard drives were lost too.

Bishop on June 19, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Is it true that Pelosi has a law degree?

onlineanalyst on June 19, 2014 at 10:01 PM

New technology system?!? Sheesh, server-based email and backup/restore has been basic block & tackle IT for decades. New technology isn’t needed –an ethical executive branch is what’s needed!

KS Rex on June 19, 2014 at 10:02 PM

I KNEW IT!!

I weffing KNEW IT!!

Newtie and the Beauty on June 19, 2014 at 10:03 PM

They need to have fewer criminals running and commanding the IRS.

VorDaj on June 19, 2014 at 10:05 PM

ESAD, you miserable hag. Then go straight to hell.

Ugh, I have HAD IT with all of them! Especially those quisling republicans!

Naturally Curly on June 19, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Why not go after every possible person that Liarner would have corresponded with during this debacle, demand all the other hard drives.

Bishop on June 19, 2014 at 10:01 PM

As Jay Carney so sarcastically said today, the White House received no e-mails from any of them….

Barred on June 19, 2014 at 10:09 PM

one thing I have not been able to find out is if they used cached or online mode for their client pc’s to exchange server.
with online there never would have ever been an email stored on her pc.

dmacleo on June 19, 2014 at 10:09 PM

onlineanalyst on June 19, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Whoa…Issa is sooo going to talk about this, give stern looks at a bunch of people while they testify, and then file everything away in the basement.

Bishop on June 19, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Also sure all the other agencies would say the same.

Barred on June 19, 2014 at 10:10 PM

She may just be sick, looking at the snotrag to nose and the lack of make-up. But she’s stuttering and rambling more than usual and her perpetual arrogance is missing in this clip. Maybe the wheels are coming off the bus.

obladioblada on June 19, 2014 at 10:12 PM

You can’t buy integrity, Nan … if that had a smidgen of it, the emails would still be there.

BD57 on June 19, 2014 at 10:15 PM

“a bold conservative to become President”

Unfortunately, I can’t think of who or how at the moment…

ROCnPhilly on June 19, 2014 at 10:00 PM

There are several who fit that description.

Unfortunately, the GOP Establishment will go nuclear to keep such a person from becoming President. And if even conservatives manage to get one of their own into the Presidency, that person will have to fight the GOP Establishment throughout his/her Presidency.

Heck, the Establishment might even try to impeach such a person… something they are unwilling to do to the current President who deserves it more than any other.

TheRightMan on June 19, 2014 at 10:17 PM

I saw this clip on the tv box earlier this evening. Nana’s looking even worse than usual, I don’t know if she can last through another term. She should retire before her family has to do an intervention.

slickwillie2001 on June 19, 2014 at 10:18 PM

A major part of the problem is that the people procuring the computer stuff don’t understand computers, don’t understand how to write contracts that guarantee a working system, and the incentives are to make systems that don’t work (so you get to ask for more money).

mockmook on June 19, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Pelosi: “They need a new technology system at the IRS”

I guess that Richard Nixon needed newer taping technology, so that his secretary would not “accidentally” delete 18.5 minutes of tape.

SubmarineDoc on June 19, 2014 at 10:22 PM

IRS needs abolished … period.

listens2glenn on June 19, 2014 at 10:42 PM

They need a new technology system fifty-five gallon drum of sodium pentathol at the IRS.”

FIFY . . .

RedPepper on June 19, 2014 at 10:42 PM

From what I read, the problem is in the guidelines detailing what is to be saved and what is to be deleted. A RAID5 at every workstation would have made no difference in this case.

ROCnPhilly on June 19, 2014 at 9:25 PM

From what I know about the government in general and this administration in particular I think the problem is that they’re just f$%^ing lying.

Oldnuke on June 19, 2014 at 10:44 PM

Whenever I take my car into the garage for repairs, and instead of repairing it they break things on it, I always figure that I just didn’t pay them enough money, so I give them some more.

That’s the way it’s supposed to work, isn’t it?

Socratease on June 19, 2014 at 10:45 PM

Me thinks,..the IRS needs,…INTEGRITY!!!

canopfor on June 19, 2014 at 9:29 PM

Methinks the IRS needs a Draino enema followed up with a napalm flush.

Oldnuke on June 19, 2014 at 10:47 PM

The IRS needs Turkish Prison technology for themselves and the Sleazy Eric Holder Crime Syndicate.

viking01 on June 19, 2014 at 10:49 PM

Like the German Army needed heated socks in Russia.

formwiz on June 19, 2014 at 11:05 PM

Bat. $h!t. Crazy.

MikeinPRCA on June 19, 2014 at 11:13 PM

Furthermore, servers don’t delete email. People do. Now why did Lerner delete emails from 2009-2011 on the server to “make room on her account” but keep all the emails from 2001-2008?

dougless on June 19, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Cause her finger slipped, you big meanie.

arnold ziffel on June 19, 2014 at 11:20 PM

I think Pelosi needs a new technology system. I think her hard drive has been already erased.

Krupnikas on June 19, 2014 at 11:31 PM

Given how the IRS operates today, do you think they REALLY WANT TO KEEP RECORDS?

GarandFan on June 19, 2014 at 11:37 PM

Get a crew of 200 Hot Air posters (troll free of course). Supply some wrecking balls, bulldozers, sledgehammers, dump trucks, thermite lances, etc.
Give them less than 1 month and 1.4 million (although I’d work for free) and all those inadequate computers, dated furniture, fixtures, equipment, and the piles of excessive paperwork will no longer pose a problem.
All budgetary issue the IRS syndicate had been experiencing will be resolved, and on the cheap too.

Additionally this will free the dated IRS employee(s) from “job lock” – permanently.
They can now file their taxes on a 5 x 7 card which can be downloaded from a website called Flat.Tax.net.

StubbornGreenBurros on June 19, 2014 at 11:58 PM

Is it true that Pelosi has a law degree?

onlineanalyst on June 19, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa haaa haaa haaa!Bwaa haaa

NO!

Nancy Pelosi graduated from Trinity College in 1962 and then got married and spent the next several years raising her children.

http://www.biography.com/people/nancy-pelosi-38487#speaker-of-the-house&awesm=~oHHd6EWMRiDBOq

wren on June 20, 2014 at 12:20 AM

There is no benefit-of-the-doubt here. It is an epic and transparent cover-up.

virgo on June 20, 2014 at 12:34 AM

No they don’t. The existing one wasn’t at fault.

The first rule of computer security is physical security.

Which means anyone that can physically control the system… such as kick the power cable out of the wall, rewire the Ethernet, put god knows what into the various ports… well that person CAN be in control very quickly of ANY system no matter what you do. These are programmable systems. If someone has that much access they can get any system to treat it like an Admin. And that means you can tell it to do anything.

Point being, the IRS controls their own computers which means the IRS can delete anything they want whenever they want in their own systems.

ANY new technology system we give them where they retain control will continue to allow them this freedom.

Now if Nancy REALLY wanted to offer some good protection against this sort of nonsense, they’d establish an entirely new Department. That is with a capital D.

I’m an IT guy… I know enough to have a fairly informed opinion on the issue.

So here is my concept of how we fix this for the future. Establish a new Department. Call it the “Department of Records” or something. Their job would be to store ALL other federal department’s information themselves. Exceptions can be allowed. Classified CIA stuff can be kept in the CIA. The insanely counter productive NSA dragnet need not be backed up ideally anywhere including the NSA. Etc. However, all government email/records not deemed a “National Security threat/interest” should be backed up with this new department. Keep in mind the records don’t have to be totally accessible. By all means encrypt them. That’s reasonable. You don’t want the department to be a one stop shop for identity thieves, foreign agents, etc. The point of the Department is to preserve government information separate from other Federal entities for the purposes of audits etc. The technology could be set up in such a way that all the servers in the federal government back up their data to the Department of Records.

And of course, this is a one way street. They neither provide access to the data in their records without going through a process nor do they delete or alter records without going through a process. And those processes need to be recorded and logged themselves.

Do this… and it would be very hard for any federal agency to “lose” information. As it is now, they instruct their IT people to scrub the data. And the IT people are going to do it because we don’t have a formal ethical code or oath of service like Doctors or Lawyers or Priests. This is despite the fact that I think we should. But that’s a different issue. The issue is they’ll do what they’re told and keep their mouths shut.

BUT if all that data is being archived in a separate place disassociated from that chain of command its going to take something like a presidential order to scrub the backups.

And of course, you make it an aspect of the Department of Records that they are bound to do two things when that order comes in… One… make a note of it… and two… inform congress… and then wait 30 days for congress to veto the deletion. If congress says nothing… deletion happens. If congress passes some small measure expressing disapproval of the deletion… deletion is canceled.

The above Department would not be expensive. Keep in mind, that every federal agency already backs up their data to offsite data stores. Most of these are run by each individual department. So the department of education has its data center and the department of health has its data centers, and the IRS has lots of data centers… etc.

Some of that can be centralized. Enough that it serves as one of the fail safe backups thus removing the need for those agencies as many backups internally within each agency.

Point is, this would make cover ups a lot harder. You could also make the department especially responsive to Congressional or Judicial subpenas. Such that if a given department didn’t want to provide information on fast an furious for example you could bypass them by simply querying the backups from the Department of record.

Now keep in mind, the records would be encrypted by encryption keys that the individual departments would know. So you would need to get the decryption keys from the IRS or the department of justice or the DEA or whatever to actually read their email from the backups. But that is not something they can claim to lose. For one thing those keys would be used by so many of the servers in the relevant departments that you can’t claim it was destroyed everywhere. And for another it would totally screw up an entire department’s computer systems if the keys were suddenly changed for some reason.

Anyway, this is just an IT guy’s perspective on the whole thing. Its all very solvable… corruption and scumbaggery included. The trick is to take a nod from the founding fathers and set up some additional Separation of Powers. You divide those that archive the data from those that produce the data. In that way, the people that produce the data don’t have the ability to destroy it.

This is actually pretty common in a lot of corporations. You see it commonly in database design. In that given accounts have authorization to modify or view given company records. But very few have the ability to go through and wholesale delete chunks of the database. Generally its only the top level IT administrators with that sort of access. And the IT guys in most organizations tend to stand a bit apart from the general corporate structure. Which has its pros and cons. But the reason is generally pretty clear.

The IT guys have access to everything but at the same time are not supposed to access anything. They are there to facilitate the activities of all but to do that they have to have a key to every lock and the ability to know every secret.

Again… a reason why this profession really needs some sort of universal oath of ethical behavior much as we have with doctors, lawyers, and priests. The ability to do damage to those you serve is too extreme. And it might also protect IT people occasionally from unscrupulous employers that ask them to do unethical things. Sure, an unethical IT guy is going to do bad stuff. Just like an unethical doctor. But many doctors will refuse to do things even if ordered to do so by hospital administrators or the government. They’ll cite their Hippocratic oath and generally if its clear it would be in violation of that oath they’re left alone and whomever tries to find another way to do the same thing. Often they’ll get someone that isn’t a doctor to try to do it as with the case of lethal injection techs. Doctors and nurses won’t do it. They give an oath to do no harm. So they won’t. IT people need that same protection. Otherwise we’re just alone in a room with the boss… saying “do this bad thing now”… most of us are going to do it because it costs us very little personally to comply and we have no legal recourse or defense if we refuse.

If you’re still reading to this point I’m frankly shocked. This was mostly a rant for my own personal edification.

Any comments welcome… I don’t presume to know everything and I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes or oversights.

Karmashock on June 20, 2014 at 5:07 AM

The ability to keep all the data is one that has been around since the start of computing. Losing a hard drive does not lose a person’s e-mails in a data environment that has incremental and full back-up schedules. Period.

The IRS doesn’t need the latest and greatest because they can buy COTS for their desktop systems.

What the IRS needs is a full data, assets and personnel audit and having its contract spending ability suspended until at least two firms go a thorough audit of all of the IRS. Because if someone isn’t doing back-ups, then the problem is more than just Lois Lerner and her cohorts, but the vital data of all Americans held at the IRS. Plus all the data created by the IRS which is done on the public dime and is public data.

The IRS should have more than enough people to limp along until the audits are finished. Of course if there has been cronyism going on then they might just find that their personnel load along with their contracting ability will be lightened. That latter can be done unilaterally by the US House. Locking the IRS out of making contract purchases would put all travel funds on hold, all office supply funds on hold and, oh yes, all the major contracts it has on-going, like for Obamacare, on hold. Plus the SES running the IRS will also find their pay put on hold as they are on annual, renewable contracts. Every single contract spending venue needs to be suspended by the US House. And a House started audit of the IRS is required if they are losing data all over the place which is WHAT THEY ARE CLAIMING.

So take them at their word – this is a cry for HELP and the US House needs to ride to the rescue to sort it all out while keeping the agency in a limp-along mode while it gets audited. Really, the IRS loves audits ever so much so it should just love being audited, no?

ajacksonian on June 20, 2014 at 6:09 AM

Any comments welcome… I don’t presume to know everything and I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes or oversights.

Karmashock on June 20, 2014 at 5:07 AM

Very nice post.
Just in case, I would also add an independent Department of Rope and Lampposts staffed by 12 randomly selected citizens with an IQ greater than 70 .

justltl on June 20, 2014 at 6:13 AM

Looks like we might need a whole new IRS, or a better way to collect taxes.

Lonetown on June 20, 2014 at 6:46 AM

Conservatives need to wake up to the fact that Democrats have staffed almost, if not all, of our government agencies with like-minded drones who do their bidding. These agencies sabotage and leak like crazy when a Republican is President but then become tools of persecution when Democrats take charge.

It is way past time for a bold conservative to become President and RADICALLY overhaul the agencies… laying off thousands and re-staffing with people who hold allegiance to the country first and not a political party.

TheRightMan on June 19, 2014 at 9:43 PM

That is why boat loads of bureaucrats need to be fired and/or put in jail. Politicians like Obama and the Democrats get away with this crap because the can promise protection to the bureaucrats they position in government. They get away with this by allowing unionization of government jobs as well as a myriad of byzantine work rules and laws. Many of our governmental problems is do to this job protection scheme. Bureaucrats need to be more afraid of not following the rules than not kissing some politician ass. BTW I will grant that Republicans would do this too but I just don’t see much evidence of it right now. Either way the IGs need to have the power to actually do their Jobs, but they also must be subject the same process.

whbates on June 20, 2014 at 7:44 AM

A day late and a dollar short as usual, Nan.

Good Lt on June 20, 2014 at 7:45 AM

Again… a reason why this profession really needs some sort of universal oath of ethical behavior much as we have with doctors, lawyers, and priests. The ability to do damage to those you serve is too extreme. And it might also protect IT people occasionally from unscrupulous employers that ask them to do unethical things. Sure, an unethical IT guy is going to do bad stuff. Just like an unethical doctor. But many doctors will refuse to do things even if ordered to do so by hospital administrators or the government. They’ll cite their Hippocratic oath and generally if its clear it would be in violation of that oath they’re left alone and whomever tries to find another way to do the same thing. Often they’ll get someone that isn’t a doctor to try to do it as with the case of lethal injection techs. Doctors and nurses won’t do it. They give an oath to do no harm. So they won’t. IT people need that same protection. Otherwise we’re just alone in a room with the boss… saying “do this bad thing now”… most of us are going to do it because it costs us very little personally to comply and we have no legal recourse or defense if we refuse.

If you’re still reading to this point I’m frankly shocked. This was mostly a rant for my own personal edification.

Any comments welcome… I don’t presume to know everything and I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes or oversights.

Karmashock on June 20, 2014 at 5:07 AM

You must be fairly young or very naïve. Every single aspect of IT has very strict, comprehensive and easy to understand ethical guidelines. There is no way that the very government that has invented and insisted on every credential process under sun isn’t already aware of the ethical standards. Stop allowing the to skirt accountability for the very obvious law breaking. Someone’s boss telling them to break the law of violate an ethical standards is not an excuse. Until we hold the rank and file accountable this will not stop.

whbates on June 20, 2014 at 8:02 AM

whbates on June 20, 2014 at 8:02 AM

Bingo!

Every department has a book of ethical rules they are obligated to follow.

The problem isn’t the book. Its also not the computer system.

Lonetown on June 20, 2014 at 8:16 AM

You must be fairly young or very naïve. Every single aspect of IT has very strict, comprehensive and easy to understand ethical guidelines. There is no way that the very government that has invented and insisted on every credential process under sun isn’t already aware of the ethical standards. Stop allowing the to skirt accountability for the very obvious law breaking. Someone’s boss telling them to break the law of violate an ethical standards is not an excuse. Until we hold the rank and file accountable this will not stop.

whbates on June 20, 2014 at 8:02 AM

I concur. I dare any IT person to tell the IRS to go f*ck themselves whenever he or she gets an “order” to do something illegal or unethical. Here in the private sector, one could get fired – in which case, you can drag some ignorant CEO/CFO to court and beat the stupid out of them.

Can an IT person do that for bosses like the IRS? I’d say no… ergo…

There are no IT people who work for the IRS.

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 8:16 AM

Need to eliminate the corruption that is ongoing.

Amazingoly on June 20, 2014 at 8:34 AM

Who left her cage open?

rplat on June 20, 2014 at 8:42 AM

And guess what that means…..
She wants MORE OF OUR MONEY TO FUND IT!!!

Brat on June 19, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Bingo!

As usual, Iowahawk’s take on the “IRS scandal shows the IRS needs a bigger budget” notion is brilliant:

My car in your living room shows why I need a bigger bar tab

The bag of dog doo on your porch shows why I need a gold-plated Zippo lighter

The gaping puncture wounds on your torso show why my Rottweiler needs more snausage treats

That unpleasant smell shows why Jeffrey Dahmer needs a bigger refrigerator

heh.

dont taze me bro on June 20, 2014 at 9:03 AM

You must be fairly young or very naïve. Every single aspect of IT has very strict, comprehensive and easy to understand ethical guidelines. There is no way that the very government that has invented and insisted on every credential process under sun isn’t already aware of the ethical standards. Stop allowing the to skirt accountability for the very obvious law breaking. Someone’s boss telling them to break the law of violate an ethical standards is not an excuse. Until we hold the rank and file accountable this will not stop.

whbates on June 20, 2014 at 8:02 AM

I’ve been in IT for 15 years and worked as a consultant for a lot of big firms. I’ve gone through the certifications. I’ve gone through the CS courses… I’ve never seen an IT person go through an initiation where they take oaths and thus become inducted into a code of behavior and earn the status of their profession.

Doctors have that.
Lawyers have that.
Priests have that.

IT people do not have that.

I do not appreciate being insulted by people. Do not do it again.

As to what passes for ethical guidelines, there are suggestions which are more like someone’s opinion about what you should or shouldn’t do… but none of it really means anything.

If you think IT people commonly take their employers to task for unethical behavior you’re sadly mistaken. It does happen sometimes… its comparatively rare. It is much more common for the IT person to comply with the unethical behavior.

As to taking people to court… it depends on whether you can get a judge to understand any of it. I read enough legal cases that operate around computers and it tends to be of the “internet is tubes” type of understanding… which is no understanding at all.

In the end, the IT guy is put to a lot of risk… loses his job… possibly has to pay a lawyer out of pocket… and the chance of victory is not encouraging.

I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with this stuff… and nearly all of them knuckle under.

Its one of the reasons I prefer to consult. If a client decides to ask me to do something evil… I fire him.

And the proof of what I’m saying is all around you. Look at all the things these companies are doing… look at the financial crisis for example… don’t think they needed legions of IT guys to manage those financial systems? Don’t think the IT guys that often programmed the systems they’re using didn’t understand?

We understand. We’re just not in charge. We are the “doers” not the “deciders”… I think that’s reasonable. The doing has to be done by someone like us… and the deciders are the ones paying for everything so they’re entitled to make choices. But some choices need to be grounds to legally refuse to comply. And more then just “what you’re asking me to do is technically a crime”… that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a standardized uniform ethical code… ideally where you raise your right hand at some point and swear it. And it would be nice if the legal authorities recognized this as valid grounds to refuse to comply with given orders.

None of this exists.

What you refer to are some opinions on the philosophy and ethics of it all delivered with no authority and upon which no oaths are sworn. By your standard of ethical standards, anyone that goes to an ancient philosophy lecture must be a believer in every philosophy taught… even the ones that contradict each other.

I’m sorry if I’m coming off a little strong. You implied I was naive when in fact you’re simply in error. And that offended me. I’m too wise to expect an apology… people that start posts with insults on the internet rarely have either the integrity or self respect to try and clear mistakes or misdeeds. I suspect you’ll double down and toss off a few more baseless insults.

Or maybe you won’t and I’m being unfair… Again… I’m doing some assuming here. Contrary to your assertion that I’m young… I’ve done this dance many times before… and with age it has made me presume the pattern will hold.

If it doesn’t… then I will apologize truly. But I don’t see how I can be blamed for not expecting it.

Karmashock on June 20, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Yeah, Outlook is outdated and unreliable technology, which is why it hosts some 300 million mailboxes.

The Schaef on June 20, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Karmashock on June 20, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Actually, I think you’ve place a lot of thought and insight into the whole problem – and you are mostly right. When I got into the IT field initially, there is substantial pressure to “get the job done” and many in the IT field are just trying to “measure up” if they are new to the job.

I don’t know what the turnover rate is nowadays, but when I started with my particular job, the average job expectancy was no more than six months – the IT person either burned-out and quit or found greener pastures elsewhere. Six months is too short a time to learn all the ins and outs on how to deal with unscrupulous bosses.

And yes, there is no “Hippocratic Oath of IT people,” and maybe there should be – although one would have thought the laws of the land would be enough. But then with Barky’s rule of law, we know how laws become nothing more than scribbles on a piece of paper.

I still remember the first time I was asked to do something unethical and illegal in my line of work. I also remember the urge to “just go along with it.” But when it came down to the nuts and bolts of it, who would have to take the fall for it if things unraveled?

It wouldn’t be the CEO/CFO/VP or whomever – it would be me.

So, in the end, it wasn’t all that hard to tell this jackleg to go f*ck himself. It has gotten easier since I’m now older and crankier.

Yes, I could’ve been fired. Yes, it would be d*mned difficult to win a lawsuit against this boss type – but I would have a far better chance against that windbag than any of those guys having to do computer work for a government agency, because it would be more than just getting fired. They will find a way to make your life miserable if not out-and-out destroy you.

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 9:43 AM

I’m going to make some comments about the IRS systems. Some of these comments are obvious, some, not so much. Money IS a major problem, here. We’ve had actual cuts (not reduction in growth pseudo-cuts) of over 20%, and with the current budget that’s coming out of the House, over 30%, versus ’09. This is while adding multiple ID Theft programs (because hey, biggest fraud scheme in the nation), and being saddled with ZeroCare.

At the core of the IRS IT-monstrosity is our main system. It’s an ancient system written in the 60′s in a dead language that only a handful of programmers understand anymore. The entire system is undocumented, and no one truly knows how it all works. On top of that system, there are at least 15 more systems, and about 80 tools (that I know of) that interact with that system and each other to interface with everything and translate the data into comprehensible terms. Then, you also have Exchange, MS OC, ASPECT, and several other communication systems built on top of that.

The entire system is a nightmare, and Congress is not making it easier to deal with. They have the ability to budget us as detailed as they like…they need to take about $3 billion (yes, a quarter of our ’09 budget) and break it out like this: 1 to building a new base computer system, in a modern database that’s more secure and easier to utilize. 1 to scanning and electronically storing all of the backup paper files we have (which cost approx $250 million+ per year to store, between buildings, climate control, restoration work, and file management, which usually sucks so bad they can’t find anything anyhow). And 1 to training (Google the TAS testimony to the Oversight committee…when some departments are having their training budgets cut by 98%, and the least-affected department suffers a 74% actual cut in training time, there’s no wonder our error rate has increased by more than 10%). And then take the ZeroCare enforcement AWAY from us! WE DON’T WANT IT!

I’m certain, by the way, that the Lerner emails still exist.

Hmm…interesting little tidbit on 0Care enforcement, by the way. Did you know that, thanks to 0Care, starting in 2015, your tax return is going to visit HHS, then DHS, and only then will the IRS get it? Why the hell is DHS (Yes, Homeland Freakin’ Security) even involved?

Asurea on June 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Maybe we could put Sebelius on that

LH4 on June 20, 2014 at 11:10 AM

The Gov’t does not need new technology. They have access to it whenever they want. What they need is people in charge who have READ the Constitution and this is something obviously Ms. Pelosi and her ilk have not.

tjmorrill on June 20, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Their technology suffices them just fine when it comes to destroying people’s lives over taxes from 5-6 years back. What they NEED is prison time.

PJ Emeritus on June 20, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Asurea on June 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Hell, I have a degree that includes Fortran, ASCII, BASIC I & II and Dartmouth Algol. What language is it written in, Aramaic?

PJ Emeritus on June 20, 2014 at 12:43 PM

I’m certain, by the way, that the Lerner emails still exist.

Asurea on June 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

THANK YOU! You are really a Godsend here. If anything helps to legitimize what Constantine, myself and others have been harping, is someone within the organization VALIDATING what we already know.

Old technology can really stink at times. I still have to maintain an old HP3000 because of Sarbanes-Oxley. It’s a b*tch, but I have to do it.

So the DHS gets to go through every tax form. I’ll make sure I spray their swastika on their front door whenever I go full commando.

If I do the IRS, I’ll make sure I don’t spray paint your car….

Turtle317 on June 20, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Point being, the IRS controls their own computers which means the IRS can delete anything they want whenever they want in their own systems. (…)
So here is my concept of how we fix this for the future. Establish a new Department. Call it the “Department of Records” or something. Their job would be to store ALL other federal department’s information themselves. (…)
Anyway, this is just an IT guy’s perspective on the whole thing. Its all very solvable… corruption and scumbaggery included. The trick is to take a nod from the founding fathers and set up some additional Separation of Powers. You divide those that archive the data from those that produce the data. In that way, the people that produce the data don’t have the ability to destroy it.

This is a great idea! Ideally, this should be a function of the National Archives. Legislation to make it so, to follow….

ReggieA on June 20, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Hell, I have a degree that includes Fortran, ASCII, BASIC I & II and Dartmouth Algol. What language is it written in, Aramaic?

PJ Emeritus on June 20, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Z-80 machine code?

ReggieA on June 20, 2014 at 5:48 PM

All the IRS needs is to run Intuit so those who have Turbo Tax or Quicken/Quickbooks can file their taxes via an interfaced program for completing their taxes simply and quickly.

Also, members of Government at any level should never be allowed to have a hammer or hard-drive destruction anvil in their possession.

MSGTAS on June 21, 2014 at 9:56 AM