Ways and Means Committee: We’ve learned that Lois Lerner’s hard drive was scratched — but data was recoverable

posted at 6:01 pm on July 22, 2014 by Allahpundit

We’re getting closer to the inevitable comic finale of this charade, when video emerges of Lerner beating her hard drive with a hammer and House Democrats still end up arguing that Republicans are jumping to conclusions.

There’s literally nothing, short of a videotaped confession of wrongdoing, that’ll make suspicions about this bipartisan. And since we’re three and a half months out from an election, I’m not sure a confession would do it either.

Despite early refusals to make available IT professionals who worked on Lois Lerner’s computer, Ways and Means Committee investigators have now learned from interviews that the hard drive of former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner was “scratched,” but data was recoverable. In fact, in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the Agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data. That information conflicts with a July 18, 2014 court filing by the Agency, which stated the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable – including multiple years’ worth of missing emails…

It is also unknown whether the scratch was accidental or deliberate, but former federal law enforcement and Department of Defense forensic experts consulted by the Committee say that most of the data on a scratched drive, such as Lerner’s, should have been recoverable. However, in a declaration filed last Friday by the IRS, the agency said it tried but failed to recover the data, but is not sure what happened to the hard drive afterwards other than saying they believe it was recycled, which, according to the court filing means “shredded.”

Further complicating the situation, the Committee’s investigation has revealed evidence that this declaration may not be accurate. A review of internal IRS IT tracking system documents revealed that Lerner’s computer was actually once described as “recovered.” In a transcribed interview on July 18, IRS IT employees were unable to confirm the accuracy of the documents or the meaning of the entry “recovered.”

So, to sum up, (1) the hard drive was physically damaged somehow; (2) the computer is mysteriously missing now, despite possibly having been recovered at one point; and (3) the IRS apparently ignored the advice of its own tech people in declining to bring in outside help to get the data back. I have the same question Ace does: How does a modern hard drive end up being scratched, and not just scratched to the point that some of the data is unavailable but basically all of it is? Is there any innocent explanation for that, like accidentally dropping a computer off a desk? I asked Hot Air’s webmaster and resident tech expert, Mark Jaquith, and he told me it’s possible to physically scratch the drive by dropping a laptop: Although the drive’s R/W heads have some give, a modern laptop’s accelerometer could quickly “park” those heads in place, producing a metal-on-metal effect. That could wipe out some data or the FAT table (the drive’s glossary) or a “platter,” which would render the drive inaccessible for physical reasons. Mark says, though, that a metal-on-metal scratch would make a terrible noise. I don’t recall Lerner claiming that she dropped her computer or heard any such noise like that before her hard drive failed, but am happy to be corrected if I missed something.

Also, what about the “less than 20” other IRS employees who lost data after their computers crashed? More scratches? The taxman’s hands sure are slippery when he’s toting his laptop around.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


Comment pages: 1 2

Once they determined that the data on the hard drive was not recoverable why didn’t they recover the information from the backup tapes?

Standard practice would be to install a new hard disk and then move the data from the backup tapes to the new hard disk drive.

Tsuchino1 on July 23, 2014 at 2:00 AM

Tsuchino1 on July 23, 2014 at 2:00 AM

You are asking that as if you expected them to want to recover the data.

AesopFan on July 23, 2014 at 6:03 AM

AP, AP, you disappoint. I thought sure the first Lerner with a hammer link was going to send me to the classic “[email protected] It Feels Good to be a Gangsta” from Office Space.


Grace_is_sufficient on July 23, 2014 at 8:16 AM

Which component of the hard drive? some internal component? or maybe an exterior scratch?

Lolo on July 22, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Dead giveaway–the scratch reads “L.L. + B.O.” with a heart around the letters.

PattyJ on July 22, 2014 at 6:52 PM

As Lolo noted the low knowledge level of those involved, these thoughts were among the first I had when I saw the word “scratch”.

Remember, to this administration, a word only means what they say it means at the time they said it. If you question their meaning, you are (select one or more as necessary) – A) Anti-American; B) Sexist;
C) a Right Wing gun-totin’ Tea Party radical; and/or D) Raaacist!!

Sandcastlevirtues on July 23, 2014 at 8:24 AM

What is wrong with these people?

For recovering emails, the hard drive on a PC DOES NOT MATTER AT ALL, because they are not there: they’re on the server, the backup server and finally, the long term backup tapes.

I work for the Federal government and this is how my agency emails are managed. I can’t even see them unless I’m online to the agency network!

This is the way it works for EVERYBODY! Why the hell are we obsessing over a hard drive that does not have the information?

Cricket624 on July 23, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Democrats cannot credibly deny they are tyrants now.

Nixon was impeachable because the GOP turned on him when his corruption was revealed.

Nixon didn’t even dream of doing what the Obama administration actually did.

But the Democrats will never turn on a high ranking bureaucrat much less one of their own politicians. They seek and have achieved unaccountable power.

gwelf on July 23, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Another troll free thread?

Is even verbaluce tired of defending the indefensible?

gwelf on July 23, 2014 at 9:35 AM

But the Democrats will never turn on a high ranking bureaucrat much less one of their own politicians. They seek and have achieved unaccountable power.

gwelf on July 23, 2014 at 9:33 AM

This is probably the biggest reason the (comparative) integrity of the right is also its Achilles heel. We are quick to eat our own (Bob Livingston, John Ensign, Mark Foley), while the Dems to a man defend all of their own to the bitter end (Bill Clinton, William Jefferson, John Edwards).

Those with short memories claim that Republicans corrupt Congress with money while Dems fight for the common man. Apparently not remembering that all but one of the Congresspersons convicted in the abscam sting were Democrats; the Keating Five consisted of four Democrats and John McCain; four of the five Congresspersons convicted in the House banking scandal, and both of the Congresspersons convicted in the Post Office scandal, were Democrats…

In other words, none of this is gonna matter at this rate, because no one is going anywhere unless they get convicted, Jim Traficant style.

The Schaef on July 23, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Who is going to really push to have this dealt with?
The Democrats? They’re proven scum. Forget about them.
The Republicans? They may well be as terrified of the IRS as all Americans should be. After all, the Mafia might kill you, but the IRS can make you wish that you were dead.

justltl on July 23, 2014 at 10:43 AM

How about the Media, the Fourth Estate?
Ahahahaha. See scum above.

justltl on July 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

When will congress quit letting her lie and put her and the entire conspiracy to rest. This is nothing more than an attempt to destroy evidence of wrong doing and congress dumbasses are falling for it except the damnocraps that are involved!

harvey1 on July 23, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Scratched, as in laptop dropped from height while running.

Or hard drive removed, scratched and put back in, while sitting at kitchen table in Lois’s house.

Like I said to a friend. If a bank did this, the officers would be in jail. If cops did this, the cops would be in jail. If a business did this, the CEO would be in jail.

Why aren’t they in jail? Oh that’s right, because right after she went into general population, Lerner would be SCREAMING for a deal and ratting out everyone up the chain right to the White House campaign.

Too bad she wasn’t a baseball player lying about steroids.

archer52 on July 24, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Comment pages: 1 2