A six-month-long investigation by the inspector general failed to pinpoint exactly who made the decision to subject some applications to extra scrutiny.

Marcus Owens ran the tax-exempt division at the IRS for 10 years. He said it isn’t difficult to figure out who’s doing what at the agency.

“But I think the issue here is that it was not one person,” said Owens. “It was a number of people who developed the criteria.”

Owens says it appears the errors are symptoms of an overburdened bureaucracy, not a political conspiracy.

“I think there was miscommunication,” said Owens. “I think there was careless attention to some details, but I would not call it incompetence.”