Am I understanding this correctly? He’s not saying they didn’t know who gave the order but rather that, quite possibly, some of them did know — and simply refused to say? Here’s the direct quote via Andrew Stiles:
“We did pose that question, and no one would acknowledge who, if anyone, provided that direction.”
That “if anyone” is a cute little hedge but obviously someone gave the order. Extra scrutiny for conservative groups isn’t something that began organically among 88 different employees. We already know from a New York Times story a few weeks ago that some “manager” up the chain told them to get cracking on this. Oddly, though, the Times couldn’t nail down which manager it was. Steve Miller, in his testimony before Issa’s committee, claimed that he’d been told once before who was responsible but … had since forgot. And now we find that Treasury’s own inspector general, whose report noted that the targeting began when a specialist in the Determinations Unit “was asked” to take a closer look at conservative groups, couldn’t figure out who did the asking. Which raises two possibilities. One: Collective amnesia. Two: A whole lot of employees are intimidated by the thought of getting on the wrong side of whoever it is who ordered this, a realization that’s doubly interesting given the transcript Issa released suggesting interest among IRS officials in Washington in some of these cases at the time.
Speaking of which, another tidbit from the Corner:
Congressional investigators are probing the highest echelons of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., in connection with the agency’s targeting of conservative groups, according to documents obtained by National Review Online. Those documents, provided by an IRS employee who asked to remain anonymous, indicates that those being asked to provide computer data to investigators include the agency’s chief counsel, William J. Wilkins, and both of his deputies. The chief counsel is one of just two political appointments at the IRS made by the president.
Investigators asked the IRS to gather all data from the computers of several employees throughout the agency, and their request, according to the source, was broadened late last week to include over a dozen employees in the chief counsel’s office. They include chief counsel William Wilkins as well as his deputy chief counsel for operations, Christopher Sterner and his deputy chief counsel for technical matters, Erik Corwin. Investigators are also mining the computer data of two lawyers in the chief counsel’s office responsible for procedures and administration, and nine others who oversee tax exempt and government entitites. In all, the hard drives of 19 lawyers in the chief counsel’s office are being turned over to investigators.
Does the IRS’s own lawyer know who ordered the targeting or does he have amnesia too?
Update: From Drudge’s editor, Joseph Curl:
One source says there's a paper trail to DC, and some who were worried from the get-go kept a paper trail. Wouldn't say WH, but said 'high.'
— Joseph Curl ❎ (@josephcurl) June 3, 2013