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Attkisson On Missing IRS Documents: If The Emails Really Are Lost, ‘That’s Quite A Story In Itself’

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 26:  IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee March 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. Koskinen testified on "Examining the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) Response to the Targeting Scandal."  (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 26: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee March 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. Koskinen testified on “Examining the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) Response to the Targeting Scandal.” (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dom Giordano spoke with reporter Sharyl Attkisson about an announcement from the House Ways and Means Committee that the IRS reported losing all of Lois Lerner’s emails from 2009 to 2011.

Lerner was formerly the head of the IRS division on tax-exempt organizations, and Republicans charge she oversaw the targeting of conservative political groups for excess scrutiny in their application for tax-exempt status.

Attkisson On Missing IRS Documents

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Attkisson said there should be procedures in place to prevent something like this from happening.

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“These emails are not stored on a signal server or a single computer, so if there were a crash of a hard drive or some sort of system failure, they would still be retrievable. According to [John] Koskinen, the IRS Commissioner at the time, he told Congress that emails were stored offsite. That jives with people who said emails were backed up daily. There is a responsibility on the part of government officials to retain the data, make sure that is and can’t be lost in the system. If it’s true that the emails are lost, that’s quite a story in itself,” she said.

She thinks Congress should act fast to investigate if anyone inside the IRS is attempting to hide or destroy the emails.

“I would call in certain officials. Let’s assume there could have been some mischief committed — before they have time to get their stories straight and fix things up, I would get them in there under oath and start digging down and getting the timeline and getting people on the record about this. The only people that I see than can do this are members of Congress. The question is, do they have the will to do that?” Attkisson stated.

Attkisson said that regardless of whether the emails were lost accidentally or improperly, the individuals responsible should be held accountable.

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“One official wrote me…to say this is entirely implausible, and he said there are criminal penalties for destroying federal records, which makes sense, including liability for negligence for not taking the necessary steps to protect files, including a federal requirement to backup data. This doesn’t happen. He said … all email servers are backed up with something called ‘RAID’ (Redundant Array Of Independent Disks), and it’s nearly impossible for something to delete the files, and that even if that were to happen they would not be gone forever,” she said.

“One final comment that this particular guy made, he said if there was a cover-up here — let’s just assume for the sake of argument that maybe something went wrong — he said laws have been broken during an alleged coverup that are much easier to prove than the original act, some poor IT schmuck, if you get him under oath, he will fold like a cheap suit, and I do feel like there is some truth to that. So if you call in the IT professionals who supposedly reported the crash and went after the irretrievable material and found they couldn’t be found I think you’d probably get the truth; and maybe the truth is nothing more than what the IRS says, but it’s just strange that they kept the subpoena and official request from Congress for 7-10 months without mentioning it that the emails don’t exist or are that they were gone. And it also then would be exposing a huge vulnerability in our federal computers if indeed data has been irretrievably lost by this. Remember, but the IRS is part of Healthcare.gov, if the IRS system can indeed be so vulnerable that some sort of crash can lose all kind of important data like this, what does t say about the federal system?”

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