Rep. Stockman to NSA: Turn Over Metadata on 'Lost' IRS Emails



The latest hairy growth on the IRS-targeting-Tea-Partiers scandal is that the federal agency apparently lost more than two years' worth of potentially incriminating emails in a single computer crash. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) has proposed a creative solution to the problem: have the National Security Agency (NSA) release the relevant metadata.

He wrote a letter to the agency's new director, Michael Rogers, on Friday. Here's part of it:

As you probably read, the Internal Revenue Service informed the House Ways and Means Committee today they claim to "lost" all emails from former Exempt Organizations division director Lois Lerner for the period between January 2009 and April 2011.

According to chairman Camp, "The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices" due to a "computer glitch."

I am writing to request the Agency produce all metadata it has collected on all of Ms. Lerner's email accounts for the period between January 2009 and April 2011.

Tim Cushing at the technology blog Techdirt suggests that Stockman's letter likely won't yield anything, since "the NSA can't even confirm or deny its monthly water usage at its Utah data site, much less that it has metadata pertaining to Americans' communications." On the bright side, he says it's good that "this sort of thing is becoming increasingly common" as it prevents the NSA from "pretend[ing] it doesn't harvest data on American citizens." Not a bad consolation prize. 

In related news, Jay Carney's replacement, Press Secretary Josh Earnest, seems to be fitting right into the question-dodging culture. He blew off legitimate skepticism of the computer crash and turned it around on the inquiring minds. "You've never heard of a computer crashing before?" he asked reporters yesterday. "I think it's entirely reasonable. … The far-fetched skepticism expressed by some Republican members of Congress I think is not at all surprising and not particularly believable."

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  1. Metadata? Why not just ask for the entire emails?

    1. I guess he’s giving pseudo-credence to the NSA’s claim they only collect “metadata”.

      It could also be because he has no idea what metadata means.

      1. Stockman is a crook, a louse, an idiot and a scoundrel. My bet- he probably has no idea what metadata is.

        On the other hand, I always appreciate bringing two scandals to light in one sentence.

    2. Since they’re never going to give him squat, it doesn’t really matter. The whole point is to goose both the IRS and the NSA with this, nothing more.

  2. So the IRS has no back ups huh?

    1. [brows slowly rise]

    2. If it was your tax data, they would find six zillion backups in a heartbeat.

  3. How does anyone in the media let him get away with that response.

    1. Who.wants to potentially take.the side.of a “farfetched skeptic”? It’s almost as subversive as.listening to what “deniers” have to say. Heresy is insidious like that…question one little assertion about a computer.crash, and the next thing you.know, you’re excommunicated for interviewing the.wrong traitor whistleblower.

  4. This is Zoolander-level shit.

    “The emails are IN the computer?”

  5. Has anyone ask for the IRS servers back up schedules? Seems like the fact that they could lose 2 years worth of data would be a scandel in and of itself. I have no doubt at this point that the administartion was involved in the decision to target these groups.

    1. 2 years of data from 1987-1989 wouldnt be entirely awful.

      But 2 years from this decade? That is intolerable. If it were true.

      1. Of course there’s no way it is true. Even on the surface, it’s obviously a lie.

        This is worse than Watergate, by the way. And why would the IRS go to such lengths to prevent any disclosures, not to mention the rest of the administration not jumping in to force those disclosures? There’s really no better explanation than the obvious–the illegal activities of the IRS were directed at a very high level. Most likely including his Obamaness.

        1. It’s probably worse. Some campaign official who doesn’t have a clearance was probably party to it, as well. So it will turn out that the OFA people had the full tax records of their opponents the whole time.

          1. I’ve suspected that for a while. Some weird shit popped up last presidential election, as you may recall.

            1. What do you mean? Of.course all.candidates have access to their opponent’s tax returns, personal financial records, along with their pet abuse histories.

            2. Yeah, Harry Reid was too stupid to keep that under wraps.

              Naturally the media didn’t really investigate it.

              1. I was rather shocked that nothing came of that. Really no legitimate way that went public, though, at the time, I thought it might be some rogue employee. Silly fool!

        2. “This is worse than Watergate, by the way.”

          I agree but forget that being in the history books.

        3. The IRS would deny everything because they have become politicized.

      2. They should threaten whoever the IT contractor for the IRS is if they can’t produce the emails.

        1. Same contractor as Obamacare.

    2. Oh yeah, the step is to subpoena IRS IT procedures and.policies and call everyone from tech managers to the technicians as witnesses.

      1. And if half the people on this thread were members of Congress, they could ask about this in a reasonable and meaningful way, but I don’t know of anybody other than Thomas Massie currently who could.

        1. Well technically we all have the ability to meet with our our.concerns and suggest.a.course.of action.

        2. I will volunteer my services to coach them up. Some of them used to be lawyers and can learn through brute repetition.

        3. It’s not as if Congressmen don’t have aides and expert advisers that can help them proceed.

  6. Um…fuck them.

    Befor I left the Air Force, they were in the process of spending millions upon millions of man-hours (literally) complying with legislation requiring EVERY government agency archive and backup ALL official electronic correspondence.

    So do you want to go to jail for, unfairly targeting your political opposition or not complying with a Congressional mandate?

    This is shameless mendacity on the part of the IRS and the administration. They know fucking full well what the storage rules are.

    1. Except we’ve seen time and time again that these fucking bureaucrats can just obfuscate and lie and nothing happens. They know it full well. Of course they’re going to lie and delete things and whatever else they have to do. Until some heads actually roll, you will get nothing but lying.

      Yeah, it’s like a slap in the face of the public. But you know what? Fuck you. That’s what.

      1. Are you calling for beheadings?

        1. Confiscation of all of their assets (to be distributed to parties wronged) and permanent exile is acceptable.

          1. Then the IRS will tax that income.

    2. So do you want to go to jail for, unfairly targeting your political opposition or not complying with a Congressional mandate?

      Since when did people go to jail for either of those things?

  7. An excellent comment on the linked article:

    She never CC’ed an external email to colleague, how convenient.

  8. Now they’re also claiming that 6 other people had mysterious computer crashes that destroyed the only copy of their emails.…

    What’s the next step down AFTER you fail the laugh test? That’s the test they’re failing now.

    1. For only $1M/year, Congress, appoint me to a lifetime term and I will make sure that this NEVER happens again.

      1. $1,000,000?

        You work for cheap, my friend. You could get that for doing absolutely nothing, contracting for Fedgov.

        1. I expect I could fix this problem in, oh, about five phone calls. And just answer the automated email when a problem occurs with… another phone call.

    2. What’s the next step down AFTER you fail the laugh test?

      You go about your business as usual, and nothing else happens.

    3. So this is like the kid next to you raising his hand to say, “Uh, yeah, my dog ate my homework, too!”

  9. It’s good to see a Congressman with a sense of humor.

  10. So if I email my tax return to the IRS, they’re certain to lose it?


    1. Just tell them you sent it all to Lerner directly.

    2. Um, yeah… That’s where my receipts went. Maui was a business expense!

      1. I’d show you but I lost all that correspondence in a computer crash.

    1. TV/movie hacking depictions are bad, yeah, but what gets me worst is the ratchet “buzz” when they spin the cylinder on a double action revolver. Is there any DA revolver that does that?

    2. Yeah. Too bad theres not a snowden in the irs

  11. You know what would improve this lame ass article?

    Some more God damn Game of Throne reference!

    1. One does not simply lose 2 years of government emails.

      1. Wrong fantasy world… wait, I see what you did there.

      2. “One does not simply lose 2 years of government emails.”

        I’m sure that could happen to a bureaucrat in Game of Thrones land. Once.

    2. This scandal is the petulant, bloodthirsty spawn of a decades-long incestuous relationship between the Democratic Party and the IRS.

      Happy to help.

  12. Under the spoliation of evidence doctrine, we must then assume all the emails contained information adverse to their claims.

  13. Can sub-Cabinet level officials such as the IRS Commissioner be impeached? Because you know damned well that Holder and the Justice Department aren’t going to prosecute anybody for this.

    1. Any federal official can be impeached. There’s a tradition that impeachment doesn’t apply to members of Congress, but I don’t believe the courts have ever ruled on that (it’s just something Congress decided on its own, which you could call a political question though it’s quite self-serving, if you ask me, and since impeachment involves the Chief Justice, I don’t think it’s correct, either).

    2. At the federal level, Article II of the United States Constitution (Section 4) states that “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeaching, while the United States Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments. The removal of impeached officials is automatic upon conviction in the Senate.…..ted_States

    1. Huh. I thought this was a spontaneous demonstration due to that guy’s anti-Mohammed movie. How could it have a ringleader?

      1. They misspelled “director.”

        1. Yahoo is the really awful.

          1. Yahoo was awful. Then they merged with The Huffington Post.

    2. Susan Rice has been captured?

  14. So can we start to call them email archive deniers now?

  15. Haha, this press secretary is great. It’s not only stupid to doubt that emails can be so easily lost; the IRS’s excuse is so obviously true that any skepticism is “not particularly believable.” This is “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia” kind of shit.

  16. Zenon, That is Hall of Fame quality alt-text. Nicely done!

    1. Indeed, that is high quality alt+text.

    2. All bow before Space Emperor Zenon.

      1. All bow before Space Emperor Zenon.

        The coveted Auric Demonocles seal of Alt-Text approval!?

        Savor this moment, commenters, it is a once-in-a-generation event. Some day your children will ask “Where were you when AD approved of the Alt-Text?” and you’ll be able to say you were there.

  17. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) has proposed a creative solution to the problem: have the National Security Agency (NSA) release the relevant metadata.

    Are you kidding? Do you think the government collects metadata to use against the government? Muahahahahahaa!

    1. Absolutely! All the agencies want to take power from the others.

  18. Steve Stockman truly is a master troll. His Twitter account is highly entertaining.

  19. I’m probably gonna jinx the thread, but I’ve noticed that this excuse is so pathetically stupid and childish that not even shrike will defend it.

    1. Are you kidding? Not even Mika Berzinski bothered to defend it.

  20. I’m sure the NSA will tell Rep. Stockman that they’d be happy to comply, but they unfortunately lost the metadata in an unfortunate computer crash.

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