The Internal Revenue Service's John Koskinen didn't exactly walk whistling into today's hearing and dump a bag full of supposedly missing correspondence on the desk, but we seem to be inching in that direction. Not long ago, he insisted that emails belonging to Lois Lerner, the former official at the center of the political targeting scandal, went bye-by along with her computer hard drive. The backup tapes were gone, too, long-since recycled.
Maybe not. Last week, IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane said that the tax collection agency's computer woes were worse than originally reported (to an improbable degree), but he added that maybe some backups of Lerner's emails exist after all.
Today, in further testimony, Koskinen confirmed that the IRS Inspector General has "backup tapes that were recycled but may be recoverable." He does insist that he has "no information as to whether there is anything usable on those tapes." But this is a bit of a shift from early insistence that the tapes were recycled, and their contents gone forever.