Analyst claims some information on Lerner’s hard drive was retrievable
July 22nd, 2014
07:56 PM ET
7 years ago

Analyst claims some information on Lerner’s hard drive was retrievable

Washington (CNN) - In a development that contradicts statements by the IRS commissioner, Republican investigators say they have learned that former agency official Lois Lerner's computer hard drive was only "scratched" and some information on it was likely recoverable at one point.

Commissioner John Koskinen told the House Ways and Means Committee last month that Lerner's hard drive had been recycled so the agency was unable to pull emails that the panel wants as part of its investigation of IRS targeting of political groups.

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The IRS didn’t respond to a request for comment on the latest development.

Lerner last year resigned as the head of the IRS division examining groups seeking tax-exempt, non-profit status. She has been at the center of controversy over whether she and other senior agency officials deliberately targeted conservative-leaning political groups for special review.

What's up with IRS emails? Key questions about the controversy

Republicans have aggressively investigated the matter, although Lerner has refused to testify about it to Congress, invoking her Constitutional right not to do so.

In the course of the investigation, the IRS revealed that emails from Lerner over a two-year period were lost when her hard drive crashed, and that it also lost emails from a half dozen other IRS officials.

After interviewing an IT analyst who worked on Lerner's hard drive, GOP House committee investigators say new information shows that it was possible for outside forensic technicians to locate some information from her computer.

“The committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded. To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan said in a written statement released by the committee on Tuesday.

Democrats on the committee, however, were present for the interview and said Republicans are misrepresenting the facts.

“The IT professional in question told investigators that he was unable to recover the data on Lois Lerner’s hard drive – contrary to the GOP’s assertion that he said the data was recoverable. What’s more, he told investigators that he did not think Lerner’s hard drive crash was deliberate,” said Josh Drobnyk, a spokesman for the committee’s Democrats.

The committee is also raising doubts about an affidavit the IRS recently filed in a related court case, in which it again asserted that it tried to recover data from Lerner, but the hard drive was recycled, so it could not do so.

The committee's review of an internal IT tracking system found that Lerner's hard drive was listed at one time as "recovered." An IRS employee interviewed by the committee last week about that issue was unable to explain the discrepancy.

On Monday, the House Oversight Committee released testimony from an interview with another IRS employee who didn’t rule out that some information from Lerner's computer was retrievable.

Koskinen is scheduled to testify again before the Oversight panel on Wednesday.

CNN’s Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

Filed under: Congress • IRS
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Is Lois Lerner a republican ?

    July 22, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  2. Barack Ogona

    Not a smidgen of corruption I tell ya

    July 22, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. Smitty

    When the prez wins BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR, do expect anything different from his followers???

    July 22, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  4. S. B. Stein

    What are they going to find? I suspect that they will find personal e-mails and ones about meetings that have nothing to do with the subject that they are looking into.

    July 22, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  5. MaryM

    NO One cares!!

    July 22, 2014 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |

    Hell i can format a Hard drive and salvage and re up ? wow
    what a jest gee dont take a wiz .

    July 22, 2014 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  7. Kevin

    Koskinen should be charged with perjury

    July 22, 2014 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  8. Gary

    It about time !!

    July 22, 2014 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  9. rs

    So, someone who didn't see the hard drive or examine it, claims that the IRS tech people were wrong and that Ms. Lerner's e-mail, may have been retrievable? Based on what? More Right-wing fantasy?
    Good grief CNN, journalism means checking facts, not reporting Right-wing innuendo.

    July 22, 2014 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  10. Megan

    You can retrieve information off of a damaged drive. I have worked in IT for years and we have done it and sent it out to a firm that specializes in recovery if we could not. They shredded the drive to cover up a crime. They purposely destroyed evidence in order to cover up a crime and someone needs to be held accountable. We know the racist AG won't do a thing so outside legal firms and conservative groups need to sue those responsible and seek information until the end of time. Send your tax free donations to Judicial Watch and others seeking justice.

    July 23, 2014 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  11. J.V.Hodgson

    This committee always has two versions of what a witness said and they are total opposites. Why are these interrogations not subject to stenographic records... there are no tax return data being disclosed just
    a) Does the Lerner hard drive still exist?
    b) if so, produce it damaged scratched or hammered to bits.
    c) if produced the committee can then employ its own super tech to recover any recoverable data which then becomes a matter of record to all the committee and you cant spin that.
    Issa does want short cuts and the most direct solution he want multiple dramas that in the end go nowhere for political theater/ so called scandal.

    July 23, 2014 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  12. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    WHO CARES!!!!!!! Oh ya, ISSA the GOP clown who will be kicked out of office in November for WASTING 20 BILLION DOLLARS of taxpayers money with NOTHING to show for it !!!!!

    July 23, 2014 06:01 am at 6:01 am |