Lerner on missing emails: 'Sometimes stuff just happens'

The two years of missing emails from the account of Lois Lerner may be a problem for most people but for Lerner, it's just part of life.

"Sometimes, stuff just happens," Lerner wrote to an IT expert in 2011 who was trying to retreive the emails that were lost in her "hard drive crash." And no doubt, she's glad that's true.

In a letter to Congress, the IRS tried to explain the steps they took to retrieve the missing emails.

Washington Times:

In a series of documents sent to Congress on Friday — the traditional day for dumping bad news — the IRS detailed the steps it took to try to account for the emails, including going to other agency employees and asking them to see if they had any messages stored that included Ms. Lerner as a sender of recipient.

And the IRS also released the back-and-forth between Ms. Lerner and Lillie Wilburn, field director for the IRS headquarters’ Customer Support Service Center.

“I checked with the technician, and he still has your drive. He wanted to exhaust all avenues to recover the data before sending it to the ‘hard drive cemetery,’” she wrote on July 20, 2011. “Unfortunately, after receiving assistance from several highly skilled technicians including HP experts, he still cannot recover the data.”

She mentioned “one other possibility” she was trying and promised an update.

Two weeks later, she said the drive had been sent to a forensic lab for a final attempt, and a few days after that Ms. Wilburn delivered the fatal news: “The sectors on your hard drive were bad which made your data unrecoverable.”

Not quite "A goat ate my hard drive," but close.

John Hinderaker at Powerline makes an interesting point about this explanation:

That is all very interesting, but the question remains: did Lois Lerner really lose the only copies of her 2009-2011 emails in a hard drive crash? In its correspondence, the IRS tried to prove the point by attaching an email thread in which the agency’s IT professionals sadly advised Ms. Lerner that they had been unable to recover her missing files. But if you read to the end of the thread (i.e., the beginning) you see Lerner’s email of July 19, 2011, in which she laments the loss of “personal files” due to her computer’s crash, but never mentions any lost emails.

It is remarkable that Lerner does not say: “Oh no! My hard drive crashed, and the IRS’s only copy of two years’ worth of my highly important work has been lost!” No: she is concerned about “my lost personal files,” because “there were some documents in the files that are irreplaceable.” That is a clearly stated and entirely reasonable concern, but it has nothing to do with losing the agency’s only record of two years of work.

If this is the best the IRS can come up with, it has much more explaining to do.

Something is rotten at the IRS. If this incident doesn't get Eric Holder to name a special prosector, I think the GOP would be well within its rights to call for his impeachment and conviction by the Senate.