Forensic Experts: E-mails from Lerner Hard Drive Were Likely Salvageable

by Eliana Johnson

Lois Lerner’s hard drive, and the e-mails contained on it, were likely salvageable, former federal law-enforcement and Department of Defense forensic experts told the House Ways and Means Committee.

Their testimony conflicts with a memo the IRS sent Congress in June, which said that the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable. I reported in mid June that IRS IT officials destroy and discard damaged hard drives as a matter of practice.

The forensic experts interviewed by the committee told investigators Lerner’s hard drive was merely “scratched,” not destroyed, and that that IRS’s in-house technology professionals recommended seek outside help to recover the data.

“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” said Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) “It is these constant delays and late revelations that have forced this investigation to go on so long. If the IRS would just come clean and tell Congress and the American people what really happened, we could put an end to this. Our investigators will not stop until we find the full truth.”

The House Oversight Committee said on Monday that the attorney who oversees the IRS’s document production to Congress told its investigators that the agency may still have the backup tapes where Lerner’s e-mails were stored, though officials have previously said the data on those tapes was deleted every six months.

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