Image Credits: Martin Hajek / Flickr (Cropped for size).
The Internal Revenue Service destroyed former director Lois Lerner’s Blackberry, which contained the same e-mails as her hard drive the agency wiped, even though a Congressional inquiry into the IRS’s harassment of Tea Party groups was well underway.
The IRS never made any attempt to back up Lerner’s Blackberry before destroying it, and the agency even admitted the Blackberry “was removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012,” months after Congress began investigating allegations that the tax agency was purposely harassing conservative and libertarian groups applying for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
“There is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any Blackberry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this investigation,” Stephen Manning, Deputy Chief Information Officer for Strategy & Modernization, said according to the New York Observer.
The Blackberry was linked to Lerner’s official IRS e-mail account and thus contained the same e-mails Congress was seeking from her hard drive, which was likewise destroyed by the IRS a year prior to the destruction of the Blackberry.
Congress wanted the e-mails Lerner sent and received while she was still serving as the IRS’s Director of Exempt Organizations division, which reviewed the applications of political groups applying for tax-exempt status from the IRS.
The IRS also claimed the hard drives of 20 other tax officials who were likely also complicit in the harassment of Tea Party groups “crashed” at nearly the same time and were completely unrecoverable, but the odds against this exceed the billions of known stars in the universe.
“With a failure rate of 3.5% per year, per computer, the odds of any specific drive failing during a specific week, are 1 in 1000,” a commenter with the username Flyovercountry said on Hotair.com. “For each computer added, the exponent increases by one. So, when the second specific computer needed went down at the precise moment it was needed, the odds of those two melting down in the manner described by [the IRS’s] Congressional testimony became 1 in 1000 squared.”
“That’s how we get to where we are, with 19 [additional] computers, that’s 1000 raised to the nineteenth power,” he added.
And, numerically, 1000 to the 19th power is 1e+57, or 1 followed by 57 zeros, a number known as an “Octodecillion.”
“Let us further pretend that you’ve been counting since the proverbial Big Bang, some [13.8] billion years ago, [with] no breaks or vacations, no meals, and no sleeping, only counting has filled your time,” he continued. “You still, as of today would not have reached a number as large as 1e+57. In fact, you would need to replicate your effort to date another 317 quintillion times in order to reach your target.”
“Those are the odds that the IRS has claimed happened in a completely random manner.”