In the days since the Internal Revenue Service reported losing two years’ worth of former department head Lois Lerner’s emails, speculation has abounded that such a monumental oversight is unlikely.
The IRS lost two years of Lois Lerner’s emails. This is the same agency that can find that .39 cent item you wrote off in 1967.
— Jay Carnie (@weknowwhatsbest) June 14, 2014
Lerner is at the center of an ongoing investigation into the scope of a plot to subject conservative groups to increased scrutiny ahead of the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. The emails allegedly lost in a server crash would have likely shed significant light on the scandal. Even CNN host John King found the claim that implausible. His admittedly flippant response concluded that one would have to suspend disbelief in order to accept the IRS excuse.
“Do you believe in the Easter Bunny?” he asked. “Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe that Lois Lerner’s emails just suddenly went poof?”
Though administration officials have been able to recover a portion of the correspondences by accessing the computers of known email recipients, he maintained that Republicans have a legitimate cause for concern.
He concluded that it is “hard to argue” with a statement made by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp.
“The fact that I am learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable,” Camp said following the announcement last week.
“You’re either a conspiracy theorist or you think something nefarious happened,” King continued; “or, let’s assume a horrible accident and this happened. Waiting a year to tell the Congress makes me suspicious.”
His guests seemed to agree. Julie Pace of the Associated Press said that there has been “nothing good about the way this has been handled.”
Recent advancements in security make her suspicious of the claim that so many emails could simply vanish.
“It’s hard to believe in this era where you have servers and backup servers and all kinds of technology that can recover all kinds of emails that these emails simply don’t exist,” she said. “If that is true and they don’t exist, why wasn’t that one of the first things that was told to Congress so we don’t have to go through these questions and raise these suspicions a year in?”
The IRS IT guy who figured out how to vaporize Lois Lerner’s emails should IPO that business and make a billion overnight.
— Daxton Brown (@daxtonbrown) June 16, 2014
Politico’s Manu Raju chimed in that this is yet another problem the Obama administration has had with computers.
“Now we’re going to hear calls for an investigation,” he said, explaining that “Republicans are saying these emails exist. They may not be at the IRS, but they could be at other agencies and those certainly should be available for Congress.”