Request for Technical Opinions

Readers of Notes On Liberty must include a fair number of information technology-savvy people. I am not one. I wish to gather opinions on the following question:

Is it possible, over a period of two years, to lose completely two years worth of email emanating from a high-ranking government bureaucrat as well as the emails of six other people?

I ask because I was under impression that you have to try hard to lose any computer information for good. I am also under under the impression that what emails are physically on my computer is irrelevant in the middle-run because everything is stored on a server even if it’s not deliberately backed up. (I back up everything although I am not obligated to do it by law, the way federal agencies are obligated.)

Thank you in advance.

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15 thoughts on “Request for Technical Opinions”

  1. Very unlikely that any large organization these days would “lose” two years worth of emails. Even if they take old emails offline, large organzations back up their files to magnetic tapes or to cloud servers these days. It could be time-consuming but not impossible to retrieve emails from these repositories. I suspect it would be difficult to deliberately destroy backups without also destorying lots of other files, not to mention risking embarrassment.

  2. I agree with Warren, and add that federal law requires a printed back up of almost all emails as well.

    If you are referring to the specific story in the news, I would accept it, if they will accept it from me, otherwise, not so much.

  3. The university system we use would have to have a total meltdown to lose archived emails. We don’t store things on the cloud and I doubt the federal gummint does either. AFAIK we have two separate archives of old email, one on my hard drive and a separate one on a system drive. We get specific instructions at the beginning of each academic year that any email we send is a public document and that we need to remember that before we hit the send button.

  4. I guess I was wrong.

    “After all, in 2008 current House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa explained how the Bush White House conveniently lost 22 million emails during the Plamegate investigation that led to the conviction of Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby.

    As you’ll recall, millions of Bush White House emails conveniently went missing between 2003 and 2005, including those in the critical days during which the administration formulated its response to Ambassador Joe Wilson and his covert CIA operative wife, Valerie Plame. In July 2007, Darrell Issa accused Plame of perjury. Then, in February 2008, Issa turned IT expert and brushed off the email imbroglio as merely a software problem.”

    Apparently it’s easy to lose 22 million emails in the federal government.

  5. Apparently, now the hard drive on Ms. Lerner’s computer has been ‘accidentally’ destroyed. No worries, because the ‘missing’ e-mails should be easy to locate on the server, which independently stores all e-mails from any computer. They’ll probably blow up the server next. OOPS! The government is counting on the general public to be so dumbed-down and brainwashed that they won’t ask the most obvious questions, nor care about a government coup from the inside. I think that they’re right, given that the public hasn’t asked for impeachment yet.

  6. ” I think that they’re right, given that the public hasn’t asked for impeachment yet.”

    They didn’t impeach the war criminals from the last administration so this administration has nothing to worry about.

    1. It’s virtually impossible to lose email exchanges.

      Just when I think Obama and his thugs cannot get any worse, something like this happens. The Democrat Party targeted its enemies through the services of the IRS. This is bad but it’s par for the course nowadays (a byproduct of an ever-expanding state apparatus).

      I think Terry’s point about the Bush administration’s own email scandal is less about fairness than it is about justifying his statist inclinations, but he nevertheless has a point.

      1. My statist inclinations are self-justifying ;)

        I’m bringing up the Bush email scandal in anticipation of Jacques’ apoplectic rant about the ‘unprecedented corruption’ of the Obama administration that’s revealed by missing IRS emails. Some keywords to remember:
        Criminal investigation
        Dick “The Draft Dodger” Cheney
        “Scooter” Libby
        22,000,000

        BTW I’m sure that President Obama’s crackerjack surveillance state has copies of the IRS emails in a NSA storage archive someplace.

  7. “The IRS was able to find copies of 24,000 Lerner emails from between 2009 and 2011 because Lerner had sent copies to other IRS employees. Overall, the IRS said it was producing 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering 2009 to 2013. The agency said it searched for emails of 83 people and spent nearly $10 million to produce hundreds of thousands of documents.

    At the time that Lerner’s computer crashed, IRS policy had been to make copies of all IRS employees’ email inboxes every day and hold them for six months. The agency changed the policy in May 2013 to keep these snapshots for a longer, unspecified amount of time. Had this been the policy in 2011, when at least two of the computer crashes occurred, there likely could have been backups of the lost emails today.

    The chief executive for an email-archiving company, Pierre Villeneuve of Jatheon Technologies, said most public and private sector organizations keep emails for several years, not six months, because of financial regulations and inexpensive computer storage.

    The IRS has said technicians sent Lerner’s hard drive to a forensic lab run by the agency’s criminal investigations unit. But the information was not recoverable, a technician told her in an Aug. 5, 2011, email.”

    This link is NOT for Jacques.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/20/irs-boss-faces-cover-up-claims-ahead-hill-hearing-on-missing-emails/

  8. Hmm. Turns out that the infamous hard drive crash occurred 16 days before learning about the ‘inappropriate keywords’. That would present a problem for many conspiracy theorists But I have faith in Jacques’ ability to accommodate such a problem.. The IRS Inspector General is part of the conspiracy. Problem solved!

    This link is NOT for Jacques

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/23/the-woman-at-the-center-of-the-irs-scandal-must-be-clairvoyant.html

    1. Just curious Uncle Terry: Are you defending the IRS? Do you think it made an honest (albeit bureaucratic) mistake when it lost all of the electronic files pertaining to its latest scandal?

      The latest scandal, I might remind you, is centered around using the power of the IRS to target factions that question the very existence of the IRS as an institution. It’s possible that the orders to target such factions came from the President himself. Given his past choices of violating civil liberties in the name of country, this is a legitimate question. Congress was legitimately following the law when it demanded answers from a bureaucracy suspected of corruption.

      Suddenly all of the files pertaining to the questions surrounding this scandal disappear? If this had happened under the Bush administration you would have crapped your pants in righteous indignation by now.

      1. “… it lost all of the electronic files pertaining to its latest scandal?”

        Let’s be clear: it didn’t ‘lose all the electronic files pertaining to it’s latest scandal’. Let’s pretend that Fox News is a credible source. From above…

        “The IRS was able to find copies of 24,000 Lerner emails from between 2009 and 2011 because Lerner had sent copies to other IRS employees. Overall, the IRS said it was producing 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering 2009 to 2013. The agency said it searched for emails of 83 people and spent nearly $10 million to produce hundreds of thousands of documents.”

        Based on my limited knowledge what’s gone is emails older than 6 months at the time of the hard drive crash that are dyadic [only Ms. Lerner and a single sender/receiver] and the sender/receiver had deleted the emails from their personal archive on their hard drive. Do you know how many documents that is [Jacques will make up a number out of whole cloth as usual]? Are there any at all?

        “Are you defending the IRS?”

        Hahahahahaha!

        “Given his past choices of violating civil liberties in the name of country, this is a legitimate question.”

        For example massive invasions of privacy? No argument from me there.
        However, if the president ordered the IRS to violate civil liberties and you think the smoking gun email is in Ms. Lerner’s email wouldn’t in also be in white house email archives?

        My tentative conclusion is incompetence and poor choices [e.g. a 6 month holding period] rather than conspiracy.

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