June 17 2014

Sharyl Attkisson's Questions for the IRS

Charlotte Hays

The claim from the IRS that the computer ate former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails doesn’t seem to be being believed by anyone.

But it doesn’t matter that it is unbelievable. Most people remain in the dark about the implausibly lost emails because the mainstream press is doing its best to ignore the story. In the old days, when reporters asked actual questions and didn’t cover for power, the mainstream media would have been all over this.  (Don’t miss Mollie Hemingway’s excellent piece on the media’s lack of curiosity about the “lost” emails.)

Sharyl Attkisson, the intrepid reporter who left CBS because she wanted to ask hard questions but was prevented from doing so, has a list of “some of the logical requests that should be made of the IRS”:  

  • Please provide a timeline of the crash and documentation covering when it was first discovered and by whom; when, how and by whom it was learned that materials were lost; the official documentation reporting the crash and federal data loss; documentation reflecting all attempts to recover the materials; and the remediation records documenting the fix. This material should include the names of all officials and technicians involved, as well as all internal communications about the matter.
  • Please provide all documents and emails that refer to the crash from the time that it happened through the IRS’ disclosure to Congress Friday that it had occurred.
  • Please provide the documents that show the computer crash and lost data were appropriately reported to the required entities including any contractor servicing the IRS. If the incident was not reported, please explain why.
  • Please provide a list summarizing what other data was irretrievably lost in the computer crash. If the loss involved any personal data, was the loss disclosed to those impacted? If not, why?
  • Please provide documentation reflecting any security analyses done to assess the impact of the crash and lost materials. If such analyses were not performed, why not?
  • Please provide documentation showing the steps taken to recover the material, and the names of all technicians who attempted the recovery.
  • Please explain why redundancies required for federal systems were either not used or were not effective in restoring the lost materials, and provide documentation showing how this shortfall has been remediated.
  • Please provide any documents reflecting an investigation into how the crash resulted in the irretrievable loss of federal data and what factors were found to be responsible for the existence of this situation.
  • I would also ask for those who discovered and reported the crash to testify under oath, as well as any officials who reported the materials as having been irretrievably lost.

Great questions but no news operation is going to ask them: such questions might turn up—er—duplicity on the part of the IRS.

Members of Congress, who also have the opportunity to ask questions, will be too busy preening to use Attkisson's precise questions--so quick you don't get much air time.

And, besides, even  if these questions are asked, it is not the habit of this administration to answer questions.

The mainstream media remains powerful, but (like the country) it has undergone a transformation in the last few years: it no longer does reporting, once its most basic function.

So the IRS may escape hard questions on a cover story almost nobody believes.

Hat tip: Hot Air

 

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