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Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails 347

Posted by samzenpus
from the they-were-just-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news that the IRS lost email scandal is far from over. Representative Steve Stockman (R-TX) has sent a formal letter to the National Security Agency asking it to hand over "all its metadata" on the e-mail accounts of a former division director at the Internal Revenue Service. "Your prompt cooperation in this matter will be greatly appreciated and will help establish how IRS and other personnel violated rights protected by the First Amendment," Stockman wrote on Friday. The request came hours after the IRS told a congressional committee that it had "lost" all of the former IRS Exempt Organizations division director's e-mails between January 2009 and April 2011.
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Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

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  • Just imagine "if" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Karmashock (2415832) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:25PM (#47249699)

    if they actually had that information... they can't possibly... and even if they do I'm pretty sure they'll deny it. The feds are in full blown police state at this point as regards due process. But still imagine if they actually had that information. That would be pretty incredible.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:46PM (#47249875)

      For all their mouth-breathing bullshit, nobody should make the mistake of thinking that the GOP is stupid. This is a lose-lose for the President on its face: if the NSA doesn't come back with the data that it's asserted they have, then they're in cahoots with Obama; if they somehow do come back with it, then it proves the GOP right. Either way, they win. It's a slimy, empty, political victory, but a victory all the same.

      • by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:06PM (#47250037)

        Amazing how you have made this into the GOP being slimy when the whole issue is due to the Democrat controlled IRS (during that time-period) losing all relevant emails from a large period of time. That is what is slimy here.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          the Democrat controlled IRS (during that time-period)

          ....while these emails are to and from a Bush appointee...

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            Everyone knows that all bureaucrats are fired and new ones hired whenever the administration changes.

            All this stuff really is just base politics, a way to prove that one side is virtuous and the other side is the most evil that has ever existed. An extraterrestrial overseeing all this over time would conclude that presidents are often accused of doing presidential things, in the same way that criminals are accused of committing crimes. It would be better if politics were utterly removed from this and rath

        • by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Monday June 16, 2014 @09:01PM (#47250945)

          Amazing how you have made this into the GOP being slimy when the whole issue is due to the Democrat controlled IRS (during that time-period) losing all relevant emails from a large period of time. That is what is slimy here.

          But, but ... the GOP is always slimy, all the cool kids say so. Because, er, it just is, you know.

      • by fche (36607) on Monday June 16, 2014 @08:20PM (#47250575)

        "It's a slimy, empty, political victory,"

        Remember what this was about - the IRS actively impeding a particular political organization. That's not an "empty" matter.

        • Re:Just imagine "if" (Score:5, Informative)

          by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday June 16, 2014 @09:43PM (#47251215)

          No, they did not target one single organization. Instead they targeted multiple organizations, according to a popular viewpoint.
          From a different point of view, meaning from other news stations, they were asked to apply extra scrutiny to the rash of new requests for tax exempt status which was then performed overzealously by some staffers.
          The problem here is that rather than deciding which of these viewpoints are closer to the truth that guilt has been decided a-priori.

        • Remember that the tea party was just one targeted group among a long list of political groups on both sides of the fence that were rightly being looked into for cheating on their taxes by masquerading as charities. That was the first and most easily forgotten critical fact in this matter.

          If not, how could the Republicans harness their voters' potent persecution complex to once again build a slightly quesitonable government action into a partisan scandal, and then beat that dead horse until its bones are tur

    • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:50PM (#47249895) Homepage Journal

      NSA is the National Backup Service

    • by MrDoh! (71235) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:50PM (#47249903) Homepage Journal
      This is hilarious. If they CAN get the info, it makes everyone in government VERY nervous, if they can't get it, then the next thing this congressman should bring up is "why the heck are we funding the NSA if they don't actually seem to do anything?" Ok, the NSA's answer to that is "we do lots of stuff, but we can't tell you about it, it's secret".
      • I mean, we could tell you what we're doing, but then the terrorists would win. You don't want that...do you? Think of the baby bald eagles and amber waves of grain!
      • here's how it will end: "data in NSA record is subject to national security limitations and can only be shared with people with doubleplus security clearance. meaning, even if the congressman had the security clearance to view the info, he could never talk about it. just some grandstanding.
      • if they can't get it, then the next thing this congressman should bring up is "why the heck are we funding the NSA if they don't actually seem to do anything?"

        The NSA is not tasked with backing up everyone's email. Why would they be expected to do that?

        • If someone could prove that the NSA has the data, then refusing an official request would be- um, well I don't know but I'm sure it's something. I suppose the congress could summon the head of the NSA to testify before congress and tell them if they have the emails. Lying to congress is illegal and they put you in jail for that, so the NSA would have to tell everything, right?
        • The Congressman did not ask for the email. He asked for the "metadata", who sent it and when, and to whom. NSA monitoring and collection of metadata was shown as pervasive by Edward Snowden's revelations and by their own testimony to Congress, so it's difficult for them to now say "we only collect metadata". The IRS office that handles tax exemptions also corresponds with many international organizations, some of which are accused of being criminally based or fronts for illegal political activity. (Sinn Fei

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by steelfood (895457)

        If only they could restore those lost emails [wikipedia.org] from the Bush era while they're at it.

        I'm not trying to be partisan; e-mails are constantly being "lost" in any controversy irrespective of political affiliation, and I think the NSA should do their patriotic duty and help recover these important bits of evidence for congress like they otherwise normally do for the FBI.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        The whole point of this is not to actually get the data, or even to embarrass the president. This is about jockeying for position for the upcoming elections (now and in two years). Since the request for information is coming from a politician then it should automatically be assumed to have ulterior motives completely unrelated to discovering the truth or serving the citizens.

    • Re:Just imagine "if" (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:06PM (#47250041) Homepage

      I keep telling everyone, the NSA blew it - had they advertised their services as the ultimate backup, folks would have paid them to spy on everyone.

      Sometimes you do need some help from marketing.

    • if they actually had that information... they can't possibly... and even if they do I'm pretty sure they'll deny it. The feds are in full blown police state at this point as regards due process. But still imagine if they actually had that information. That would be pretty incredible.

      What on earth are you talking about? Of course they have it. It's a federal agency. It's the IRS! It's probably some of the most desirable, easiest to get info out there.

      • I'm highly dubious that they would touch it. But you could be right... I just wouldn't think they'd touch it... a little too close to home.

  • by Saei (3133199) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:27PM (#47249729)
    Quickly! Use your fourth amendment violation to help us with this first amendment violation! No, that's not a joke. Why are you laughing?!
    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:02PM (#47249995)

      Use your fourth amendment violation to help us with this first amendment violation!

      Government records are not protected by the fourth amendment. Here is the amendment:

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      Corporations may be people, but government agencies are not.

  • by raydobbs (99133) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:28PM (#47249733) Homepage Journal

    That's going to be a long wait for a train that never comes - the NSA will simply not comply. Its a nice 'in your face' gesture though, real cute. Should get some political points during election time, I'm sure.

    • All the NSA has to do is request that the congressman file a brief detailing the national security issue which is under investigation and they will provide their recommendation as to the veracity or connections to the appropriate department in charge of that security area. Or they can submit a request to the executive branch, which will pass it on as it deems appropriate for the NSAs mission.

      The NSA is not the personal investigative arm of the congress. Any provision of data from the NSA storehouse for dome

      • Not really, it seems perfectly possible they are collecting internal emails from all federal government agencies.

        Hell, I would expect and demand that they do, as a "watchers of the watchers" role.

  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:28PM (#47249735) Journal

    Bullshit. These people are just trying to avoid paying taxes. Kill this 501(c) bullshit now. Or are you going to try to tell me that would violates everybody's "rights"?

    • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:33PM (#47249775)
      I was under the impression that one of the requirements for being a non-profit was the agreement that you wouldn't be an actionable organization. Seems to me that most of the organizations, both conservative and liberal, were rightly under the microscope.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Craig Cruden (3592465)
        There are two independent issues. The investigation is about using the IRS to pursue the political agenda or those that are in charge of the IRS. The 501c is a separate issue. Non-profit status should only be inferred on charitable organizations or religious (i.e. not political) , and the congress could make those changes anytime it wants.
      • I was under the impression that one of the requirements for being a non-profit was the agreement that you wouldn't be an actionable organization. Seems to me that most of the organizations, both conservative and liberal, were rightly under the microscope.

        They were.

        They're also organizations that are probably donating to people like Representative Steve Stockman. Funny how that works.

      • by funwithBSD (245349) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:12PM (#47251389)

        They cannot explain OFA getting status, seeing how the supposed 501(4)(c) uses the Presidents Twitter account to make announcements.

        There is no way that the Tea Party applicants can be scrutinized when OFA was not, given the regulations. OFA is the proverbial camel that passed through the eye of a needle, while conservative organizations are being examined in detail.

        501(c)(4) organizations may inform the public on controversial subjects and attempt to influence legislation relevant to its program[44] and, unlike 501(c)(3) organizations, they may also participate in political campaigns and elections, as long as their primary activity is the promotion of social welfare.[45] The tax exemption for 501(c)(4) organizations applies to most of their operations, but contributions may be subject to gift tax, and income spent on political activities – generally the advocacy of a particular candidate in an election – is taxable.[46] An "action" organization generally qualifies as a 501(c)(4) organization.[47] An "action" organization is one whose activities substantially include, or are exclusively,[48] direct lobbying or grass roots lobbying related to advocacy for or against legislation or proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation that is related to its purpose.[49] A 501(c)(4) organization may directly or indirectly support or oppose a candidate for public office as long as such activities are not a substantial amount of its activities.[37][50]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You are advocating for the removal of charitable organizations? Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This would cost society far more than it would ever save in tax revenue.

      Capcha is "patriot" lol

      • by plover (150551)

        Maybe, maybe not. Congress is saying "Since charities like food shelves and food banks take care of feeding people in trouble, we are cutting funding to food assistance programs." Never mind that people need food shelves because their assistance programs were reduced by the very same Congress.

        They're outsourcing assistance programs and the only funding comes from donations. If people and corporations don't get tax exemptions for their donations, they won't donate as much. Many of the already stretched t

        • In my mind "non-profit" and "charity" are two different things. The red cross is a well run charity that minimises admin costs, it deserves support for it's selfless work. The Catholic church is a religious organisation that spends some portion of it's income on charitable work, the Heartland institute is a partisan for-hire lobbyist agency that pumps money back into it's self-serving propoganda machine. All three have the same non-profit status.

          We don't need to encourage political and religious organisa
        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Compare churches to a service club like Rotary or Kiwanis. Or if you want goofiness then compare them to the Shriners. These groups do get highly involved in charitable activities (not just donating money but actually donating the time and manpower). However there are other social clubs which are not as actively involved in charity despite having goofy practices, providing only the occasional fund raiser for a good cause.

          Some churches will be much more charitable than others when it's actually measured.

      • Actually, that's not a bad idea. True charities which spend all of their money on their causes can whittle their taxes to near zero. And the lack of 501c3s would eliminate a massive tax dodge used by everyone and their brother to reduce their taxable income.

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:58PM (#47249969) Homepage Journal

      The laws appear to be vague such that somebody has to make a judgment call over what suspicious activity to inspect further. If anybody has an idea for making those judgements more objective and/or fair, please speak up.

      And it may require more staff and resources. You can't have good & fair auditing on the cheap; pony up the taxes or stop complaining when one low-level person has "too much power" to make such decisions.

      There is no free lunch.
       

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by khallow (566160)

        If anybody has an idea for making those judgements more objective and/or fair, please speak up.

        Sure, apply existing law fairly and impartially.

        And it may require more staff and resources.

        Which wasn't a problem here. Favoritism is worse than no enforcement at all.

    • by Jaxim (858185)

      Fine. So long as they also do it for liberal groups like the Unions. But that won't ever happen because liberals like to play by a different set of rules.

      • Where do you people get the idea that unions rae rich? Go to the US dept of labour site, you will find unions listed by gross revenue. The average revenue is far less than the average CEO remuneration package of $4M, in fact there are only a handfull that exceed $1M. The richest union is the actors union that is way out in front with ~$200M in revenue, $200M sounds a lot but it's verging on "penny stock" status in the business world.

        I agree unions should pay tax, however union officials already pay incom
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:18PM (#47250125)

      Do you have ANY comprehension of what you seem to be supporting????? Consider:

      Person A pays his taxes. Person B pays his taxes. Person C pays his taxes.

      Persons A,B, and C form a club, and each tosses-in a few dollars to fund club activities.

      WHY ON EARTH is the government automatically entitled to apply a new tax to the already taxed money the three people chipped-in????

      Now let's extend this a bit...

      The club has functions of general benefit to society. Anything from providing medicine to needy kids, or food to hungry families, or teaching English to immigrants, helping drunks get sober, you name it ... and wealthy person D decides to donate to the cause. For a wide variety of historical and cultural reasons, in the US it has long been policy to not tax the money that person D donates to help the club. The general reason is that the US was never intended to be socialist - it had a small government and left "social welfare" to a huge array of voluntary and charitable organizations. Money already flowing to such organizations was already deemed to be in the public good, and it was therefore redundant and counter-productive to tax it "for the public good".

      do-gooders on the left long-ago declared that actions in the political realm were in this very nature of being "beneficial to society" and in that vein, the labor unions were enabled to become hugely involved in politics by disguising their Democrat-aligned election activities as "voter outreach", "volunteer training" and so-on and were able to do it under the 501(c4) section of the US code (which covers labor unions). For DECADES all the people on the left DEPENDED on this and defended it with lofty rhetoric about "civic responsibility" and so on. Only recently, as people on the right started to try using the same parts of US law in a similar way, have Democrats become critics - and ALL their proposals to remove the tax exemption have included the 501(c3) section of IRS code (which is where the non-union charities all are) while carefully and deliberately letting the 501(c4) section (which conveniently only applies to labor unions) stand. Any proposal to kill-off tax exemption for the 501(c3) groups in a partisan attempt to "get" the Koch Brothers or the TEA Party, will also hit things like the Shriners, Alcoholics Anon, Food Banks, etc while protecting the thugs at the UAW and the SEIU - an obnoxious result for something pretending to be "reform".

      IF you are going to remove ABSOLUTELY ALL tax exemptions from US Law, you'd at least be more fair than any proposal the Democrats have ever supported BUT you are still stuck with the problem of a group where all the members are contributing after-tax dollars: Should THAT money be re-taxed? I ask because many such proposals remove that tax exemption by declareing a gathering of people to be a new entity and the money chipped-in to be "income". Under that scheme there is no such thing as "freedom of assembly" because nearly every gathering costs money and as such would be taxed and regulated and subject to harassment and arbitrary suppression.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:58PM (#47250381)

      These people are just trying to avoid paying taxes. Kill this 501(c) bullshit now.

      The problem isn't that the Tea Party folks wanted to avoid paying taxes. The problem is that the IRS, which has vast powers so that it can extract tax revenue from the people, abused those powers for political ends. And what is worse, it abused those powers unequally, harassing one group while leaving another group alone.

      For 27 months, not one single Tea Party group was approved for 501(c) status, while dozens of liberal groups were approved. And since you will automatically call me a liar if I link Fox News, here's a USA Today story about this.

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/05/14/irs-tea-party-progressive-groups/2158831/ [usatoday.com]

      I view this as tampering with an election, and it is very much NOT OKAY. I'm pissed about this and you should be.

      Or are you going to try to tell me that would violates everybody's "rights"?

      Are you going to try to tell me that nobody's rights have been violated? Or is it just that you think it's okay to violate the rights of "Tea Party" groups since you don't approve of them?

      If you think it's okay to violate the rights of those with whom you disagree, just be honest about it and say so.

      If you think it's not okay for the IRS to abuse its powers for political ends, regardless of whom they were abusing, then wake up and start reading the news.

      I want to see dozens of people from the IRS fired, tried in court, and go to jail if convicted. But if I can't have that, then I will look forward to the day when some conservative President gets elected and the IRS starts doing this stuff to liberal groups. Perhaps then you will take it seriously.

    • Bullshit. These people are just trying to avoid paying taxes. Kill this 501(c) bullshit now. Or are you going to try to tell me that would violates everybody's "rights"?

      You're right, they are. And you're also right that the 501(c) nonsense is bullshit.
      The point is, however, that the IRS decided it was only a bad thing if you had the words "Tea Party" or "Israel" in the name of your organization.
      This is called Selective Enforcement [wikipedia.org]

      Historically, selective enforcement is recognized as a sign of tyranny, and an abuse of power, because it violates rule of law, allowing men to apply justice only when they choose. Aside from this being inherently unjust, it almost inevitably must lead to favoritism and extortion, with those empowered to choose being able to help their friends, take bribes, and threaten those from whom they desire favors.

      A good example of this is when Chicago tried to make being in a "Gang" illegal.
      There are plenty of white groups in Chicago that were not illegal. The difference being that most people in the gang were black. Basically law enforcement were selecti

    • 501(c) is used by a lot of social or policy based groups. Since I don't think their purpose is gathering money to profit, but rather to feed campaigns they believe in it is no different than passing a hat among your friends. I don't really want government to get into policing this type of thing because it limits our ability to effect the political process for good. Since money is the only thing candidates think about that is the only way to control them and keep them honest. Going after 501(c) is basically
  • by Craig Cruden (3592465) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:36PM (#47249789)
    Earlier testimony by the IRS indicated that it would take years to fulfil the current request to get the emails from the email server. Now they are saying a workstation crashed so the emails were lost....... Time to start charging people with obstruction of congress/justice.
  • Special prosecutor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tailhook (98486) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:59PM (#47249975)

    We've got politically motivated BOLO lists, a political appointee hatchet-person taking the fifth, a government agency bullshitting the nation about "crashed" computers and "lost" emails....

    There is a turd in here somewhere. Let a special prosecutor to sift through the IRS back up tapes, and subpoena all the other agencies for Lerner's mail. Let's find out why all these motherfuckers are stonewalling and lying.

    It's personally offensive to me; to be told they can't recover the mail. I know that's bullshit. It's not even vaguely plausible. It's an insult to my intelligence and it deserves to be persecuted if only to expose and humiliate the fuckwits that have the temerity to make such a stupid claim. Letting that one slide just isn't tolerable. Let's kick open the door and find out what in the hell is going on here.

    lost the emails............ I know that's bullshit and so do you.

    • by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:14PM (#47250095) Journal

      A Special Prosecutor would have to be appointed by a member of 'The Most Transparent Administration.' That ain't gonna happen.

      We can hope for change, though.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      The problem with backup tapes is they dont work in the way people think they do after the 1980's.
      http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/... [gwu.edu]
      "electronically shred more than 5000 e-mail notes in the memory banks of their computer systems, as the Iran-contra scandal breaks."
      "Subsequently, investigators from the FBI and the Tower Commission use the backup takes to reconstruct the Iran-contra scandal."
      The data on backups would be clean, internal, bureaucratic, everyday office work expected to be fall under court or
    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Hold on, Tex, why assume malice over stupidity without clear evidence? Guilty until proven innocent? What special inside knowledge do you have? Slashdotters are supposed to pride themselves in careful analysis and rational, carefully stated steps toward conclusions. Calling it "bullshit" on a gut feeling alone is not the spirit of STEM. That's for muggles.

      By the way, I've yet to find evidence they are even required to keep emails for 4 years or more. Maybe it's not even a requirement, and any older emails a

  • by UrsaMajor987 (3604759) on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:24PM (#47250163)
    The sad thing about this political firestorm is that not one person in a hundred can actually explain what it is about. It's amazing how many people think that the IRS was seeking to prevent the Tea Party from getting tax exempt status; that was never the issue, their tax exempt status was never in doubt. The issue was they were applying for 501(c)(4) status which is reserved for social welfare groups like civic leagues and volunteer fire departments. Social welfare groups are allowed to engage in political activity but it cannot be their primary activity. Wondering why the Tea Party wanted that 501(c)(4) designation? Such groups do not have to reveal who is donating money to them. There has been a large run up in the number of groups applying for the 501(c)(4) designation.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @08:10PM (#47250487)

      Pretty much this. It's also amazing how many people believe that ONLY the Tea Party groups were investigated (they weren't), or spout off with the "they should investigate unions too" crap (unions aren't this kind of organization and so such a thing would be meaningless).

      What this is all about is the Tea Party groups trying to keep their rich astrotuf donors secret, getting caught at it, and doing what conservatives do: accusing their enemies of doing what they themselves do. The louder the better, because like they learned during the Bush administration, a lie told loudly and often will be believed by a lot of people.

    • by mpercy (1085347) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:26PM (#47251477)

      "civic leagues and volunteer fire departments"

      Like Greenpeace, PETA, Public Citizen, Priorities USA, League of Conservation Voters Inc., Planned Parenthood, etc.

      The primary activity of a 501(c)(4) must be "issues-related" rather than "electioneering" but that is certainly a very broad brush. If candidate A supports issue X while candidate B opposes issue X, a group can support A (and oppose B) by running ads on issue X while never mentioning either candidate by name.

  • I'm Confused (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NotSanguine (1917456) on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:29PM (#47250201)

    Not surprising. That seems to happen a lot. As such, would someone please explain to me why the IRS allows anyone (let alone the IRS' top administrator) to download their emails to their desktops and delete them from their servers? And even if they did, why don't server backups exist which contain those emails?

    Are the IRS' IT staff that incompetent?

    As for demanding that the NSA turn over email metadata for Lois Lerner's IRS email address, that assumes they even have such information. Emails internal to the IRS shouldn't go across the Internet. I assume (maybe incorrectly) that the NSA isn't actively capturing packets on the IRS' internal networks, so what is to be gained here, except highlighting the incompetence of the IRS and using the "NSA is capturing everything" meme to make the Obama administration look bad.

    So. It's just business as usual. Nothing to see here, just political wrangling to distract us from the fact that our government is being run for the benefit of the monied interests and not its citizens. Move along.

  • I am not a windows or MS Exchange admin but as far as I know the lost emails, refer to email contents and they are kept separately from the email header information. Unless IRS claims they have lost every worker's email for this questionable period of time (which, in and of itself is admitting guilt by hiding the truth in my opinion) they should be easy to go to a backup of MS Exchange database and pull the necessary header information. If I am required to keep a 7 years long duration of my financial record
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      US gov computer experts has faced many reviews over many years. From politically connected brands getting low quality, expensive software and hardware monopolies, spies, organized crime gangs, cults, dual citizens with a total commitment to their other country getting deep into US gov systems.
      The only option is to audit networks and staff from other secure networks that do not show or are part of any internal or external networks.
      Small expert US teams ccould then hunt for spies without been seen by ot
  • by gman003 (1693318) on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:44PM (#47250299)

    This sounds like the action of a Congressman trying to discredit the NSA. The NSA obviously is not going to respond to this - if they did, they'd be inundated with requests from every small-town prosecutor wanting some more evidence (ironically, some might even get warrants for it). That would be worse than what will happen instead, which is that an anti-NSA legislator gets a talking point about how the NSA isn't using its data and isn't cooperating with the rest of the government (namely Congress).

    Yes, it's just a political point being scored. But it's a point hopefully in our favor - or at the very least, one against our common enemy.

    The more I think about it, the more I think this is the best way to get the NSA shut down. The general public has no control over it; trying to get them angry about it is pointless. The only way the general public could shut it down is by a revolution, and we're too well-fed and content to do that. But Congress could shut it down, so let's find every way to get Congressmen upset about the NSA. I wonder what a FOIA request for some congressional metadata would do...

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Think of the cash flow in the past 10 years. Signals, human intelligence, the diverse layers of US gov agencies, mil that had their own cold war structures, 'votes' ~seats at the table (political access) all getting looked after. The past 10 years have had a huge growth in one agency both in funding, role and politcal/mil power.
      Active foreign clandestine signals, mil, gov, human intelligence groups now have to share, be open to or even get given tasks from one new agency.
  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:59PM (#47250399)
    Stockman is one of the stranger Tea Party candidates who recently was elected to the House.

    He walked out of the State of the Union Address saying "I could not bear to watch as he continued to cross the clearly-defined boundaries of the Constitutional separation of powers". Really adult.

    He's running for Senate in Texas against Senator Corwyn, the Senate Minority Whip, and he just dropped off the map. He missed 17 House votes in a row. It also seems that even though he is a official candidate, he is doing zero campaigning. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-senate-candidate-steve-stockman-goes-awol/ [cbsnews.com]

    He has also been cited by the Office of Congressional Ethics (I know, I laughed too). He accepted campaign contributions from his own staff members, which is a big no no. He is also accused of using his full time House staff members to work on his Congressional campaign. They all pull this trick, but there is a legal way and a stupid way to do this. He chose stupid. http://oce.house.gov/2014/06/june-11-2014---oce-referral-regarding-rep-steve-stockman.html [house.gov]

    So it's not surprising that he would be the one to further complicate the snake pit of uncontrolled domestic surveillance by injecting it into a congressional investigation. Considering his quote about Obama breaking the constitution, his appeal to use unconstitutionally collected data to get at the IRS is mind boggling. His brain is clearly an irony free zone.

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Monday June 16, 2014 @08:01PM (#47250417)

    Since the NSA is supposed to be monitoring threats to the US, this request implies that the NSA is targeting the IRS or members of its staff as a potential threat.

    I could agree with that.

  • Since the US government is not protected by itself branches of itself can invade the privacy of the other branches. Check and Mate. I think we found out how to destroy the NSA and IRS in one swoop.
  • ... at least we're safe from binders full of women, whatever that would mean!

    Whew, dodged that bullet!

  • by msobkow (48369) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:05PM (#47251361) Homepage Journal

    In both the US and Canada, data is supposed to be retained for 7 years by companies. It's standard practice to archive email at the SERVER before letting a client download it. Some places won't even allow email downloads, but force you to stick with protocols that leave the email on the server for safe keeping.

    I don't buy it for a second. They didn't "lose" the emails and they can get them from the system backups for the email server ANY TIME.

    Someone should be SHOT for this fraud.

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