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

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:07PM (#47250053)

    Charities are not all religious and they really need that 501c status and tax-break

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

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

    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.

  • 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. []

    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. []

    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 CAOgdin ( 984672 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @08:52PM (#47250883) the reasoning behind NSA acting as the national backup.

    Some politician (Stockman is not a surprise, by any means) will demand the data, supposedly used for National Security ONLY, must be allowed to be used for political purposes. If the government lets this one work, then think about how Nixon's Enemies List would have been managed using NSA data, and it spells the end of democracy.

    Stockman is too dumb to even KNOW this is why the Patriot Act was so BAD: It abolished the pretense that the government wasn't spying on everybody...ala 1984 (only 30 years' later). This is the very abuse of the NSA over-reaching data collection policies that Snowden warned us about (as have others before him). This will be the test case for whether universal surveillance is now national policy...but they'll cover it up by providing the data in secret, publicly denying it, and then claiming, "This is why we can't share information; we need MORE right to trample the Bill of Rights!."

    Forewarned is forearmed.
  • Re:Just imagine "if" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by steelfood ( 895457 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @09:34PM (#47251155)

    If only they could restore those lost emails [] 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.

  • Re:Just imagine "if" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @09:35PM (#47251169)

    Witch hunt comes from assuming guilt ahead of time and then seeking to find or distort evidence as proof of that guilt. In the past, this might mean that the village is all out looking for a witch and notice that a cow died which proves that a witch is present. In the present, it means that when emails are deleted then this becomes proof that a crime is being covered up.

    In other words, there is no search for the truth occuring here, especially when the request for the metadata says that the guilt has already been decided ("we know you killed the cow, we're just trying to figure out how").

  • 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.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @03:38AM (#47252397)

    The level of discourse is very low on both sides.

    I have to suffer through way more "libtards" than "knuckle-dragger" (rare) or a "mouth breather" (never?) or a "religious nut" (now this one is common).

    And it's Limbaugh who is calling women "sluts" (and worse.)

    After Romney lost- it was my conservative friends who were defriending all my liberal friends. I couldn't believe they were shocked he lost. It was *clear* from August that he was going to lose- he was unelectable.

    I *used* to be a conservative independent (Voted for Reagan- twice... and for Bush Sr). But the republican party has been running so hard to the right, I'm finding myself unable to vote for any republican candidate that gets through the primary. They are all religious extremists who are neither fiscally conservative nor socially liberal.

    In my conservative mailing list, Eric Cantor ( A "grade A" conservative according to the NRA and the anti-abortion groups) was called a "Rino". As far to the right as he was, he was still considered a liberal.

    It is *literally* reached the point that it is crazy. Especially now that the Tea party has been taken over by the christian right who has basically forced out the original libertarian base.

    I don't think your view of reality is very realistic. I've seen that increasingly in both the left and the right wings becoming extremists. The right seems to also be losing touch with reality. I really am starting to think we are going to see the disintegration of the republican party into a wealthy/corporate party, a religious party, and a libertarian party. And none of them will be electable so that should be impossible.

  • Re:Just imagine "if" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @04:25AM (#47252547) Homepage

    What 'wrong'. The function of the IRS is to ensure that the majority of the tax claimable is paid. Now out of the mounts of GOPers, they earn all the money and lefties are useless. unemployed and broke welfare queens. So where should the IRS deploy their resources and spend all that taxpayer money pursuing unpaid taxes, from the GOPers who claim to have it all and publicly (don't even try to hide it but brag about it) myopically pursue every imaginable tax avoidance scheme or according to those very same GOPers or all those unemployed broke lefties, considering each audit takes much the same time and cost much the same money. Out of the GOPers own mouths, the IRS should upon sound economic returns upon investment, performance base, focus all it's efforts on GOPers because according to the GOPers themselves that is where all the tax dollars are ;D ;D ;D.

    As for archival copies, so many government agencies and private corporations fail at it, its not longer funny. Just because you think you are backing up and archiving does not mean you are and you only do so in reality when you randomly and routinely check all back up and archives, in fact you need to spend more time on testing and auditing backups and archives than in producing them in order to ensure that you are in reality producing them and that is up to and including restoring from backup onto test systems.

    I personally would be deeply surprised that most government departments around the globe have not managed to lose most of their backups and archives through failing to test them appropriately and basically backup backups, especially through periods of funding cutbacks. It is most amusing to think of all the petabytes of data sitting in storage, that are not really petabytes of data but rather blank or corrupted data storage devices, being stored for no purpose and at great expense.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel