The IRS Lost Those Emails? No Way.

Operative BJ writes in with something that has been bugging a lot of people, including your Czar, regarding the alleged loss of every critical Lois Lerner email—to and from—regarding the IRS scandal.

Your Majesty,

Even I, a lowly minion, am smart enough – or at least capable enough – of keeping multiple copies of my emails on my local server. Those local copies are on my “home drive”, which is on an external RAID-1 (mirrored drives) NAS (network attached storage). Some of that data is copied to a second RAID-1 NAS on a nightly basis. And every couple of months, I back up everything important – like my emails, photos, videos, and other important data like tax return data – to DVDs (as many as it takes) that are put into a notebook and stored on a bookshelf out of sunlight.

I would posit that, if the IRS is not capable of backing up their own emails, then they’re obviously not capable of backing up our tax return data. And if their server admins are so incompetent that they are incapable of properly administrating an email system, then they are probably incapable of administering any server… and should be replaced by high-school students or some of those ITT Technical School graduates.

The next time the IRS claims they didn’t get my tax return, can I claim that I sent it to them – TWICE! – but their servers “ate it”? After all, how can they prove they never got it if they can’t manage their own servers?

Your faithful – and fully backed-up – servant.

This claim is about one simple lawsuit away from exposing the truth.

fact-2BshredLook, it wasn’t Lois Lerner’s job to back up her own email at work. But it is the IT department’s job. Now, admittedly, a lot of IT departments fail to do proper backups or think they do. Each night, the backup software carefully activates, identifies what data has changed since the previous day, and dutifully sends it to a backup storage device that was removed from the system in 2003, and no longer functions. The backup server cheerfully records the failed backup and writes it to a log that no one looks at. This happens, and we get that.

But it is ridiculous to believe that that the IRS has been able to luck out of needing a restored backup for 24 months. But is it possible? Certainly.

But it is possible that an email server can lose one person’s email for 2 years but no one else’s? No, because that is not how email servers work.

An email server for a large entity like the IRS (or even here at the Castle) has a large server with a lot of storage on it. The emails are indexed into a database. When the Czar sends an email and copies ‘Puter, GorT, and Dr. J. on it, the email server does not sends separate messages to all three of those guys. It saves one copy of the message to the server, and basically gives read rights to those guys’ inbox. And it indexes that a copy should be saved to our Sent Mail directory. Then, as they read the messages, the server records who read it and when. Each can then forward, reply, or more typically delete it—but then the deleted email remains on the server until everyone has deleted the original, provided no one forwarded it or replied to it.

If there is a large attachment, say like our Visitor’s Guide, that can be saved to an off-site storage devices in order to free up space on a busy mail server. But don’t kid yourself: the email message itself still remains, including all related data: date, time, to whom it was sent, whether each recipient read it, deleted it without reading, moved it to a different area, replied, forwarded, or whatever.

And because it is indexed and reindexed so many different ways, it is not conceivable that somehow Lois Lerner’s email, and only her messages, were magically lost. If her emails were truly lost, it would affect thousands of users who use the same server. All their emails would be lost too.

And that could happen, but it would be noticed within minutes. Heck, just make a mandatory password change and watch and see how many phone calls the IT support desk gets. Thousands of users on a server losing email instantly? Yeah, it would take minutes.

On the other hand, is it possible to edit the database on an email server and have it remove every trace of Lois Lerner’s emails? You know, remove her name from cc: and bcc: lists, and delete any message she created, replied to, or forwarded? Absolutely. in fact, that would be a great way to remove any chance of forensic discovery. And then if you do a complete backup of the email server so that it overwrites all backups for two years with this tampered database, yes, that could produce the desired result. Especially since no one really uses backup tapes: they duplicate data from one storage device to another as you described. That could take a couple hours at most, only. But of course, that would be incredibly dishonest.

The Justice Department doesn’t want to investigate Lois Lerner because it knows what will be revealed about the President as well as the Attorney General’s involvement in this scandal. But yes, Operative BJ, anyone who has some time on their hand could make the claim that their unpaid taxes are the result of this email loss—and thereby trigger an investigation into what really happened. And the Justice Department is going to have to deal with the truth sooner, rather than later.

And the Czar expects the Justice Department is really going to wish it came clean from the very beginning. Make no mistake—Nixon lost the presidency over much less than this.

About The Czar of Muscovy

Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia by upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.