Sharyl Attkisson Asks Questions That CBS Isn't Asking About the Suddenly Missing IRS E-mails

Apparently CBS News believes in the Easter Bunny.

Brad Wilmouth reported this morning that CNN's John King made this comment about the Lois Lerner emails that the IRS now claims are supposedly lost: ""Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe that Lois Lerner's emails just suddenly went poof?" Well, CBS News seems to be in Easter Bunny belief mode based on their narrow online report Friday, IRS lost Lois Lerner's emails in tea party probe, which carefully avoids any curiosity as how such emails are now supposedly irretrievable. In fact their own former reporter Sharyl Attkisson is now asking on her website the questions that CBS should but so far hasn't been asking:

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 which contrasts sharply with the CBS online report:

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service says it has lost a trove of emails to and from a central figure in the agency's tea party controversy. The IRS told congressional investigators Friday it cannot locate many of Lois Lerner's emails prior to 2011 because her computer crashed that year. Lerner headed the IRS division that processed applications for tax-exempt status.

...The IRS was able to generate 24,000 Lerner emails from the 2009 to 2011 because Lerner had copied in other IRS employees. The agency said it pieced together the emails from the computers of 83 other IRS employees.

But an untold number are gone. Camp's office said the missing emails are mainly ones to and from people outside the IRS, "such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices."


The IRS said in a statement that it has gone to great lengths cooperating with congressional investigations, spending nearly $10 million to produce more than 750,000 documents.

Overall, the IRS said it is producing a total of 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering the period from 2009 to 2013.

Although the CBS report included quoting House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa's skepticism about how the emails were conveniently lost as well as a call for a forensic audit by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, CBS did not investigate this for themselves or even ask computer experts for their input. Ironically, the most informative part comes after the report from their own readers comments which provides the skeptical questioning utterly lacking in the CBS report:

I call BS, with all the laws on file retention there is no way you could lose a years worth of data. If this happen in the private sector and the government requested the info, people would be going to jail.

By the way, the IRS Commissioner testified that they had archived copies (back ups). So, where are those?

If the IRS says they have lost all of the emails going to/from other agencies and departments, that's ok. All of those other agencies and departments have back-up servers as well.

Emails are never lost. Often the senders wish they were, but they aren't. Copies are on every server the email passed through as well as the recipient's. And there are backups.

Only way that email can't be recovered is if it was intentionally deleted from all backups and the NSA loses it too.

Any IT guy who has worked for the gov. knows how many backups they have so nothing can get lost.

So CBS had all weekend to digest just the input from their own readers as well as the informed skepticism from many other sources such as Attkisson and the best they could come with is a remarkably incurious Nancy Cordes report on today's CBS This Morning which accepted the IRS excuse as chronicled by Kyle Drennen of Newsbusters.

It remains to be seen if CBS will continue in its Easter Bunny mode looking in the bushes for the colored eggs or take a cue from Attkisson as well as their own readers  and start looking in the right places.

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.