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Lois Lerner's Emails: A Tech Expert Responds


Here's what has one IT professional saying it's "pure nonsense" that the IRS only kept six months of email records and was able to easily lose them.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

My first article about this ongoing saga, “Lois Lerner’s Emails are Available with One Phone Call,” was admittedly a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Sure, just call the National Security Agency and have them print out their copies, right? Doing so would be a de facto admission that they are in fact collecting everyone's electronic communications. This is clearly something the NSA does not want to admit.

The response from the elected officials and their staff accomplished something perhaps just as meaningful. It elicited a flood of correspondence from you, TheBlaze reader.

In the days following the last installment I was contacted by forensic experts, information technology professionals, certified fraud investigators, and a former federal prosecutor - just to name a few. While this issue may be occasionally overshadowed by Hamas and Gaza, or a flood of illegals on the southern boarder, these shadows will receede. We the people will not allow the nation's tax collector to behave this way.

FILE - This May 22, 2013 file photo shows Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner on Capitol Hill in Washington. The IRS 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 acknowledged last year that agents had improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status by tea party and other conservative groups. The IRS was able to generate 24,000 Lerner emails from 2009 to 2011 because Lerner had copied in other IRS employees. But an untold number are gone. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

By far the most interesting correspondence was with Vinny Troia. Troia is what many call a "white hat hacker." Businesses pay his firm to hack into their computer systems in order to determine weaknesses and gaps in their security. Troia is arguably one of the best in the country and has a comprehensive knowledge of computers and network systems. What's more, he also has an extensive background and expertise in Federal Information Security Management Act compliance and FedRAMP, the government's risk and access management certification for cloud computing.

For those unfamiliar with the acronym FISMA, like Watergate it may indeed become a household word. Any individual or business wishing to do business with the Federal Government in any IT capacity whatsoever must write software and build systems in compliance with this law. Every U.S. government agency is required to continuously maintain compliance with these regulations.

These regulations specific to the Internal Revenue Service include an audit log.

According to IRS publication 1075, section 9, the agency's own regulations on how it shall retain information and maintain FISMA compliance, there is a log of every virtually every transaction. The notion that the IRS only kept a six month back up, as Troia put it in a telephone interview, "is pure nonsense."

Regulations regarding disaster recovery aside, this audit log is kept for seven years. What is significant here is that in every year since 2009, ongoing reviews of security and records report that the IRS has indeed disclosed that these audit logs are intact and available.

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This is where Troia and I part company. I still belive that email is forever, that there is no such thing as delete. Troia believes that these emails are so damaging to the IRS that the culprits have gone into all systems, ensured that the emails have been deleted, and that all of the backups were destroyed. Furthermore, that these emails are so damaging to the Obama administration that they concocted the preposterous story that Lerner and six of her subordinates lost all their emails in hard drive crashes within a few days of each other.

However, in one of our conversations, both Troia and I agreed not only that the audit logs would hold records of which IRS IT technician deleted what and when, but also that the audit logs showing such would legally be the smoking gun and could be the harbinger of criminal indictments.

After hearing Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) thunder away about foliation of evidence, it would be most appropriate to hear him do so again while waving a copy of these audit logs. Judge Emmet Sullivan would surely enjoy reading them as well.

Dave welcomes your questions and comments On twitter: @davepeavy Facebook: /i> Email: davepeavy@gmail.com

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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