To say that this is purely a matter of coincidence is to strain credulity to the point of absurdity, and to suggest that these files were not backed up externally is also quite a stretch. As one commenter noted on my Facebook page, “1.8 billion dollar budget for their IT. Oh yes. They will say that they do not have enough resources, even with that bloated IT budget.” And this, “Based on my experience as an IT professional, it seems the logical conclusion [that they are lying].” Others also asked about the NSA. Surely they have the missing data.
All of which leads to one obvious question: What is the IRS hiding? What could be so bad about those emails, so bad that it was better to “lose” them – as damning as that looks – then to produce them?
As House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa said to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at an unusual night-time hearing on Monday, “We have a problem with you, and you have a problem maintaining your credibility.”
To Issa’s words, we might add, “To say the least!”
As for Koskinen’s claims that hard drive crashes are all too common, given the outdated equipment the IRS is force to use because of budget cuts, I imagine that many Americans are smiling to themselves over this remark as well, wondering, “How come the IRS never seems to lose my information when I owe them money?”
Of course, anything is possible, and through a series of bizarre mishaps, all the emails in question might really have disappeared without being backed up anywhere else.
But since the odds of that happening are so utterly astronomical, most Americans will likely conclude that the IRS is covering up something really serious, and many will believe the worst – right up to the doors of the Oval Office – unless they hear otherwise.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.