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

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the they-were-just-here dept.

United States 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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Just imagine "if" (2, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Just imagine "if" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249875)

For all their mouth-breathing bullshit, nobody should make the mistake of thinking that the GOP is stupid. This is a lose-lose for the President on its face: if the NSA doesn't come back with the data that it's asserted they have, then they're in cahoots with Obama; if they somehow do come back with it, then it proves the GOP right. Either way, they win. It's a slimy, empty, political victory, but a victory all the same.

Re:Just imagine "if" (5, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 4 months ago | (#47250037)

Amazing how you have made this into the GOP being slimy when the whole issue is due to the Democrat controlled IRS (during that time-period) losing all relevant emails from a large period of time. That is what is slimy here.

Re:Just imagine "if" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250249)

Both the democraps and the republicunts are wothless sleazebag traitors, both parties should be annihilated and every current member of our government arrested and tried for treason, with wartime penalties applied when they're convicted.

Re:Just imagine "if" (1, Flamebait)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47250075)

Nope, they're stupid -

"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.

Nothing like a good witch hunt now and again. Nothing like making your mind up before you even start the 'investigation'.

Re:Just imagine "if" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250155)

A witch hunt for someone who violated the Constitution and then "accidentally" lost thousands of emails?

I don't think "witch hunt" means what you think it does.

Re:Just imagine "if" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250397)

Maybe she's a witch?

NSA in cahoots with Obama ? (1)

lippydude (3635849) | about 4 months ago | (#47250545)

"if the NSA doesn't come back with the data that it's asserted they have, then they're in cahoots with Obama"

HAAAA_RR !!

did you even NOTICE what you just admitted? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250571)

"... it proves the GOP right. Either way, they win"

So... who's the so-called "mouth breather" now??????

One of the things I have long noticed about you left-wingers is that you are never confident enough in your beliefs to argue them in a civil tone: anybody who disagrees is called a "knuckle-dragger" or a "mouth breather" or a "religious nut" or gets some other far worse insult attached (black critics of Obama get called things like "Uncle Toms" (and FAR worse) and conservative women get called "sluts" and worse) .... AND you guys are often so very thin-skinned that you complain that you are being insulted when somebody simply IDENTIFIES you with a term like "left wing" ot "lefty" (no more insulting in the real world than "right wing" or "righty")

If Mr Obama and his team are the soooper-geniuses you all seem to presume they are, then how could they have screwed-up so badly as to now be trapped by a bunch of obviously cro-magnon "mouth breathers"???? If Obama and his team are as transparent as you guys all insist they are, then how come ANYTHING is having to be discovered via lawsuits and subpoenas???? and if they are so honest and correct as you guys always assert thay are, then how can these things POSSIBLY be ANY risk to them at all??? (and if they're no risk then why does the Obama admin waste so much time and energy HIDING them????)

Re:Just imagine "if" (5, Funny)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 4 months ago | (#47249895)

NSA is the National Backup Service

Re:Just imagine "if" (5, Funny)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 4 months ago | (#47249957)

National Storage Archives.

Re:Just imagine "if" (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 4 months ago | (#47250153)

Of course, what they're shooting for is

No Secrets Anywhere.

Re:Just imagine "if" (5, Insightful)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 4 months ago | (#47249903)

This is hilarious. If they CAN get the info, it makes everyone in government VERY nervous, if they can't get it, then the next thing this congressman should bring up is "why the heck are we funding the NSA if they don't actually seem to do anything?" Ok, the NSA's answer to that is "we do lots of stuff, but we can't tell you about it, it's secret".

Re:Just imagine "if" (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 4 months ago | (#47249983)

I mean, we could tell you what we're doing, but then the terrorists would win. You don't want that...do you? Think of the baby bald eagles and amber waves of grain!

Re:Just imagine "if" (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 4 months ago | (#47250357)

here's how it will end: "data in NSA record is subject to national security limitations and can only be shared with people with doubleplus security clearance. meaning, even if the congressman had the security clearance to view the info, he could never talk about it. just some grandstanding.

Re:Just imagine "if" (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#47250465)

if they can't get it, then the next thing this congressman should bring up is "why the heck are we funding the NSA if they don't actually seem to do anything?"

The NSA is not tasked with backing up everyone's email. Why would they be expected to do that?

Re:Just imagine "if" (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250013)

they'll deny it

yup. the official response, if there ever is one, will go something like this.

"we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested data in our records. to do so would be a risk to national security."

(because whether they can produce the data, and to what extent, would reveal information about programs that will be claimed to be 'sensitive' or 'classified')

Re:Just imagine "if" (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47250513)

Wrong. What we've been seeing lately is that they'll just tell you they don't have it. They'll confirm they don't have it. Especially if they do actually have it.

They're on record lying to congress already. So they're not going to have any trouble looking you right in the eye and saying "nope"...

Keep in mind, we're talking about investigating an IRS scandal in which the IRS is now claiming the requested emails were lost in a hard drive crash.

They expect us to believe that the emails were only stored on an end user laptop and that there were no back ups and that the server retained no records... of official IRS email.

Do you believe that? No one does. Even the people saying they believe it don't actually believe it... its just part of the political game going on right now.

Apparently the IRS was taken over by some political factions that wanted to limit speech... and when they got caught at it the whole IRS is now trying to cover it up.

None of which is being made easier by the white house which wants everyone to believe their shit doesn't stink... and the "justice" department which so far as I've seen has made a point of not investigating anything.

I could respect the "neither confirm nor deny" line because it wasn't a lie. It was a refusal to answer. But they're not doing that anymore. They're just lying now. And they're not just doing it to casual requests for information. They're lying on court documents, lying in response to FOIA orders, and they're lying directly to congress.

Which means they're lying to everyone we have access to... they could be lying to the president as well for all we know.

Re:Just imagine "if" (4, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47250041)

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.

Re:Just imagine "if" (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 4 months ago | (#47250261)

All they needed was some marketing. If only they had called themselves SkyDrive, or OneDrive, or iCloud...

Re:Just imagine "if" (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47250551)

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.

What on earth are you talking about? Of course they have it. It's a federal agency. It's the IRS! It's probably some of the most desirable, easiest to get info out there.

SubjectsForCommentsAreStupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249703)

will help establish how IRS and other personnel violated rights protected by the First Amendment

Reach a conclusion first, then look for evidence that supports it.

Re:SubjectsForCommentsAreStupid (5, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 4 months ago | (#47249761)

It is very difficult not to reach this conclusion, unless you believe that the IRS just lost all relevant information by accident...

Re:SubjectsForCommentsAreStupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249907)

The tapes accidentally got sucked into the blast furnace after accidentally falling into the rip-shredder. That's the last time we let a Parkinsonian sysadmin handle crucial data!

Re:SubjectsForCommentsAreStupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250109)

It is very difficult not to reach this conclusion, unless you believe that the IRS just lost all relevant information by accident...

All of you need to ask where are YOUR work emails from between 2009 and 2011?

Supposing you do actually have mail server backups that old at your job, how confident are you my request would be satisfied if I requested all of some random person's email from that period?

Re:SubjectsForCommentsAreStupid (4, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 4 months ago | (#47250127)

Oh they are all stored both in the server and in my own backups, but then again neither I not my company are a governmental entity who has the duty and the legal obligation to store and preserve this kind of information, what should I know.

Re:SubjectsForCommentsAreStupid (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 4 months ago | (#47250387)

Same here. Between CYA and emails which contain some extremely useful information, can't afford not to keep them around.

Re:SubjectsForCommentsAreStupid (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250177)

I happen to know for a fact that all of my email sent & received is backed up for 7 years, because those are the retention requirements imposed on my company by the federal government.

So my emails from 2009 - 2011 are archived happily along with all of the other email from the 2nd half of 2007 through the present day. If a private corporation can be held to this level of competency (and it's really not THAT hard), why shouldn't the motherfucking IRS, which literally owns the fucking finances of the government?

The dog ate my email (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249707)

What a lame excuse, They're not even trying anymore.

Re:The dog ate my email (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250089)

Actually the tape drive fell and bumped it's head(s). Now it can't remember anything about questions asked by Congressional Committee members.

Captain Oblivious (5, Funny)

Saei (3133199) | about 4 months ago | (#47249729)

Quickly! Use your fourth amendment violation to help us with this first amendment violation! No, that's not a joke. Why are you laughing?!

Re:Captain Oblivious (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47249995)

Use your fourth amendment violation to help us with this first amendment violation!

Government records are not protected by the fourth amendment. Here is the amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Corporations may be people, but government agencies are not.

Re:Captain Oblivious (5, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | about 4 months ago | (#47250081)

While this particular set of data isn't a(n alleged) violation of the 4th amendment, it was (allegedly) caught in the net of massive (alleged) 4th amendment violations

That's a long wait... (4, Insightful)

raydobbs (99133) | about 4 months ago | (#47249733)

That's going to be a long wait for a train that never comes - the NSA will simply not comply. Its a nice 'in your face' gesture though, real cute. Should get some political points during election time, I'm sure.

1st Amendment rights?? (3, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47249735)

Bullshit. These people are just trying to avoid paying taxes. Kill this 501(c) bullshit now. Or are you going to try to tell me that would violates everybody's "rights"?

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (4, Insightful)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 4 months ago | (#47249775)

I was under the impression that one of the requirements for being a non-profit was the agreement that you wouldn't be an actionable organization. Seems to me that most of the organizations, both conservative and liberal, were rightly under the microscope.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (3, Informative)

Craig Cruden (3592465) | about 4 months ago | (#47249827)

There are two independent issues. The investigation is about using the IRS to pursue the political agenda or those that are in charge of the IRS. The 501c is a separate issue. Non-profit status should only be inferred on charitable organizations or religious (i.e. not political) , and the congress could make those changes anytime it wants.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (0)

msauve (701917) | about 4 months ago | (#47249991)

Non-taxpaying (501c) status should simply go away. Why should religious organizations receive special treatment vs. commercial ones, and why isn't that "establishment?" (It may be non-denominational, but it certainly establishes religion)

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250053)

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

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 4 months ago | (#47250411)

So do many companies and individuals. It would be nice if we were all interested in lower taxes overall instead of just carving out special exceptions for pet projects.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 4 months ago | (#47250311)

I was under the impression that one of the requirements for being a non-profit was the agreement that you wouldn't be an actionable organization. Seems to me that most of the organizations, both conservative and liberal, were rightly under the microscope.

They were.

They're also organizations that are probably donating to people like Representative Steve Stockman. Funny how that works.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249797)

You are advocating for the removal of charitable organizations? Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This would cost society far more than it would ever save in tax revenue.

Capcha is "patriot" lol

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (2)

plover (150551) | about 4 months ago | (#47250363)

Maybe, maybe not. Congress is saying "Since charities like food shelves and food banks take care of feeding people in trouble, we are cutting funding to food assistance programs." Never mind that people need food shelves because their assistance programs were reduced by the very same Congress.

They're outsourcing assistance programs and the only funding comes from donations. If people and corporations don't get tax exemptions for their donations, they won't donate as much. Many of the already stretched thin food banks would close, and the rest would have to cut back on their assistance. The resulting crisis might spark enough outrage to require restoration of the assistance programs.

But yeah, when it comes to religious organizations, they should be taxed exactly like nightclubs. They behave the same: mood lights, candles, music, ritualized dancing, ringing bells, drinking wine, their customers dress up for the occasion, and they're filled with people talking about unbelievable nonsense. The primary difference is that one of them cards you at the door.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (4, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47249969)

The laws appear to be vague such that somebody has to make a judgment call over what suspicious activity to inspect further. If anybody has an idea for making those judgements more objective and/or fair, please speak up.

And it may require more staff and resources. You can't have good & fair auditing on the cheap; pony up the taxes or stop complaining when one low-level person has "too much power" to make such decisions.

There is no free lunch.
 

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47249999)

If anybody has an idea for making those judgements more objective and/or fair, please speak up.

Sure, apply existing law fairly and impartially.

And it may require more staff and resources.

Which wasn't a problem here. Favoritism is worse than no enforcement at all.

1st Amendment rights?? (3, Informative)

Jaxim (858185) | about 4 months ago | (#47250049)

Fine. So long as they also do it for liberal groups like the Unions. But that won't ever happen because liberals like to play by a different set of rules.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (-1, Troll)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47250113)

Of course I mean all of them. You can shitcan your "liberal/conservative troll crap. I don't play that game. It's strictly business.

Golly, have you ever fallen for a scam! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250125)

Do you have ANY comprehension of what you seem to be supporting????? Consider:

Person A pays his taxes. Person B pays his taxes. Person C pays his taxes.

Persons A,B, and C form a club, and each tosses-in a few dollars to fund club activities.

WHY ON EARTH is the government automatically entitled to apply a new tax to the already taxed money the three people chipped-in????

Now let's extend this a bit...

The club has functions of general benefit to society. Anything from providing medicine to needy kids, or food to hungry families, or teaching English to immigrants, helping drunks get sober, you name it ... and wealthy person D decides to donate to the cause. For a wide variety of historical and cultural reasons, in the US it has long been policy to not tax the money that person D donates to help the club. The general reason is that the US was never intended to be socialist - it had a small government and left "social welfare" to a huge array of voluntary and charitable organizations. Money already flowing to such organizations was already deemed to be in the public good, and it was therefore redundant and counter-productive to tax it "for the public good".

do-gooders on the left long-ago declared that actions in the political realm were in this very nature of being "beneficial to society" and in that vein, the labor unions were enabled to become hugely involved in politics by disguising their Democrat-aligned election activities as "voter outreach", "volunteer training" and so-on and were able to do it under the 501(c4) section of the US code (which covers labor unions). For DECADES all the people on the left DEPENDED on this and defended it with lofty rhetoric about "civic responsibility" and so on. Only recently, as people on the right started to try using the same parts of US law in a similar way, have Democrats become critics - and ALL their proposals to remove the tax exemption have included the 501(c3) section of IRS code (which is where the non-union charities all are) while carefully and deliberately letting the 501(c4) section (which conveniently only applies to labor unions) stand. Any proposal to kill-off tax exemption for the 501(c3) groups in a partisan attempt to "get" the Koch Brothers or the TEA Party, will also hit things like the Shriners, Alcoholics Anon, Food Banks, etc while protecting the thugs at the UAW and the SEIU - an obnoxious result for something pretending to be "reform".

IF you are going to remove ABSOLUTELY ALL tax exemptions from US Law, you'd at least be more fair than any proposal the Democrats have ever supported BUT you are still stuck with the problem of a group where all the members are contributing after-tax dollars: Should THAT money be re-taxed? I ask because many such proposals remove that tax exemption by declareing a gathering of people to be a new entity and the money chipped-in to be "income". Under that scheme there is no such thing as "freedom of assembly" because nearly every gathering costs money and as such would be taxed and regulated and subject to harassment and arbitrary suppression.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250165)

These people are just trying to avoid paying taxes.

You mean the people that fund these political organizations through their donations? You should know they've already paid their taxes. Why do you think they should be taxed again?

Not to mention conservative groups were disproportionately targeted and delayed, as compared to liberal groups.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47250245)

Where the hell do you get that idea?? The organization pays no tax on their income, unlike a regular working person. And the people "donating" are getting a deduction on their tax. Why? It's bogus. And stop with this "liberal/conservative" crap. It has nothing to do with the price of rice.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250471)

You stupid cunt. What part of "nor prevent the free exercise thereof" confuses you?

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47250505)

You can freely exercise anything you want, including your sphincter. That doesn't entitle you to any tax exemptions that I don't get.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (0)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 4 months ago | (#47250307)

Bullshit. These people are just trying to avoid paying taxes. Kill this 501(c) bullshit now. Or are you going to try to tell me that would violates everybody's "rights"?

Apparently Representative Steve Stockman has forgotten that the 1st Amendment only protects your rights to say something without prosecution by the government, and not your ability to not have to pay taxes.

It's both hilarious and sad that this man thinks having to pay normal taxes has anything to do with freedom of speech. Next Up: The government can't charge me taxes because it violates my religion. What religion is that you ask? None of your business, tax man.

Re:1st Amendment rights?? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250381)

These people are just trying to avoid paying taxes. Kill this 501(c) bullshit now.

The problem isn't that the Tea Party folks wanted to avoid paying taxes. The problem is that the IRS, which has vast powers so that it can extract tax revenue from the people, abused those powers for political ends. And what is worse, it abused those powers unequally, harassing one group while leaving another group alone.

For 27 months, not one single Tea Party group was approved for 501(c) status, while dozens of liberal groups were approved. And since you will automatically call me a liar if I link Fox News, here's a USA Today story about this.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/05/14/irs-tea-party-progressive-groups/2158831/ [usatoday.com]

I view this as tampering with an election, and it is very much NOT OKAY. I'm pissed about this and you should be.

Or are you going to try to tell me that would violates everybody's "rights"?

Are you going to try to tell me that nobody's rights have been violated? Or is it just that you think it's okay to violate the rights of "Tea Party" groups since you don't approve of them?

If you think it's okay to violate the rights of those with whom you disagree, just be honest about it and say so.

If you think it's not okay for the IRS to abuse its powers for political ends, regardless of whom they were abusing, then wake up and start reading the news.

I want to see dozens of people from the IRS fired, tried in court, and go to jail if convicted. But if I can't have that, then I will look forward to the day when some conservative President gets elected and the IRS starts doing this stuff to liberal groups. Perhaps then you will take it seriously.

Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249739)

At least they don't pretend all this data collection is just for catching terrorists anymore. It's nice to see some honesty in the government.

Nice Synergy (-1, Troll)

Microsift (223381) | about 4 months ago | (#47249749)

Take a real scandal (NSA) and link it to a fake one (IRS). If you are stupid enough to make your organization's name sound like it's that of a political party, you can expect extra scrutiny. The reason I know there was no real suppression is that Crossroads GPS got its tax-exempt status and then spent millions on the election, "educating" voters to vote for Mitt Romney. Where was the outrage from Stockman when President W. Bush was firing US Attorney's who prosecuted Republican politicians?

Re:Nice Synergy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249831)

So you "know" there was no suppression because one got through? Sounds like your bar for making conclusions is set pretty low.

Re:Nice Synergy (4, Insightful)

gnu-sucks (561404) | about 4 months ago | (#47249865)

There's nothing "stupid" about naming a political party with a political name.

It's a real scandal when the party in power can leverage tax exempt status, or any other "treatment" from the IRS. You can agree or disagree with the political opinions or positions of these parties, but you must never use political power to prevent another party from gaining traction.

That's more than a scandal, it's pure simple corruption.

You'll probably reply with something political now, such as that you don't like the tea party or Romney or something. Totally irrelevant, save it for a real political discussion.

Re:Nice Synergy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249909)

The problem is that in order to get the tax exempt status you are not supposed to be a political party. With that rule in mind, what exactly do you expect when you submit for tax exemption while having the name of a political party?

Re:Nice Synergy (1)

gnu-sucks (561404) | about 4 months ago | (#47249977)

I expect that with a two-party system every single official in government has a political party affiliation. This is nothing new.

What I do not expect is for them to intentionally target groups which oppose some party they are adherents to. This is in direct contradiction to their job description, and of course, to the constitution.

What do I expect? I expect them to do better.

Re:Nice Synergy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249985)

Some non-for profit issues happen to be more supported by one political side than another. An issue being politicized does not make it ineligible for non-for profit status. If this was the case, planned parenthood and other organizations would need to also lose their non-for profit status, not just the conservatives issues.

There were some abuses by filers for status and those should be weeded out in a timely manner. Since issues on both sides of the political spectrum receive funding from these entities it is not fair to hurt entities that lean toward one side without also doing the same to the other side.

Re:Nice Synergy (5, Insightful)

Aeonym (1115135) | about 4 months ago | (#47249899)

"Take a real scandal (NSA) and link it to a fake one (IRS)"

Translation: "Take government malfeasance that I imagine affects me personally and link it government malfeasance that I don't think impacts me personally...yet"

You (and so many others) fail to appreciate what's obvious to others of us: that while the NSA behavior is egregious, it's now out in the open, and you can take steps to protect yourself. And if you already assume the worst--that the NSA is scanning/saving *everything*, then that can't get any worse.

But the extent of the IRS behavior *isn't* out in the open. It *can* get much worse. If there's *any* politically motivated behavior going on the the IRS, then that is tacit approval and groundwork for more. And you won't think it's a "fake" scandal in a decade when, left unchecked, you find yourself the subject of a tax audit because you donated to the political party not in power. They can put a lien on your house. They can garnish your wages. In terms of practically achievable damage to the average citizen's life, the IRS is far more dangerous. The power to tax is the power to destroy.

You can stymie the NSA. You can't stymie the IRS.

Re:Nice Synergy (0)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about 4 months ago | (#47250027)

Mod parent up.

It's easy to ignore the IRS scandal until an administration that opposes *your* views is elected and starts using it against you.

Re:Nice Try (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250271)

The IRS scandal is FAR from "fake". The administration used the IRS against its political opponents through TWO national election cycles. The IRS filtered the applications for tax exempt status looking for "liberal" or "progressive" groups (which were ACCELLERATED in the approval process) and TEA Party groups (which were thrown into legal limbo - neither approved nor denied (which would have allowed them to begin appeals)). This is on the record already established as FACT by the Inspector General within the Obama administration. The parts the Republicans keep investigating are: [1] WHO gave the orders (given that the people who probably did are on record under oath saying they did not) [2] WHO tried to cover it up (E-mails and other docs have been repeatedly hidden from congress, which has the legal right to see them, and administration officials have said under oath that it was all some little problem "at the Cleveland office" which is now known to be false) [3] Why is it STILL happening, WHO is still running it and WHO is still covering up (many TEA Party groups are STILL not getting processed after 3 YEARS). You liberals USED to claim that was EVIL (Democrats used that as an impeachment charge against Nixon, who had only TALKED about doing it). If you are now going to claim this IRS action is a "phony scandal" then you need to get on your knees and humbly apologize for all the hatred you every heaped on Nixon over the "phony" Watergate scandal (Remember: Nixon had no fore-knowledge of the Watergate break-in and no record was ever established that anything was (or could have been gained by) the break-in). If "using government against political enemies" and "using government to obstruct investigations" now constitutes a "phony scandal" then Watergate was as phony as a three dollar bill. Incidentally, I am at least consistent: I believe both Nixon and Obama aredysfunctional evil characters who deserve imprisonment for treason.

The money Karl Rove's "Crossroads GPS" spent backing Romney went straight down the toilet; Obama won and Rove's donors ended-up poorer for it ...... so for all the boogey-man shrieks by idiots on the left, no harm was done.

When Clinton fired all the US attys he had authority to fire, you lefties said nothing. When Obama did the same thing, you lefties said nothing. ONLY when Bush fired all the attys he had the legal right to fire did this action, long recognized as a normal thing that happens with every president, suddenly become something EVIL. Drop it, unless you are going to equally complain about Clinton and Obama doing it. Hell, right now Obama has appointed one of his own campaign donors to be the federal atty "investigating" the IRS actions.... are YOU outraged?

Re:Nice Synergy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250313)

There's nothing fake about the IRS being used for political muscle. The IRS gets to violate all sorts of due process measures like standards of proof being flipped (defendants have burden of proof in civil tax cases, rather than the government), asset seizure before/without a trial, etc.. It is a very nice tool to have, if you're in power.

If the request is granted, then ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249753)

you may expect subpoenas to be issued immediately to all individuals in control of emails sent outside the IRS that are identified with the supplied meta-data.

   

BS indicator spiking.... (5, Insightful)

Craig Cruden (3592465) | about 4 months ago | (#47249789)

Earlier testimony by the IRS indicated that it would take years to fulfil the current request to get the emails from the email server. Now they are saying a workstation crashed so the emails were lost....... Time to start charging people with obstruction of congress/justice.

Re:BS indicator spiking.... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47249929)

Earlier testimony by the IRS indicated that it would take.....Now they are saying...

I don't think you ever worked for a bureaucracy before. It often takes a good while for the right hand to figure out what the left hand is doing or did. People leave, move, or are promoted, and the new staff often do not know the history of what, where, how, why, and when past actions were done. It takes digging in old emails, papers, and making phone calls to prior staff to gradually put the history of Humpty back together again by combining the clues.

Lead A leads to lead B, which leads to lead C, etc. It's detective work, essentially.

I'm not surprised NASA lost the original Apollo 11 moon landing tapes. Disappointed, but not surprised. (They are probably next to the Arc of the Convenient in a giant warehouse.) Hell, if Roswell is true, I bet they lost the pickled aliens too. Misfiled under Jimmy Hoffa?

Re:BS indicator spiking.... (4, Funny)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47250057)

I don't think you ever worked for a bureaucracy before.

Imagine trying to use that excuse in an IRS audit of your business.

You can tell he's crazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249813)

What would metadata even prove without the content?

Re:You can tell he's crazy. (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 4 months ago | (#47249883)

At the very least, sender, recipient, time/date. Heck, maybe they even saved the email subject line.

Re:You can tell he's crazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250293)

A lot. Remember Patereus' affair? That was exposed by metadata.

SIMPLE - it would prove perjury (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250353)

Ms Lerner has said under oath that she had no such communications with the white house and certain other parts of government during these times. The congress wanted to see the e-mails BOTH to verify that testimony and also to enable them to then go to the other agencies with orders for the exact documents. The meta data would prove how many such e-mails existed, when and where and from whom they originated and to whom they were sent and might even include the text of the subject lines. Now (SHAZAM!) suddenly the very types of e-mails (ones between her IRS box and the boxes of other parts of the government - and during the very timeframe in question) are deleted. Wow. It's as if ALL the Nixon audio tapes (not just 18 minutes but ALL of them) miraculously erased themselves. Abra Cadabra! Kerpoof! All the e-mails on all the servers and backup tapes and backup servers and (federally-mandated) federal redords archiving servers all went crazy one night and lost ..... um ...... the EXACT same set of e-mails the congress demanded and which the Obama administration has long insisted it would evetually hand-over (they've been claiming they have the e-mails but that it would take a couple of YEARS (like until Mr Obama is retired) to porduce them).

Grandstanding (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249881)

Let's hear it for Congressman Douchbag McGrandstander! YAY! Defender of freedom! YAY! Just don't look behind the curtain and see how fucking corrupt this scumbag is. No, No, can't have that. Look in THIS hand. See those donations just disappear and reappear as a Rolex on my other hand!

The NSA does not have this data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249911)

They were taping into large internet backbones, not internal corporate pipes.

Re:The NSA does not have this data (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 months ago | (#47250147)

Actually, what they WANT is the Lerner emails which went out on the internet. The internal ones are less likely to be interesting.

As a common laborer I am non-profit (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47249927)

Where's my tax exempt status?

If you give to, or become a charity only so you can get out of your taxes, then fuck you. You're just being greedy. It's a bullshit game. I say again, this whole "scandal" is a diversion. The real scandal is how the IRS treats us that actually have to work for our money. They can steal your property and leave you in the street.

But what chutzpah! A congressman actually working an internet meme. 'Tis the season...

As a common laborer I am non-profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250439)

That would be the EITC. According to Candidate Romney, you're probably one of the 47% who will never votes for him.

laptop crashed?!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47249931)

His laptop has nothing to do with his email,
as all email is required by law to be archived at
the server!

What a scam, really? He's claiming the the laptop
was the only mail archive?!

Special prosecutor (5, Interesting)

Tailhook (98486) | about 4 months ago | (#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:Special prosecutor (5, Insightful)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#47250095)

A Special Prosecutor would have to be appointed by a member of 'The Most Transparent Administration.' That ain't gonna happen.

We can hope for change, though.

Re:Special prosecutor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250345)

We can hope for change, though.

Nice way to blame Obama for this. What ISN'T that guy's fault?

Re:Special prosecutor (-1, Offtopic)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 months ago | (#47250141)

Now you know how architects and engineers feel about the 9-11 story.

reset it! (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 4 months ago | (#47250073)

I think our government needs a reset.

Re:reset it! (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#47250327)

The only button they have is the one labeled "overcharge".

Obviously a coverup (3, Informative)

amightywind (691887) | about 4 months ago | (#47250083)

This is obviously a cover up. Time to for a special prosecutor. Let's get some demonrats under oath, as if that mattered to them. Nixon was impeached for threatening to use the IRS as a political weapon. Obama has done it.

Re:Obviously a coverup (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 4 months ago | (#47250251)

Nixon was impeached for threatening to use the IRS as a political weapon. Obama has done it.

Nixon did not threaten to do so, he did so. [colorado.edu] And lots more, too

I'm just loving this part (0)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 months ago | (#47250129)

Anyone even essentially familiar with email systems and technologies are coming out of the wordwork as an expert calling BS on the executive branch's lie. We've seen that lie before with the Bush administration and, if I recall, fewer people had as much to say other than "if their systems suck that bad, something should be done about it." In any case, not making a claim that either side is any different in that regard, but I am saying it's not the first time that lie was attempted.

But I see another similarity in another government lie. The 9-11 report says a lot of things about how/why the buildings fell as they did. And just like people in IT, people in architecture and engineering are still calling BS on the official story. Having worked for an AE firm, I can tell you there was no controversy on the topic. They all knew it was BS.

Re:I'm just loving this part (0)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 4 months ago | (#47250225)

We've seen that lie before with the Bush administration and, if I recall, fewer people had as much to say other than "if their systems suck that bad, something should be done about it."

In the Bush email case wasn't the excuse that the mail server had crashed, and after it crashed they found out that the tape backups hadn't been writing, and they never found out until they tried to do a restore? That at least was saying that the emails were on a server, which is where we all know they live. This is saying that the only copies of the emails was on one workstation, which is really hard to believe.

Sad thing about this is (5, Informative)

UrsaMajor987 (3604759) | about 4 months ago | (#47250163)

The sad thing about this political firestorm is that not one person in a hundred can actually explain what it is about. It's amazing how many people think that the IRS was seeking to prevent the Tea Party from getting tax exempt status; that was never the issue, their tax exempt status was never in doubt. The issue was they were applying for 501(c)(4) status which is reserved for social welfare groups like civic leagues and volunteer fire departments. Social welfare groups are allowed to engage in political activity but it cannot be their primary activity. Wondering why the Tea Party wanted that 501(c)(4) designation? Such groups do not have to reveal who is donating money to them. There has been a large run up in the number of groups applying for the 501(c)(4) designation.

Re:Sad thing about this is (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250487)

Pretty much this. It's also amazing how many people believe that ONLY the Tea Party groups were investigated (they weren't), or spout off with the "they should investigate unions too" crap (unions aren't this kind of organization and so such a thing would be meaningless).

What this is all about is the Tea Party groups trying to keep their rich astrotuf donors secret, getting caught at it, and doing what conservatives do: accusing their enemies of doing what they themselves do. The louder the better, because like they learned during the Bush administration, a lie told loudly and often will be believed by a lot of people.

I'm Confused (4, Interesting)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 4 months ago | (#47250201)

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.

I'm Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47250295)

The IRS claims it has Lois' internal emails, it only lost the ones to external people outside of the IRS. Add that to the list of questionable claims.

By the way, she was sending donor lists of Tea Party groups to liberal groups, lists the IRS legally had no right to collect, and even less right to hand out. If this is true Lois Learner WILL go to jail, it isn't even up for debate or question. At that point they can put the heat on her to tell the rest of the story for a reduced sentence.

All this is already well known, they are just collecting additional evidence to make the legal case easier to win for a bigger amount of time for Learner.

Does it have to come from NSA ? (1)

nomad63 (686331) | about 4 months ago | (#47250239)

I am not a windows or MS Exchange admin but as far as I know the lost emails, refer to email contents and they are kept separately from the email header information. Unless IRS claims they have lost every worker's email for this questionable period of time (which, in and of itself is admitting guilt by hiding the truth in my opinion) they should be easy to go to a backup of MS Exchange database and pull the necessary header information. If I am required to keep a 7 years long duration of my financial records, I am sure they are keeping the same on everybody for 7 years. Why not email then ? There is an old folks' saying: The fish smells from the head. This one stunk up the whole neighborhood. Just curious how the Teflon covered president elect will slide out of this one without rolling some serious heads, maybe including his own.

Bullshit but favorable bullshit (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 4 months ago | (#47250299)

This sounds like the action of a Congressman trying to discredit the NSA. The NSA obviously is not going to respond to this - if they did, they'd be inundated with requests from every small-town prosecutor wanting some more evidence (ironically, some might even get warrants for it). That would be worse than what will happen instead, which is that an anti-NSA legislator gets a talking point about how the NSA isn't using its data and isn't cooperating with the rest of the government (namely Congress).

Yes, it's just a political point being scored. But it's a point hopefully in our favor - or at the very least, one against our common enemy.

The more I think about it, the more I think this is the best way to get the NSA shut down. The general public has no control over it; trying to get them angry about it is pointless. The only way the general public could shut it down is by a revolution, and we're too well-fed and content to do that. But Congress could shut it down, so let's find every way to get Congressmen upset about the NSA. I wonder what a FOIA request for some congressional metadata would do...

lost mail (0)

JohnVanVliet (945577) | about 4 months ago | (#47250319)

did not "Bush" already loose a ton of mails when the "white house" moved from the
Huge giant sized corporate Lotus based mail to the " small business/HOME" mail system from MS

this is NOTHING new

Re:lost mail (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about 4 months ago | (#47250469)

Yes, mailgate was a big fiasco [wikipedia.org] and the Democrats wasted no time in flogging the administration over the lost e-mails. Funny how things turn around now 7 years later and everybody is aghast that the Republicans would now be yelling about the same thing.

Here's a solution for our branches of government, instead of every dept. having its own e-mail systems, get one and everybody use it. Set up default retention policies and eDiscovery mechanisms and then we won't have this kind of "lost" e-mail issue in the future. Of course they'll get CSC, IBM and Assenter to manage it and it'll cost the taxpayers billions but no longer will we have lost e-mails in the Federal Government. Come on they built a web site thingy, yeah that failed but with more money it was fixed, sort of.

Stockman is an asshat (4, Interesting)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 4 months ago | (#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. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-senate-candidate-steve-stockman-goes-awol/ [cbsnews.com]

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. http://oce.house.gov/2014/06/june-11-2014---oce-referral-regarding-rep-steve-stockman.html [house.gov]

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.

So the IRS is a terrorist organization? (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about 4 months ago | (#47250417)

Since the NSA is supposed to be monitoring threats to the US, this request implies that the NSA is targeting the IRS or members of its staff as a potential threat.

I could agree with that.

if the irs lost the emails (1)

superwiz (655733) | about 4 months ago | (#47250527)

what's to stop nsa from "losing" metadata? As long as the ultimate check on the President's power is off the table (as it is with this President), the executive branch is unaccountable. Short of a veto-proof majority, the Congress has as much power (or even less) than the UN. It's a debate society.
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