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Backup IRS tapes discovered, says Koskinen

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Posted: 07/25/2014 9:30 AM

Backup IRS tapes discovered, says Koskinen 


Apparently the IRS found backup tapes.  They're reviewing them, says Koskinen.

Where did the tapes come from?  Perhaps Sonasoft, which was terminated from its IRS contract to provide backup data services just a few weeks after Lerner's drive had crashed. Perhaps the IRS thought Sonasoft wouldn't retain backups.  One wonders if a Congressional investigator issued not-so-subtle threats to SonaSoft.

76% of Americans think emails were deliberately destroyed.  12% unsure, remaining 12% side with Terry.
"Après moi le déluge" Louis XV
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Posted: 07/25/2014 11:28 AM

Re: Backup IRS tapes discovered, says Koskinen 


what Sonasoft has to say

link

“In regards to the IRS as one of Sonasoft’s customers, it is true that one Division within the IRS was Sonasoft’s customer from 2005 to 2011,” clarified Andy Khanna. “This Division was the IRS Counsel. The main branch of the IRS did not use Sonasoft’s software for its operations; only the IRS Counsel used our SonaExchange software, which is a Microsoft Exchange Server replication solution. This particular software allowed the IRS Counsel to replicate the email data by copying it to a remote server for disaster recovery and business continuity as a failover copy to take over if the main system failed. In the event that a client’s Microsoft Exchange Server went down, then end users could access the replicated data on the Microsoft Exchange Server quickly and efficiently. The IRS Counsel Division stopped using Sonasoft’s replication software in 2011.”

“To further clarify, no Division within IRS ever used Sonasoft’s email archiving software. Only a Division within the IRS used any Sonasoft product and that was our email replication software, not our archiving or backup software. ”, said Andy Khanna.

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sounds to me like they replicated the data to another server and discs not to tape, and that they used it for disaster recovery so would not have an archive of any data. This would mean there are no backup tapes unless someone ran a backup app on the replicated files which seems unlikely, you'd run it on the primary exchange server.

Eric

"And now my friend, the first-a rule of Italian driving.  What's-a behind me is not important."
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Posted: 07/25/2014 11:49 AM

Sonasoft 


To give some context to this, the IRS has about 90,000 employees, of which 2,000 are in the IRS Counsel's office. Sonasoft says its contract was only with the IRS Counsel's office and that it never provided any services to any other IRS divisions. Lerner was in the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division. So, Sonasoft's press release is telling us that Sonasoft never had anything to do with Lerner's email.

82lsju wrote: what Sonasoft has to say

link

“In regards to the IRS as one of Sonasoft’s customers, it is true that one Division within the IRS was Sonasoft’s customer from 2005 to 2011,” clarified Andy Khanna. “This Division was the IRS Counsel. The main branch of the IRS did not use Sonasoft’s software for its operations; only the IRS Counsel used our SonaExchange software, which is a Microsoft Exchange Server replication solution. This particular software allowed the IRS Counsel to replicate the email data by copying it to a remote server for disaster recovery and business continuity as a failover copy to take over if the main system failed. In the event that a client’s Microsoft Exchange Server went down, then end users could access the replicated data on the Microsoft Exchange Server quickly and efficiently. The IRS Counsel Division stopped using Sonasoft’s replication software in 2011.”

“To further clarify, no Division within IRS ever used Sonasoft’s email archiving software. Only a Division within the IRS used any Sonasoft product and that was our email replication software, not our archiving or backup software. ”, said Andy Khanna.

-------------------

sounds to me like they replicated the data to another server and discs not to tape, and that they used it for disaster recovery so would not have an archive of any data. This would mean there are no backup tapes unless someone ran a backup app on the replicated files which seems unlikely, you'd run it on the primary exchange server.

Last edited 07/25/2014 2:48 PM by terry2

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Posted: 07/25/2014 11:55 AM

Re: Backup IRS tapes discovered, says Koskinen 


Per an IT expert witness I spoke to yesterday, it is almost inconceiveable that copies of the emails are not available unless the organization intentionally destroyed them or suffered an internal loss of control to elements in the organization or a primary vendor.  The data is there or it has been intentionally destroyed.

"Nothing is more effective than sincere, accurate praise."
--Bill Walsh

Last edited 07/25/2014 5:12 PM by oline84

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Posted: 07/25/2014 1:05 PM

+1 


NT

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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Posted: 07/25/2014 1:17 PM

Re: Backup IRS tapes discovered, says Koskinen 



oline84 wrote: Perhap and IT expert witness I spoke to yesterday, it is almost inconceiveable that copies of the emails are not available unless the organization intentionally destroyed them or suffered an internal loss of control to elements in the organization or a primary vendor.  The data is there or it has been intentionally destroyed.
agreed in a well run IT environment.  In a poorly run one it could also

1.  be there and not be found
2.  not be there

right now I lean toward #1
Eric

"And now my friend, the first-a rule of Italian driving.  What's-a behind me is not important."

Last edited 07/26/2014 8:33 AM by 82lsju

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Posted: 07/25/2014 2:47 PM

Re: Backup IRS tapes discovered, says Koskinen 



oline84 wrote: Perhap and IT expert witness I spoke to yesterday, it is almost inconceiveable that copies of the emails are not available unless the organization intentionally destroyed them or suffered an internal loss of control to elements in the organization or a primary vendor.  The data is there or it has been intentionally destroyed.
The emails that were in Lerner's Outlook mailboxes (Inbox, folders, Sent Items, Deleted Items) were on the email servers and would not have been lost in the hard drive crash. As the IRS has explained it, the emails that were lost in the crash all were emails that she had deleted from her Outlook mailboxes. She kept copies of some of those deleted emails on her personal computer. Those are the ones she lost. The IRS computer system wasn't set up to permanently keep copies of emails that had been deleted from Outlook by the user, as these were.

In any event, it turns out that other IRS employees kept their copies of thousands of emails to or from Lerner. So, many of these emails weren't really lost.

Last edited 07/25/2014 2:50 PM by terry2

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Posted: 07/25/2014 8:02 PM

tell me terry2... 


exactly why did Lerner tell her minions not to use email because Congress would have access...

we both know that answer... even if you won't say it
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Posted: 07/25/2014 10:58 PM

Check the timing 



FrankO wrote: exactly why did Lerner tell her minions not to use email because Congress would have access...
Lerner's statement that "we need to be cautious about what we say in emails" was made in April 2013. That was two weeks after the Treasury Inspector General shared his draft report with IRS officials, and one month before the report was made public. At that point, Lerner knew that the Treasury Inspector General was going to issue a conclusion that the IRS had used inappropriate screening criteria with respect to conservative applicants. So, Lerner knew that the issue was about to blow up. She could anticipate that there was going to be a Congressional inquiry, and she knew her department would be on the hot seat. Lerner may have realized that she could be at risk of liability for making misleading statements to Congress in 2012 and she may have been worried about that issue. 

In situations where litigation is expected, I have advised clients to be careful about what they say in emails. I have told them that even though they didn't do anything wrong, their comments can be taken out of context and might look different in hindsight. I have cautioned them to avoid wisecracks, gallows humor, sarcasm, and so forth because that sort of thing often doesn't come across well in writing. I have told them that they should avoid saying things that might make the situation seem worse than it really is, because I have found through years of dealing with emails as evidence that some people have a tendency to exaggerate or be overly dramatic. In my experience, telling someone to be cautious about what they put in emails is not necessarily an indication of guilt. Of course, I can't tell you what was in Lerner's mind.

Last edited 07/25/2014 11:07 PM by terry2

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Posted: 07/26/2014 8:04 AM

the point terry2 


is that Lerner as a smart lady was in fact very much aware that careless emails often point the finger at culpability...

 her 'crashed' hard drive (scratched, recoverable, and then very quickly shredded with no attempt at recovery) illustrates exactly how deep her knowledge of such risk was...

well before she sent out that message to her minions  to stay off email

but alas... no evidence... that possible evidence was very conveniently shredded

so as a lawyer you can stay secure in your argument of 'no evidence produced'

Last edited 07/26/2014 12:01 PM by FrankO

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Posted: 07/28/2014 11:11 AM

Re: Backup IRS tapes discovered, says Koskinen 



oline84 wrote: Per an IT expert witness I spoke to yesterday, it is almost inconceiveable that copies of the emails are not available unless the organization intentionally destroyed them or suffered an internal loss of control to elements in the organization or a primary vendor.  The data is there or it has been intentionally destroyed.
Copies of emails that were intentionally deleted by the recipient years ago?
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Posted: 07/28/2014 12:49 PM

Data recovery efforts 


FrankO wrote: 

 her 'crashed' hard drive (scratched, recoverable . . . )
You seem to assume that it's always possible to recover data from a scratched hard drive. That's not necessarily true. A scratched hard drive can result in unrecoverable data. (Link -- see page 2) Sometimes it's possible to recover data, and sometimes not.

. . . and then very quickly shredded with no attempt at recovery . . .
It's not true that no effort was made to recover Lerner's data. Rather, contemporaneous emails show that the IRS made significant efforts to recover data from Lerner's hard drive. (Link to emails)

When Lerner's hard drive failed on June 13, 2011, she notified the IRS Help Desk. According to the IRS (link), an IT Specialist made the initial efforts to recover the data from the hard drive. These efforts were not successful.

Meanwhile, Lerner was making her own efforts to get someone to recover her data. She asked one of the IRS's high-ranking IT officials to help with the data recovery. In July, Lerner sent an email to Carl Froehlich, Associate CIO of the IRS. She wrote: "I'm taking advantage of your offer to try and recapture my lost personal files. . . . Whatever you can do to help, is greatly appreciated."

Froehlich responded by assigning the matter to the Field Director of the Customer Service and Support Center, Lillie Wilburn. Froehlich told Lerner, "If she can't fix it nobody can."

Wilburn sent Lerner an update the next day. She said: "I checked with the technician and he still has your drive. He wanted to exhaust all avenues to recover the data before sending it to the 'hard drive cemetery.' Unfortunately, after receiving assistance from several highly skilled technicians including HP experts, he still cannot recover the data. I do have one other possibility that I am looking into and I hope to update you on the progress soon."

Two weeks later, Wilburn sent another update: "As a last resort, we sent your hard drive to CI's forensic lab to attempt data recovery." This refers to the IRS's Criminal Investigation Division Electronic Crimes Forensic Laboratory.

Four days later, Wilburn reported the results of the Forensic Lab's efforts: "Unfortunately the news is not good. The sectors on the hard drive were bad which made your data unrecoverable. I am very sorry. Everyone involved tried their best." By this time (August 5), several different IT people had made various attempts over a period of six weeks to recover Lerner's data.

Given that factual record, I don't think it's accurate to say Lerner's hard drive was "very quickly shredded with no attempt at recovery." Rather, the IRS seems to have made significant efforts to recover the data.

The fact that Lerner went out of her way to try get someone to recover her data also is interesting. If she were trying to destroy the data, it's hard to see why she would have gone to one of the top guys in the IRS's IT group to get his help in recovering the data.

Of course, there could be additional facts that we don't yet know. The Treasury Inspector General is looking into the issue of Lerner's hard drive. We will know more when the TIG issues his report.

Last edited 07/28/2014 12:50 PM by terry2

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Posted: 07/28/2014 3:02 PM

Re: Data recovery efforts 



terry2 wrote:
FrankO wrote: 

 her 'crashed' hard drive (scratched, recoverable . . . )
You seem to assume that it's always possible to recover data from a scratched hard drive. That's not necessarily true. A scratched hard drive can result in unrecoverable data. (Link -- see page 2) Sometimes it's possible to recover data, and sometimes not.

. . . and then very quickly shredded with no attempt at recovery . . .
It's not true that no effort was made to recover Lerner's data. Rather, contemporaneous emails show that the IRS made significant efforts to recover data from Lerner's hard drive. (Link to emails)

When Lerner's hard drive failed on June 13, 2011, she notified the IRS Help Desk. According to the IRS (link), an IT Specialist made the initial efforts to recover the data from the hard drive. These efforts were not successful.

Meanwhile, Lerner was making her own efforts to get someone to recover her data. She asked one of the IRS's high-ranking IT officials to help with the data recovery. In July, Lerner sent an email to Carl Froehlich, Associate CIO of the IRS. She wrote: "I'm taking advantage of your offer to try and recapture my lost personal files. . . . Whatever you can do to help, is greatly appreciated."

Froehlich responded by assigning the matter to the Field Director of the Customer Service and Support Center, Lillie Wilburn. Froehlich told Lerner, "If she can't fix it nobody can."

Wilburn sent Lerner an update the next day. She said: "I checked with the technician and he still has your drive. He wanted to exhaust all avenues to recover the data before sending it to the 'hard drive cemetery.' Unfortunately, after receiving assistance from several highly skilled technicians including HP experts, he still cannot recover the data. I do have one other possibility that I am looking into and I hope to update you on the progress soon."

Two weeks later, Wilburn sent another update: "As a last resort, we sent your hard drive to CI's forensic lab to attempt data recovery." This refers to the IRS's Criminal Investigation Division Electronic Crimes Forensic Laboratory.

Four days later, Wilburn reported the results of the Forensic Lab's efforts: "Unfortunately the news is not good. The sectors on the hard drive were bad which made your data unrecoverable. I am very sorry. Everyone involved tried their best." By this time (August 5), several different IT people had made various attempts over a period of six weeks to recover Lerner's data.

Given that factual record, I don't think it's accurate to say Lerner's hard drive was "very quickly shredded with no attempt at recovery." Rather, the IRS seems to have made significant efforts to recover the data.

The fact that Lerner went out of her way to try get someone to recover her data also is interesting. If she were trying to destroy the data, it's hard to see why she would have gone to one of the top guys in the IRS's IT group to get his help in recovering the data.

Of course, there could be additional facts that we don't yet know. The Treasury Inspector General is looking into the issue of Lerner's hard drive. We will know more when the TIG issues his report.
So we are left to believe that bad sectors prevented data recovery?  Not so fast, my friend.  Are the bad sectors soft or hard failures?  Data can be recovered from a soft bad sector.  Sometimes data can be recovered from a hard bad sector.  Hard bad sectors occur from mechanical failure, improper shut down of windows, or aging hardware.  The forensic guys should be able to identify what caused the failure. 

Here's a question.  How do we know the failed drive was Lerner's? Takes 10 minutes and minimal skill to replace a hard drive.
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” JFK

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Posted: 07/28/2014 8:44 PM

Re: Data recovery efforts 



beeg dawg wrote:
terry2 wrote:
FrankO wrote: 

 her 'crashed' hard drive (scratched, recoverable . . . )
You seem to assume that it's always possible to recover data from a scratched hard drive. That's not necessarily true. A scratched hard drive can result in unrecoverable data. (Link -- see page 2) Sometimes it's possible to recover data, and sometimes not.

. . . and then very quickly shredded with no attempt at recovery . . .
It's not true that no effort was made to recover Lerner's data. Rather, contemporaneous emails show that the IRS made significant efforts to recover data from Lerner's hard drive. (Link to emails)

When Lerner's hard drive failed on June 13, 2011, she notified the IRS Help Desk. According to the IRS (link), an IT Specialist made the initial efforts to recover the data from the hard drive. These efforts were not successful.

Meanwhile, Lerner was making her own efforts to get someone to recover her data. She asked one of the IRS's high-ranking IT officials to help with the data recovery. In July, Lerner sent an email to Carl Froehlich, Associate CIO of the IRS. She wrote: "I'm taking advantage of your offer to try and recapture my lost personal files. . . . Whatever you can do to help, is greatly appreciated."

Froehlich responded by assigning the matter to the Field Director of the Customer Service and Support Center, Lillie Wilburn. Froehlich told Lerner, "If she can't fix it nobody can."

Wilburn sent Lerner an update the next day. She said: "I checked with the technician and he still has your drive. He wanted to exhaust all avenues to recover the data before sending it to the 'hard drive cemetery.' Unfortunately, after receiving assistance from several highly skilled technicians including HP experts, he still cannot recover the data. I do have one other possibility that I am looking into and I hope to update you on the progress soon."

Two weeks later, Wilburn sent another update: "As a last resort, we sent your hard drive to CI's forensic lab to attempt data recovery." This refers to the IRS's Criminal Investigation Division Electronic Crimes Forensic Laboratory.

Four days later, Wilburn reported the results of the Forensic Lab's efforts: "Unfortunately the news is not good. The sectors on the hard drive were bad which made your data unrecoverable. I am very sorry. Everyone involved tried their best." By this time (August 5), several different IT people had made various attempts over a period of six weeks to recover Lerner's data.

Given that factual record, I don't think it's accurate to say Lerner's hard drive was "very quickly shredded with no attempt at recovery." Rather, the IRS seems to have made significant efforts to recover the data.

The fact that Lerner went out of her way to try get someone to recover her data also is interesting. If she were trying to destroy the data, it's hard to see why she would have gone to one of the top guys in the IRS's IT group to get his help in recovering the data.

Of course, there could be additional facts that we don't yet know. The Treasury Inspector General is looking into the issue of Lerner's hard drive. We will know more when the TIG issues his report.
So we are left to believe that bad sectors prevented data recovery?  Not so fast, my friend.  Are the bad sectors soft or hard failures?  Data can be recovered from a soft bad sector.  Sometimes data can be recovered from a hard bad sector.  Hard bad sectors occur from mechanical failure, improper shut down of windows, or aging hardware.  The forensic guys should be able to identify what caused the failure. 

Here's a question.  How do we know the failed drive was Lerner's? Takes 10 minutes and minimal skill to replace a hard drive.
Here's a question... or two. 

Why would Lerner think that destroying her hard drive would destroy all evidence of incriminating email threads?

Why have no heroic nonpartisan or Republican IRS employees stepped up to blow the whistle on this allegedly vast conspiracy? Every new theory about her duplicity seems to require the cooperation of more people.

As Terry has said, Lerner quite likely committed perjury. But most on the CEB seem willing to convict her of broader crimes because it suits their politcal fancy. Let's see what the evidence ultimately yields.

Last edited 07/28/2014 9:36 PM by standfan

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Posted: 07/29/2014 7:24 AM

Re: Data recovery efforts 


I'm neither Republican nor Democrat, and the attempt to portray all this as some nefarious conspiracy aimed at destroying conservative tax exempt organizations is absurd. There are too many of thm. (Don't agree vigorously unless you also perceived the Valerie Plame incident in the same way).

I have been drawn into the discussion because the attempts to rationalize this data loss as a series of hard drive misfortunes is so preposterous as to be insulting to the intelligence. You don't have to have a partisan bias to see that.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

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Posted: 07/29/2014 10:43 AM

Re: Data recovery efforts 




As Terry has said, Lerner quite likely committed perjury. But most on the CEB seem willing to convict her of broader crimes because it suits their politcal fancy. Let's see what the evidence ultimately yields.
Taking the fifth didn't help her cause much quite frankly. Okay, she must be hiding something? Then the emails and drives vanish. She really must be hiding something, right? Circumstantial, coincidental? 

The one thing I know for certain, if the tables were turned and this was the Bush Administration, liberal 501-C-4's had been held up unreasonably, and Lerner were a Republican, the fire storm in the main stream media would be white hot.
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Posted: 07/30/2014 5:18 AM

Re: Data recovery efforts 



Genuine Realist wrote: I'm neither Republican nor Democrat, and the attempt to portray all this as some nefarious conspiracy aimed at destroying conservative tax exempt organizations is absurd. There are too many of thm. (Don't agree vigorously unless you also perceived the Valerie Plame incident in the same way).

I have been drawn into the discussion because the attempts to rationalize this data loss as a series of hard drive misfortunes is so preposterous as to be insulting to the intelligence. You don't have to have a partisan bias to see that.
Exactly the same here.  Registered independent.  The series of coincidences is too unlikely to be believed.
"Après moi le déluge" Louis XV
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Posted: 07/30/2014 2:04 PM

Re: Data recovery efforts 


But why is Congress only learning these things now?  There appears to be not only a silly attempt to blame technical failures but also a deliberate attempt to impede the investigation.  It's all about stretching it out and preventing the truth from coming out, rather than complying with the investigation. 

I realize this is politics, but by the time a  department head takes the 5th, an internal investigation says there is legal trouble, you tell people there is legal trouble, the Congress issues a hoarde of subpoenas and the IRS says all will be produced---and then months later we learn of the losses? 

There is a cover up, even if nothing bad happened.  If we don't figure out why she took the 5th in the near future, it is only because of the further cover up.  The best way to characterize it is petty politics plus the cover up of a minor potential crime, which is required for a good faith assertion of the 5th.  The evidence trail and the cover up must be massive after all this time.  But as long as administration apologists bide their time, there is hope that the political will to maintain the investigation will dissipate in the face of other issues. 

And that is the most charitable conclusion based on what is publically reported.  Look to Fox News for less charitable characterizations.

"Nothing is more effective than sincere, accurate praise."
--Bill Walsh

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Posted: 07/31/2014 1:58 PM

Re: My conclusion on this whole things 


is that ( and I hope I never need it), I am coaxing Terry 2 out of retirement if I need legal representation and my case is ahemm weakbiggrin
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Posted: 07/31/2014 3:22 PM

Re: My conclusion on this whole things 



gpn38 wrote: is that ( and I hope I never need it), I am coaxing Terry 2 out of retirement if I need legal representation and my case is ahemm weakbiggrin
We need to flag this as an all time classic post.
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