Dude, Where’s My Hard Drive?

My latest column is up at AND Magazine.


Here is an excerpt:

There seems to be an epidemic of hard drive failure in our federal government. Ever since the IRS came to Congress with the news that so many of Lois Lerner’s emails had disappeared due to a hard drive failure, more and more federal agencies are jumping on the “hard drive failure” bandwagon.


When the hard drives of Lois Lerner and six other key IRS officials all failed within the same timeframe – the officials and the time frame that Congress just happened to be investigating – it was highly improbable.


But then, a few weeks ago, EPA Chairwoman Gina McCarthytestified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, informing them that yet another fortuitous hard drive failure had occurred, this one belonging to a former EPA employee whose emails, once again, were key to the committee’s investigation. Of course, this hard drive, like the ones at the IRS, was destroyed, meaning Congress would have no chance of recovering any data from it.


And, of course, it didn’t stop there. The Oversight Committee was informed that yet another federal employee, this one with the FEC, lost yet another hard drive, which was, of course, shredded like all the others. In this case, the lost emails would have proved that the former FEC employee had criminally violated the Hatch Act, which bars government employees from engaging in partisan political activities while on government time or using government resources. Even though this former FEC employee has admitted to violating the Hatch Act, criminal prosecution is impossible without the evidence that was on that hard drive.

Continue reading here.


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