The Internal Revenue Service did not follow the law when it failed to report a hard drive crash that destroyed emails belonging to a senior official at the center of a scandal over the agency’s treatment of conservative-leaning political groups, the nation’s top archivist said Tuesday.Like President Obama, he must get his news by reading the New York Time, which managed to get news of the IRS scandal onto page A19 (frankly, I'm shocked they even have a page A19).
“In accordance with the Federal Records Act, when an agency becomes aware of an incident of unauthorized destruction, they must report the incident to us,” said David S. Ferriero, the chief archivist at the National Archives.
Mr. Ferriero made his remarks at a congressional hearing examining the 2011 disappearance of emails sent and received by Lois Lerner, the former I.R.S. official who is accused of politically motivated mistreatment of Tea Party-aligned groups seeking tax exemptions.
Mr. Ferriero would not say that anyone at the I.R.S. committed a crime, only that the agency “did not follow the law.” He said he learned of the missing emails on June 13, when the agency made the disclosure in a filing to Congress.
Honestly, I suspect this law is widely flouted within the agencies. As I've noted before, in the same era, the Smithsonian was telling us to prune our e-mails heavily, and archive them only onto our local drives because of insufficient storage capability in the central servers. Basically, they were telling us to throw away useless and storage occupying email, with no plan to save them for the long term. If that's not planned destruction of public records, I don't know what else it is.
If Ferriero and his staff wanted to be notified every time I deleted an email which said there were potted plants or furniture up for grab at a museum 40 miles away, well, put me in jail now.