I had no problem assuming the "lost" IRS emails were incompetence rather than criminal evidence tampering. After all, how hard is it to believe the government is incompetent?
But it may be in this case it really was fraud. Suddenly the emails have been found, and they were apparently always there -- despite all protestations to the contrary, no one in the IRS had even asked for them. From the WaPo:
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration testified at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Thursday that it tracked down nearly 33,000 emails from ex-IRS official Lois Lerner.
The records date back to 2001, which is 10 years beyond what the IRS has said it could access for investigators.
The inspector general’s office said it is working to identify any messages that the IRS has not already sent to congressional investigators, who are examining the Lerner’s involvement in the IRS targeting scandal.
The watchdog agency found the backed-up emails by consulting with IRS information-technology specialists, according to TIGTA Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Tim Camus.
“They were right where you would expect them to be,” he said at the rare late-night hearing, which lasted until about 10 p.m.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified before Congress last year that the backups were no help in recovering Lerner’s lost emails, in part because the IRS overwrites them every six months.
Camus said the IRS’s technology specialists told investigators that no one from the agency asked for the tapes, raising doubts about whether the agency did its due diligence in trying to locate Lerner’s emails, or possibly greater troubles.