Report: IRS Plans to Destroy 3,200 Hard Drives

Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 09:41 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Amid the scandal surrounding the destruction of emails on former IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer, the tax agency is planning to wipe another 3,200 hard drives clean, The Washington Times reports.

The Internal Revenue Service is seeking contractors for "media destruction" services to protect private taxpayer information, even though the department is under fire over Lerner’s missing emails.

Congressional investigators probing the IRS targeting of tea party groups had demanded to see Lerner’s emails during the period when she was head of the tax-exempt division.

But many of the emails were mysteriously destroyed, infuriating Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is investigating the scandal.

The tax agency was also accused of not reporting the missing records to the National Archives and Records Administration, as required by the Federal Records Act, the Times said.

Now IRS officials plan to destroy tens of thousands of additional electronic records.

"After all media are destroyed, they must not be capable of any reuse or information retrieval," the agency stated in the contract papers.

Dan Epstein, executive director of the watchdog group Cause of Action, said, "This solicitation, combined with the failure of the IRS to consult the archivist about Lois Lerner’s hard drive, should put hesitation into any assumption that consultation with the archivist is happening and prompt a thorough assessment of record retention at the IRS."

The IRS estimated that 65,464 magnetic tapes, 3,225 hard drives, 5,856 floppy disks, and 708 reels need to be destroyed, according to the Times.

"Due to system changes, a significant amount of electronic portable media containing [personally identifiable information] and potentially sensitive but unclassified data such as taxpayer return information is being collected at IRS facilities and locked in secure storage areas awaiting destruction," officials wrote in the solicitation.

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