Before going further, let me say it is frequently the case that home and business users loose data - not because it cannot be recovered - but because it would cost too much to do so.
First, let's examine the possibility that one hard drive might have failed in such a way that all the emails on it would be lost.
|The Interior Mechanism of a Hard Drive|
First, the drive can develop bad sectors. All drives do this - in fact all drives have "spare" sectors and firmware will attempt to move data one questionable sectors to them. This kind of a failure is the most common encountered. Let's examine this further.
1) Most of the time when this happens, recovery software can recover all or nearly all of the data on the drive. This is something that I have done dozens of times.
2) Since data is scattered all over the drive, rather than being organized by program or type of data, it is IMPOSSIBLE that all emails would be lost. Yes, SOME emails could be lost - but not all.
3) Crashes that would take out an entire hard drive's data so as to make it impossible to recover any of it, are so rare as to be virtually non-existent. Something, some data - or in this case, some emails, is recoverable in virtually every case. It may require repairs in a clean room, but something is always recoverable.
|The Circuit Board Is Easily Replaced|
In reality, an electronics failure is a relatively easy fix. It does not even require a clean room. All that is needed is the correct replacement circuit board. Data recovery firms have libraries or circuit boards for just this purpose. Once replaced, all or most of the data is recoverable.
In short, although hard drives have a 3-5% failure rate, the rate of failure that makes all data completely unrecoverable is virtually nil. Certainly less than .5%.
Next we have to consider timing. What are the chances that Ms. Lerner's drive would crash in the 10 day period between the exposure of the IRS targeting and the congressional request for evidence? Answer: The chance on just one drive failing in that time frame is about .1% - with the chances of all emails being lost beyond all recovery being much, much less.
Third, getting rid of data when it is your goal to do so is quite difficult. It requires software that overwrites the entire drive multiple times. This can indeed erase all the data on a drive - but it takes deliberate action and time. It cannot happen accidentally. Deleting a file - including removing it from the recycle bin, does not make it go away. If no emails can be recovered, the most logical reason is that someone performed a "secure delete" of those files. If the whole drive is unreadable, the most logical reason is that the drive was intentionally "scrubbed".
We are supposed to believe that this "accident" not only happened once - to Lois Lerner - but to seven of her associates whose emails would also have shed light on the IRS targeting scandal. We are also supposed to believe that this happened at just the right time to result in the loss of the emails about IRS targeting before the 2012 elections. The chances of all of this happened accidentally is so small as to be impossible.
But this isn't all. We are supposed to believe that in this department there was no back up system in place - in spite of the fact that the IRA has a two billion dollar IT budget.
There is an even more important reason to believe that these emails were not accidentally lost. The IRS and all federal agencies are required by federal law to ARCHIVE ALL EMAILS AND KEEP THEM FOREVER. This is done by capturing all emails as the pass through the server. This system is completely independent of personal computers. It also would require multiple backups. If the IRA failed to do this, it is a direct violation of federal law. Are we to believe that an accident coincidentally took out all of these files and there backups too? I think not.
So, here's what the administration and it's Democratic defenders want us to believe:
1) All at once, eight hard drives failed in such a catastrophic way that no data could be recovered at just the right time to eliminate any evidence of wrongdoing.
2) At this same time, the required archival copies on the server and all their backups were all lost.
3) After supposedly trying to recover the emails and not succeeding, they destroyed the drive - but they were not trying to hide anything.
If this happened to a private company that was under criminal investigation, those responsible would be arrested for obstruction of justice.
WHAT ARE THEY HIDING!