IRS Response regarding TIGTA 01559
Number of Pages:13
Date Created:June 12, 2015
Date Uploaded to the Library:June 12, 2015
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Case 1:13-cv-01559-EGS Document Filed 06/12/15 Page THE UNITED STA DISTRIC URI FOR THE COLUMBIA JUDICIAL WATCH, INC., Plaintiff, Case No. l:l3~cv-1559-EGS INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. Defendant RESPONSE NOTICE accordance with the Couifs June 2015, Order, the Internal Revenue Service Service responds Judicial Watch. Inc.. Notice dated June 2Ul5: atus Rollin Produc issue this case are four Freedom Information Act FOIA requests that Judicial Watch submitted the Service. The Service has satis one the four requests and currently responding the request for certain communications with former Service Lois Lerner. The Service has been releasing Lerner communications Watch rolling basis, date, the Service has released 17,464 pages such communications Judicial Wat all which the Service has already produced the Congressional Coinniittccs investigating it. March 2015, Judicial Watch asked when the Service anticipates completing its rolling production Lerner communications, letter dated March 19. 2015. the undersigned Department Justice attorn informed Jud ial Watch that the Service tentativel estimates that will able complete its review and production ofLcrncr emails Judicial Watch September ZfJl5. (Ex. A.) I27-max Case 1:13-cv-01559-EGS Document46 Filed 06/12/15 Page2 [nvcsti-1 lion TIGTA Since June 2014, the Trczisury General for Tax Administration TIGTA has been ucting Cfiniillill investigation into the circumstances under which Lerner hard drive failed and any emails saved locally her hard iive were lost. (Ex. B.) part its investigation, TIGTA trying recover any lost emails. (1d.) TIGTA agency within the Department the Treasury which separate and apart from the Service and operates wholly independent oftlie Service. (Camus Decl., (Docket No. 26-4),) The Commissioner Internal Revenue has authority control over TIGTA, the nature scope TIGTA investigations, and/or the investigative records and evidence maintained }TA (151,, part its investigatio TIGTA took custody of, inter alia, Service disaster recovery tapes are also referred backup tapcs. (Der Pl. Mot. Seeking Discov.. (Docket No. 35); Def Notice (Docket No. 43) Information stored those backup tapes not read accessible and must for isiczilly vered. TIGTA ecently informed the undersigned Department Justice attorney that will provide any emails recovered lrom the tapes both the Service and the Congressional Committees investigating the Service, subject to: (a) first attempting remove emails which are duplicates those which the Service already produced the Congressional Committees (and are, therefore, duplicates emails which the Service already retrieved conneclio ith responding the FOIA requests issue this case) duplicates ofother recovered emails: and (b) the restric ons disclosure contained section 6103 ofthe Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S C._). (See Kane Decl.,1l (Docket No. 26-5).) izvnrm Case 1:13-cv-01559-EGS ment46 Filed 06/12/15 Page3ot7 TIGTA has stated that will only provide any ered emails the Service appropriate stage uftlie investigation, and TIGTA will not honor any requests from the Service obtain recovered emails earlier time. This necessary protect the integrity TIGTA investigation, which could impaired allowing witnesses conform their responses documents the public domain, prematurely revealing the investigation ope, direction and possible conclusioi etc. (See Camus Decl., 9-11,) Service has consistently represented Judicial Watch that ifTlGTA able recover any Lemer pre-crash emails and return them the Service reasonably searchable format. the Service will pro iptly inform Judicial Watch and review the emails determine whether respoii Judicial Watchs FOIA request. Def. Pl. Mot, Seeking Discov.. 11. emails which TIGTA has recovered, and any additional emails that TIGTA may and provide the Service, could affect the Service ability complete its rcview and producti Lerner communications September 2015, Therefore, the undersigned Department Justice attor notes that has previously cautione Seiyice September 2015 estimate could change based on, inter alia. the recovery emails TIGTA and TlGTA return the Service any such emails (Exi AC) 12. Consistent with its prior representations that would promptly notify Judicial Watch any recovered entails returned the Service, the Service filed Notice May informing Judicial Watch and the Court that TIGTA had forensic recovered emails and provided those emails the Service, (Def. Notice (Docket No, 44),) 13. time since May has Judicial Watch contacted the undersigned Department oflusti attoi reques additional infnrniation about the forensically recnvered i279x:us Case 1:13 ev-01559-EGS Doc ment Filed 06/12/15 Page of7 rvice has already produced the ial nnittees luplicates other rec vcred emails. Such emails are also plicates ofth the Service has alreacly retrieved connection with responding the FOIA requests issue this case The Service the process ucting further manual Lledtiplicution ofthe 6,400 foreiisically-recovered emails supplement the automated uplication conducted TIGTA. TIGTA also further reviewing the 6.400 emails verify that they were not already produced the Congressional Committees the Service. 17. The Service expects begin processing and reviewing the recovered emails immediately ollowing its review and luction Lerner communications which were not forensically recovered. this time, the Service unable estimate when will finish processing and reviewing the forensically-1ecovered emails. i:7aA3ax Case l:l3~c/-01559-EGS Document Filed 06/12/15 Page 18. Ju( Watclfs Notice contains numerous assertions are irrelevant its request for relief The Service reserv the right challenge those assertions appropriate time. Dated: June 12. 2015 COUNSEL Acting United States Attorney VINCENT COHEN, JR. Respectfully submitted, /s/ Geoffre OFFRE ILIMAS STEPHANIE SASARAK Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service Trial Attorneys, Tax Division Department Justice Post Office Box 227 Washington, 20044 GJK Telephone: (202) 307-6346 Telephone: (202) 307-2089 Fax: (202) 514-6866 geoffrey limas@ sd0j.gov stepl1anie.a.sasarak l27U2 3-Hi Case l:l3 cv-01559 EGS Document Filed 06/12/15 Page CERTIFICATE SER certify that June 12, 2015, electronically filed the foregoing RESPONSE NOTICE with the Clerk the Coun using the CM/ECF system, which shall send noti cation that ling all parties registered receive such notice, including plaintiffs counsel. /s/ Geoffre Kliinas GEOFFREY KLIMAS I279x34x.1 Case 1:l3 cv-01559-EGS nent46-1 FiIeclO6/12/15 Pagelofz U.S. Department ofJustice Tax Section, Eastern Telepho 2-307-6346 5-16-46- Washington, C.20044 Telecopi 202-5I4~6866 CMN 20l4l00086 March 19, 2015 Sent via Email Ramona Cotca Judicial Watch, Inc. 425 Third Street, Suite 800 Washington, 20024 Re: Judicial Watch, Internal Revenue Service 1559 .C. D.C. Dear Ms. Cotca: This letter responds the two issues raised your correspondence dated March 2015. First, you asked about Lois Lerner emails recovered the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration TIGTA date, the lntemal Revenue Service Service has been reviewing and producing Judicial Watch, lnc., Lemer emails which the Service has also produced Congressional committees. (Kane Decl.,1l9 (Docket No. 26-5).) The Service not possession any Lerner emails recently recovered TIGTA. such, the Service not presently able confirm: whether TIGTA has located any emails which were not already produced Congressional committees; whether TIGTA has located any emails from the time period relevant Judicial Watch Freedom Infom-ration Act FOIA request; whether TIGTA has located any emails regarding the subject matter Judicial Watch FOIA request. The Service has consistently represented that, TIGTA able recover any Lemer pre crash emails and return them the Service reasonably searchable fonnat, the Service will promptly inform Judicial Watch and review the emails determine whether they are responsive Judicial Watch FOIA request. (See Def. Opp Pl. Mot. Seeking Discov., (Docket No. 35).) The Service intends honor that commitment and will notify Judicial Watch when and TIGTA provides any recovered emails the Service. Second, you asked when the Service expects nish producing Lerner emails. Throughout the ongoing Congressional investigations, the Service has received Congressional requests resulting additional documents being added the Congressional database. (See id., Those documents are likewise being reviewed determine whether they are responsive cial Watch FOIA request. (1d.) The IRS Chief Counsel has represented that the technology being used the Service process Judicial Watch FOIA request does not readily pemtit estimate the number pages potentially responsive Lerner Exhibit Case 1:13-cv-O1559 EGS Document 46-1 Filed 06/12/15 Page emails yet reviewed. However, they have also represented that there are approximately 990 such information, and the Service tentatively estimates that will able complete its review and production Lerner emails Judicial Watch September 2015. This estimate could change based on, inter alia, the recovery additional emails TIGTA and TIGTA return the Service any such emails. Sincerely yours, Warm GEOFFREY KLIMAS ial Attorney vil Trial Section, Eastern Region 115! loss Case 1:13 cv-01559 Document 462 Filed 06/12/15 Page 1of4 TESTIMONY TIMOTHY CAMUS DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR INVESTIGATIONS TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM U.S. HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES Recovery e-mails former IRS employee Lois Lerner February 26, 2015 Chairman Chafletz, Ranking Member Cummings, and members the full committee, Ive been requested come here today provide update agency efforts thus far attempting recover the missing e-mails former IRS employee Lois Lerner. June 13, 2014, letter the Senate Finance Committee, the IRS reported that was completing its document production for Congress concerning allegations that the IRS targeted certain 501:: (4) applicants, the IRS realized that the production the mails Lois Lerner, the former director the IRS Exempt Organizations division, had gaps the mail production. The IRS reported that its attempts find missing mails, they realized that June 2011, Lemer IRS laptop computer suffered hard drive crash, and therefore some her e-mails could not recovered. The following Monday, June 16, .2014, TIGTA initiated investigation into the circumstances surrounding the missing e-mails and the hard drive crash. One week later, June 23, 2014, TIGTA received letter from then Chairman Ron Wyden and then Ranking Member Orrin Hatch the Senate Finance Committee, that requested TIGTA formally investigate the matter including perform its own analysis whether any data can salvaged and produced the committee. The circumstances surrounding the loss data, the hard drive crash and the manner which the IRS handled its electronic media, are still under investigation; however, have periodically updated certain Committees Congress, including this Committee, concerning our progress recovering the e-mails, but have not discussed the investigation itself. There are two parts mission here. One part attempting recover the e-mails and second part investigate the circumstances surrounding the missing mail. Until the investigation completed, the facts and circumstances understand them can and have changed daily basis. avoid speculating and reaching Exhibit Case 1:13-cv-O1559 EGS Document 46-2 Filed 06/12/15 Page of4 conclusions that later turn out false, investigators must avoid drawing any conclusions until all the facts are in. owe the American people ensure that continue thoroughly and impartially investigate this matter gathering all the facts and evidence order get the truth. That said, this time cannot provide any information the investigation surrounding the RSs loss data and hard drive crashes that could negatively impact our ability complete the investigation well raise questions into the integrity the investigative process, but this time will provide progress report our efforts recover missing e-mails. The IRS manages its e-mail for its 91,000 employees routing the e-mails through Microsoft Exchange Sewers that are backed periodically using backup tapes. These Microsoft Exchange Sewers, also referred e-mail servers, are comprised hundreds hard drives that are placed into sewer racks. until May 2011, the e-mail sewer that handled Lois Lerner e-mail traffic was located the New Carrollton, Maryland Federal Building. During 20-11, the IRS migrated from the mail sewer the New Carrollton new e-mail sewer located the IRS Martinsburg, West Virginia Computing Center. After the IRS migrated its mail system Martinsburg, the IRS turned off the email sewer New Carrolltong however, was left place, possibly precautionary measure should the new e-mail sewer Martinsburg fail. IRS employees reported that the New Carroliton e-mail sewer hard drives were removed from the sewer, erased, and destroyed. June 30, 2014, TIGTA demanded that the IRS provide all backup tapes used backup Lerners IRS e-mail account, specifically all backup tapes used for e-mails during the time period Jan 2008 through Dec 31, 2011. These date ranges were selected ensure that obtained any overlap e-mails accounted for mid~year equipment changes. result this demand, July 2014, the IRS identified the 744 backup tapes that met this criterion and TIGTA took possession all the identi 744 backup tapes. With regard nine the 744 backup tapes, based how were configured the backup machine, the IRS was unable determine the dates they were used. Because this, IRS technicians believed was possible the nine tapes had been untouched for years and thus could contain clear data relevant the investigation. Because TIGTA did not have the unique necessary hardware, these nine tapes were provided the Federal Bureau Investigation orderto determine the tapes contained any data and they did, retrieve it. After the FBI analyzed the nine tapes and validated their equipment reviewing other random backup tapes, they reported their equipment was functioning properly and they reported the nine tapes were blank. TIGTA then provided those same nine tapes recognized industry leader electronic data recovew, and they confirmed the nine tapes were fact blank. After confirming the initial nine tapes were blank, and fearing that the remaining 735 tapes were ovewvritten, TIGTA interviewed the IRS mail expert and identified the specific backup tapes that would have contained the earliest copies LOIS l.erner mail box. The backup tapes consisted five sets tapes. These five backup sets were created sequential weeks from November 20, 2012 through December 25, Case 1:13-cv-01559-EGS Document 46-2 Filed 06/12/15 Page 2012. The five backup sets were expected produce total five separate copies Lois Lerner e-mail boxes, one copy for each week the backup. hand carried three the five sets these backup tapes the industry expert for data recovery and extraction and after their examination and extraction ofdata, they provided TlGTA with Exchange Database files from this set tapes. November 13, 2014, TIGTA searched the database files and identified the rst Lois Lerner e-mail box. This mailbox contained Lois Lerner e-mails that date back far 2001. The result this effort validated that the tapes have not been overwritten and that they contained mails that are relevant the requested time range search for e-mails. TIGTA then processed the remaining sets backup tapes the same manner later finding that each the five backup sets contained one Lerner email box, for total five mailboxes, exactly expected. the conclusion the process, TIGTA identified 79,840 Lois Lerner e-mails which almost percent were duplicates. Removing the duplicates resulted 32,774 Lois Lerner unique e-mails. critically important note that these 32,774 e-mails need compared with the e-mails and documents the IRS has already produced Congress order determine there are any newly identified mails. Currently, are finalizing the procurement software accomplish this match. noted earlier testimony, the IRS e-mail system routes mail messages through e-mail sewers that comprised hundreds hard drives. ljust completed testimony about the status our examination backup tapes associated with the mail system, and now want discuss the status the hard drives that were the mail sen/er May 2011, one month prior when Lois Lerner laptop hard drive crashed. July 11, 2014, TIGTA discovered that the hard drives the decommissioned New Carrollton e~mail sen/er were not destroyed previously reported the IRS. the same day, TIGTA secured the 760 hard drives that are believed part the old New Carrollton email server. TIGTA conducted preliminary examination ofa limited selection the hard drives and determined that based information that could seen from these hard drives, these drives are more than likely from the mail server that processed Lois Lerner e-mails 2011 and prior. important note that the mail servers process and keep copies e-mail traffic the hundreds drives that are specifically positioned server racks. The IRS did not retain record the layout indicating where each the specific hard drives was positioned the racks. Without understanding the exact order which the hard drives were placed the server racks, finding any complete and relevant e~mails would very difficult and labor intensive, not impossible. addition, any the hard drives are damaged, could potentially impossible recover any usable mais. recently determined that are unable anything further with the hard drives and have initiated the process contract for initial feasibility analysis the 760 hard drives the recognized industry expert electronic data recovery. Less than two weeks ago also learned that there may have been backup tapes older than the original 744 backup tapes obtained July 2014. have taken possession additional 424 tapes and are the early stages understanding Case 1:13-cv-01559-EGS Document 46-2 Filed 06/12/15 Page they have been erased and any these older tapes contain e-mails data interest the investigation. summany, date have found 32,774 unique e-mails that were backed from Lois Lerner e-_mail box. are the process comparing these e-mails what the IRS has already produced Congress determine ifwe did fact recover any new mails. are also the process having the e-mail server hard drives analyzed determine there are any readable mails that can recovered from these hard drives. And finally, are continuing determine there are any other sources that may contain Lois Lerner e-mails. noted earlier, this ongoing investigation and have provided the information that believe will not hinder our ability continue our investigation while simultaneously providing the Congress with the progress the mail search. Thank you.