The IRS is going to turn over to Congress’ House Ways and Means Committee all of Lois Lerner’s emails during the Obama administration and a little bit earlier.
Thanks very much. But who in his/her right mind implicates him/herself in emails that never disappear and can be rather easily accessed in a situation like this?
Well, the Bridgegate people do, and I’m sure they’re not the only ones; some of the Climategate folk come to mind. But even a non-conspiratorial type like me knows that if a person is engaging in some activity that might later need covering-up, that person should not use his/her official email address to conduct that business. More likely, he/she will use that address to create a false picture of innocence, and some other method of communication will be utilized for the shady stuff.
Carrier pigeon? Courier? Word of mouth? A different email account? I seem to recall that General Petraeus, while engaged in his sexual dalliance with Paula Broadwell, created a private email account that they thought was safe but really wasn’t. But at least he understood the principle of the clandestine operation.
Of course, Petraeus was only dealing with one person, and on business that was decidedly unofficial. So it was relatively easy to set up such a thing. Lerner was trying to communicate with a much larger group of people who worked under her in her official capacity, and the things she might be asking them to do would be highly illegal and controversial. So any alternative email setup would be a way of admitting to all recipients that what was about to go down was clandestine, a highly risky and self-incriminating thing to do. I assume, however, that if Lerner had originally received the order/suggestion from a higher-up in the Obama administration, that would have been accomplished through word of mouth in a face-to-face meeting.
Those of you with experience working in government bureaucracies—an experience I don’t share, although I’ve never before had cause to lament that fact—might be able to shed more light on how this all could work. Computer experts, please chime in, too.