Members of Congress investigating Internal Revenue Service harassment of conservative organizations got quite a shock a few days ago.
They had asked for email messages to and from Lois Lerner, the former head of the IRS division accused of the blatantly political action. Those messages might have contained evidence in the case.
IRS officials now claim that all of Lerner's emails for the period January 2009 to April 2011, to and from anyone outside the agency - including the White House - were lost in a computer crash.
How convenient. And how completely unbelievable.
The lost files claim strains credibility, to say the least. The emails in question have been the subject of a subpoena for nearly a year, yet the government expects us to believe that now they are lost forever, the victim of a mysterious and permanent computer crash. Considering the enormous snooping power and endless array of computer capabilities displayed in recent years by the government through agencies like the National Security Agency, we wonder why the IRS doesn't enlist the NSA's services in recovering the suddenly lost files.
We wonder what the response would be if an average citizen told the IRS that a computer crash destroyed documents the IRS needed for an audit. Lawmakers should launch a new probe, into the claimed crash itself.