The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 06/27/14

The Watcher’s Council

Alea iacta est! The die is cast, the Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

“When one with honeyed words but evil mind Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.” – ― Euripides, Orestes

“Just as every cop is a criminal, And all the sinners saints”.. – Mick Jagger, ‘Sympathy For The Devil’

“Not even mass corruption — not even a smidgen of corruption.” – President Barack Hussein Obama, talking about the IRS scandal with FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly, February 3rd, 2014

We had a tie this week in the Council category which I, as Watcher have to break.

There were a few entries in both categories this week on the IRS’ convenient inability to produce former IRS apparatchnik Lois Lerner’s e-mails. The Right Planet’s About That ‘Server Ate My Emails’ Thing, is a detailed and authoritative roundup by someone who knows what he’s talking about on exactly why this is so much horse manure on their part and as someone else said, an excellent indication that congress is looking in exactly the right place to get to the bottom of this disgusting scandal.

It’s a much meatier effort than its competitor, Joshuapundit’s How The Palestinians And The Left Are Celebrating The Israeli Kidnappings, which is pretty much about what it sounds like… the Arabs whom call themselves Palestinians celebrating inhumanity and the West’s despicable apathy towards the kidnapping of three Israeli teens by Hamas, even as rockets continue to be launched by a member of the new unity government everyone’s touting at Israel’s civilians. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, same old same old.

In any event, the winner, About That ‘Server Ate My Emails’ Thing, was very easy to pick, to say the least! Here’s a slice:

A brief overview of the IRS targeting scandal by Bill Still:

For those of us who have experienced life in the IT trenches, former IRS chief Lois Lerner’s claim she lost all of her emails due to a hard-drive crash is a bit hard to swallow, to say the least.

First, email is not typically stored on a personal computer’s hard-drive disk (HDD). Email accounts for most organizations are stored and accessed on a mail server—a separate computer accessed from the user’s computer via a specific network protocol like SMTP, POP3, IMAP, MAPI, HTTP, etc. Mail servers can host multiple email accounts, and typically do. That’s their purpose.

Peter Sulderman, writing at, sums it up like this:

The loss of a personal computer hard drive shouldn’t be able to permanently eliminate emails from a well-run workplace email system. Those emails are run through central email exchange servers, and backups are typically kept using those central exchanges. Add to that Lerner’s prominence in the investigation—she has repeatedly declined to answer questions before Congress, invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate—and the year it took for the IRS to inform the House Ways and Means Committee that the emails were lost in a crash, and the dog-ate-my-emails bit starts to smell rather fishy.

Is the IRS really claiming both the IRS’ mail server and Lois Lerner’s local hard-drive crashed? If the server’s hard-drive failed, that would mean email for everyone within the organization who had an account on that particular mail server would not be able to access their email accounts. Email still being sent from other email accounts on the same mail server that hosted Lois Lerner’s account, and during the same time period that Lerner claims her hard-drive crashed, would indicate the mail server was still operational, despite any misfortune that befell Lerner’s local hard-drive.

System engineers who administer mail servers at the enterprise level will typically strictly follow (and continuously develop) a robust backup plan for all data on mission-critical servers. For most organizations email communication is absolutely essential, if not critical. So, any critical IRS system failures that resulted in long-term outages could potentially create havoc, thus the need to have a comprehensive and redundant backup plan.

Tax software can be extremely complex (thanks to our god-awful progressive tax laws), and must interface with many complex IRS software systems and services. So, don’t tell me the IRS does not have some competent IT staff that can keep their email domains up and running, and their data backed up, according to their own rules and regulations for the retention of data, as prescribed by law.

Powerline reports:

… U.S. law, specifically 44 U.S.C. Chapter 33, requires that agencies must notify the Archivist of any records that are destroyed and the reasons for destroying them. In addition, federal regulations establish strict recoverability and redundancy requirements. Disposal of records outside these standards requires permission in writing.

The IRS satisfies these requirements through Microsoft Outlook/Exchange systems, which are backed up using Symantec NetBackup. According to the IT specialist, IRS had some of the best people in the federal government charged with making sure these systems work as intended.

Microsoft recommends configuring redundant relational databases (RDMS) with Microsoft Exchange Server. The RDMS (relational database management system) stores and accesses all the email text and metadata housed on the server. Even if the hard-drive(s) fail, the email data is still intact in backup databases. Once a new hard-drive is installed, and the operating system and email server are configured, the data from the replicated databases can be imported into the newly configured mail server.

Many computers nowadays running mail, web, application and database servers run high RAID levels—meaning, the computer (server) has multiple hard-drives that run as backups in case the boot drive fails. reports:

Data retention has been a requirement for years. It is a solved problem. It is simply not credible that IRS, an agency that itself imposes data retention requirements on the general public, would not have a data retention plan, with offsite backups and a generalized disaster recovery framework. Somebody is lying when it comes to Lois Lerner’s “missing emails,” and if this were going on in the private sector, somebody would be at risk of prison.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was the one and only Mark Steyn with a great piece on the e-mails in his own inimitable style, We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ E-Mails submitted by The Noisy Room. Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!


Author: Admin

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1 thought on “The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 06/27/14

  1. Of course, Lerner claims that the missing emails pre-date anything that might be relevant to the concerns about targeting….is she incorrect?

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