On Thursday’s “On the Record” on the Fox News Channel, House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa laid out what steps can be taken now as it has been revealed that former IRS official Lois Lerner, who is at the center of a scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service, could be taken as it has been revealed that some of her emails may have been destroyed in a so-called computer crash.
Issa explained to host Greta Van Susteren where he saw the law as having been violated during the process and then explained what his powers were as head of the House Oversight Committee.
Transcript as follows:
VAN SUSTEREN: Chairman Issa joins us. Nice to see you, sir.
ISSA: Thanks for having me back on. And, Greta, I think the American public gets it that when a disk drive quote, crashes. The data is still there. And competent authorities can recover virtually, if not all of that data. It’s clear that this disk went to this drive went to the bone yard at a convenient time with convenient information.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Are you saying that it could still be recovered or are you saying that they intentionally offloaded it so that it can’t be?
ISSA: The Federal Records Act requires that this data be retained.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well — so, did they retain it or did they offload it?
ISSA: When they destroyed — recycled or destroyed the disk without informing the National Archives, they violated the law. The national archives has now opened an investigation completely separate from ours into this series of wrongful destructions.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I’ve got the letter here from the archives.
ISSA: Paul Webster.
VAN SUSTEREN: Dated June 17, OK. But, was it deliberate or accidental or incompetent? However you want to say it, was it deliberate destruction?
ISSA: I had a conversation with the archivists. His people train all of government on what to do. And if your policy is not to retain on your servers past six months, which is what we now understand, and you tell your individual high-ranking officials they should retain the appropriate documents under the federal records act, then you now those drives contain that.
VAN SUSTEREN: But there’s being deliberate knowing that you didn’t do it and there’s doing deliberately because it’s doing something sinister because you are trying to hide something. Those are two different things. Which is it?
ISSA: The person who made the decision not to have this drive recovered is the person who took the fifth. Lois Lerner.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, she wrote emails like, for instance, the FEC. So, even if she had a crash, whoever received it at the FEC or if she wrote to the DOJ or anything, they should have them.
ISSA: Greta. Every email she sent out went to somebody on the other end. The problem is, except for the NSA under this administration. Who has all those emails?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, can’t you drop a subpoena? I mean, can you make the FEC go to work? Make the DOJ go to work. You have subpoena power.
ISSA: But remember, much of her activity could have been with the committee to reelect President Obama.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can you serve a subpoena on them?
ISSA: I can serve a subpoena on the Democratic National Committee.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, get going.
ISSA: But, in fact, that kind of a fishing expedition is what Henry Waxman did under as predecessor of mine. And he did so because he just generally had an idea. We would like to be pragmatic and positive and reasonable. But right now when the IRS falsely holds this information back, that they knew under multiple commissioners, our first responsibility– Dave Camp and myself is to put the commissioner in front of us and ask us what — ask him what did he know and when did he know it and why didn’t he tell us?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he testified in February and he didn’t tell you then and apparently you supposed to know it by then.
ISSA: He was clearly not forthcoming and he was right on the edge of perjury. When he told our committee that, in fact, it could take up to two years to get this data, when he knew at that point, it could take up to forever.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Chairman, nice to see you, sir.
ISSA: Thanks, Greta.
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