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WASHINGTON – The CEO of a major a federal contractor, which has several contracts with the Treasury Department, says it should be relatively easy for IRS contractors to retrieve the “lost” emails of Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the tea party-targeting scandal.
Ron Gula is CEO and chief technical officer of Tenable Network Security, an information technology services company nestled in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., that has major contracts with many federal agencies, including the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service and United States Mint.
“It is very unlikely that the emails in question are not stored on a backup machine someplace else,” Gula told WND.
Gula also said questions about the lost emails from Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, R-Calif., for Monday evening’s hearing are spot on.
Over the weekend, Issa called IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to testify Monday evening about the IRS’ “email systems, data retention policies, and document production processes.”
“Because the IRS has refused to provide basic information about these matters to the committee in advance of the hearing, and in the interest of promoting a frank and thorough discussion at the hearing, I ask that you provide answers to the factual questions posed below,” Issa said in a letter to Koskinen.
In his letter, Issa asked Koskinen to provide further details about the “failure of the hard drive,” identify employees involved in examining the hard drive, explain steps taken by the IRS to recover the information and give dates of those attempts. He also asked for the identities of all IRS employees who had any role or responsibility in maintaining or servicing IRS email servers since 2009 and for other details on the IRS archival systems.
After reviewing the letter, Gula said, “Many of the questions outlined for [Monday’s] session are on the right track.” He said the emails in question could also be stored on any number of laptops and systems such as spam filters, which process email throughout the IRS.
Gula noted that because IRS contractors have the same access as employees to email systems, there shouldn’t be any issue retrieving lost data.
“In my experience, contractors who were authorized to do work for organizations like the IRS have full access to email and corporate resources,” he said.
To make email work for an organization the size of the IRS, Gula said, “there must be a great deal of redundancy and separate systems to deliver email reliably.”
WND found that several large corporations hold the IRS’ Total Information Processing Services, or TIPSS-4, contract to handle the IRS’ email servers and provide staff to work, in many cases, on site at IRS offices.
Those companies include: Accenture, Unisys, AT&T Government Solutions, Avaya Government Solutions, Booz Allen Hamilton, CGI Federal, Computer Sciences Corp., Deloitte Consulting, General Dynamics, HP Enterprises, IBM, Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman Systems and Pragmatics.
Issa called an archivist from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and invited White House counsel Jennifer O’Connell to testify Monday in a continuation of the investigation.