Back Ups of Back Ups

I’m putting this here because, well, it’s not really a George thing.

The IRS loss of email data is very disturbing to me. I used to contract with our great nation and set up many networks that had to back up to at least three different data centers. No one’s HD crashing would have lost any of their data. Let’s just say that odds of that happening are the same of me winning any given lottery. To put that into perspective, I don’t play the lottery. It’s a tax on people too stupid to add and subtract.

Now they, the IRS are saying that due to one person’s HD crash six more people who were having their emails culled by Congress have lost their emails as well.


If I’m setting up auto updates to be sent to local servers and 3 data centers, you are not losing emails ever. The government has these processes in place just for this very purpose, so information is never lost and can be retrieved for Congress when asked for.

What do you guys think? Am I just stupidly overlooking some simple thing that could have caused this, because I called immediate BS on this and had several other IT folks back me up on it. I just know, based on my experience working with government and setting up up their networks and back up processes, something like they are trying to describe in the news is impossible.

Kind of sounds like 18.5 minutes of tape to me.

It’s obvious to me that the administration has been using the alphabet soup to attack it’s enemies. Too many conservatives have said things publicly and then gotten audited, or EPA’d, or FCC’d, for it to be a total coincidence.

Lois Lerner said they were targeting conservative groups, that’s why she apologized. I’m not sure why anyone denies that, but I’ve seen lots of people try to hand wave it away. That is not in question. The question is why, and who ordered it.

I feel like we’ve caught Al Capone on tax evasion here.Fast and Furious, Benghazi, refusing to enforce the law, changing PPACA on his own, and the rest, but the IRS is what is taking the administration down and making people look at what is going on.

Also, how do you have a subpoena from Congress and not tell them for 4 months that what they asked for is gone? In related news, what can be done anyway, Eric Holder either ignores Congress or appoints Obama bundlers to investigate things, so that won’t work.

Two observations about the Sonasoft story: first, the IRS’s cancellation of the Sonasoft contract occurred in the context of a $1.8 billion annual budget
for information services, plus $330 million annually for “business
systems modernization.” All of that, and the IRS couldn’t afford an
email archiving service? Not only that, it had to recycle its backup
tapes to save money? Ridiculous

So did the new system not work right? She apologized over a year ago, would two years email retention be that unusual? And if she lost it in 2011, wouldn’t the back up tapes have been current then? Reusing tapes isn’t that big of a deal, shouldn’t her stuff have been on the daily or weekly tape? Or even the last month’s tape?

We’re talking about two years of missing emails. If I lost two years of email it would hamstring me for months, and keep coming up as an issue for years after. I read a couple articles saying they should subpoena her Google searches to look for searches for “accidental” hard drive causes.

They are saying that the emails are lost because HER hard drive crashed. Imfreakinpossible. There is not an exchange server out there that is not at least RAID 3, most are RAID 5 and the emails are stored on the servers NOT her hard drive

C’mon Sev. You’ve been in the biz long enough to have had it happen to you. One lowly person bitches because they don’t know how (or can’t) to connect to the system from outside the network. So they make enough stink that it goes up the chain to a manager who threatens the IT manager to do something. No one backs up IT so he’s got no teeth to bite back and he just sighs and gives up. Then it trickles back down to some tech who has to make the whiny person happy. He configures offline Exchange in Outlook and forgets to check the box to keep copies on the server. Bingo bango bongo, one HD crash and all the email goes poof.

Granted, if someone somewhere along that chain were smart, they’d be capturing the email at the server level so it couldn’t be deleted. But so many of our distinguished goberment employees don’t want to be caught with incriminating emails by the DOJ, that mode of thinking is discouraged.

But that’s my 2 cents of it all


This one’s easy:

  1. Agency clamps down on mailbox size and/or retention limits so users store “important” mail either as files or in locally-hosted PSTs because that’s super-easy to do unless disallowed via gpo;
  2. User is the kind of user who quits or kills the process every day on their IT-mandated local backup tool because it “takes too long”;
  3. Hard drive crashes, e-mail gone

I totally buy that a desktop crash could eliminate e-mail like that. Have seen it many times before, almost always because users try to bypass IT policies…and those policies are usually in place because the company has an older version of Exchange and hasn’t set up any of the neat new features that Microsoft has baked into Exchange 2010 and later.

I think the real damning part is that there was a rash of hard drive crashes around the same time that affected 5 other people who have also had their emails subpenaed. (Damn, there was no way I was spelling that right)

Taking this straight, non conspiracy. What this shows is that the feds don’t pay any attention to their own regulations for data storage and retention. Nor do they seem awful concerned about it. No, “That’s why we changed our system through that 300 million dollar upgrade at that time” Just a oh yeah, we lost the data, and threw away the hard drive, and recycled the backup tapes. If the backup tapes had anything in the first place, why not restore from there in the first place?

If not evil, then totally ignorant. And these are the people who manage our tax code.

Conspiracy wise, it’s as plausible as 18.5 minutes of tape being erased accidentally. A rash of hard drive crashes that just happened to only affect the people involved in the illegal targeting and suppression of tea party GOTV type groups in an election year in order to reduce conservative turn out sounds an awful lot like a real issue. Remember all the “Tea Party is dead” crap going around in 2012? It was dead because it was being suppressed by the opposition through the use of federal agencies, like the IRS, EPA, OSHA, and others.

If OFA qualifies as tax free, then I’d like to know what wouldn’t.

There is no question that the IRS targeted these groups intentionally, Lois apologized for it already, it is a fact. Oddly enough, no one knows, or has anything that said who told them to do it. This one isn’t going away, it’s a disaster, and the cover up is making it worse.

Heh, the EPA lost a hard drive in 2010 with some subpoenaed data on it too. Apparently the best way to kill a hard drive is to subpoena it.

The Federal IT budget for 2015 is 79 Billion dollars, for around 2.6 million employees, not including contractors.

$30,000+ per employee seems a bit steep.

13 billion is for cyber security. So there’s that.

And it doesn’t include the military. And the administration is so proud of holding it down, apparently at Bush’s rate it would be 119 billion by now.

I was partly being a smart alack, but damn, that is a pretty big chunk. You just know there is massive fat that could be trimmed. Someone, somewhere is probably still requisitioning floppies.

Part of the reason I don’t really like big government is that things get so big you don’t know what’s happening. I like to work with smaller companies for the same reason most of the time. How much time would it take to find a million dollars wasted in that 79 billion? How much do you have to save to justify looking for the waste?

Think about customer service at the corner hardware store compared to Lowes sometimes. Yes, you can have a bad experience at both, but you are more likely in my opinion to get indifference to your issues at Lowes, or even worse, a hardware issue at Target or Walmart.

Now imagine that Walmart was twice as big as it is (Currently 1.3 million in US) and imagine how much they would care about a single individual, unless it was photogenic… that’s how much the Federal Government cares about you. And with conservative reporters only making up 7% of the total, and IRS employees 47% liberal to 20% conservative, the incentive to dig is minimized, so less is photogenic than when you are going after big bad Walmart.

Hah, it was scratched. That’s it. And apparently they just couldn’t get the data off there. Even though they were told by their IT people the data was recoverable. The fired their back up company a few weeks later, without looking for her missing emails there apparently, and I’m sure the other 6 people had the exact same problem.

“The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive
was recycled and potentially shredded. To now learn that the hard drive
was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to
recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong
doing at the IRS.”

This all started because Lois Lerner apologized for Tea Party groups being targeted. The crime happened. It actually happened, there is no doubt there, but for some reason only republicans are interested in finding out why or how it happened, and that makes them vindictive or something. I guess it will get fixed when a Republican is president and pulls the same thing, then the press will be interested I guess.

Makes me wonder about the definition of "scratch."
One is a physical marring of a platter - how does that happen?
Another is “to prep a drive for re-use.” That sounds more likely, and very recoverable… unless you’re trying to hide what’s on it.

Maybe they were moving all of these people’s desks and they forgot to turn them all off?

Does anyone in DC realize how freakin hard you have to work to get a damned HD out of a freakin laptop?

Apparently they use claw hammers and pickaxes at the IRS.

I read an article that talked about them recycling the pieces of her computer, and then I recalled it was a laptop, and I was like who the hell does that?

6 hard drives at the IRS, I think 2 so far at the EPA. Can someone FOIA failure rates of hard drives at those federal agencies over the last 10 years? I’ve heard stupid responses to FOIA requests, but damn.

Depends on the laptop… Some are a huge pain the rear, while others are a breeze. Most Dell Latitudes are 2 or 4 screws and slide it out. A lot of ThinkPads are one screw. Some Panasonic Toughbooks don’t require removing any screws, just unlock a latch, open a door, and pull. On the other hand, I’ve seen Sony Vaios that required major surgery.

Ugh, yes. Rage, thy name is Vaio.


When I had to replace the cooling fan in my Sony VAIO (God I miss that thing) it was like rocket surgery! I wanted a scrub nurse and anesthesiologist and a sterilized operating theatre. I can honestly say, I’d rather crack the case on my desktop and solder USB ports before I’d attempt that on my own again.