Just a little tidbit here from this week’s hearing with EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, in case you missed it. In this strangely under-reported highlight, we learn that it’s now becoming standard practice among government agencies to claim hard drives are “crashed” and e-mails are missing whenever they’re asked to present incriminating documents that they’d rather not share. That’s right; it’s not only the IRS. The Environmental Protection Agency must have thought the Internal Revenue Service had come up with a genius defense, because they’ve now adopted it as their own.
McCarthy was being grilled by Congressman Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) over certain e-mail messages belonging to a former agency employee named Phillip North, when she made the laughable excuse about more mysteriously busted computers. “What is it with bureaucrats and government agencies when this committee is investigating, trying to find out about their personal e-mails or e-mails on an EPA or government computer, the hard drives crash?” asked the Congressman. The EPA chief had no real response.
Phillip North was a central figure in the controversy surrounding an Alaskan mining project that was accused of being a federal overreach. The House Oversight Committee wants to ask Mr. North questions about the project, but there’s a problem: he retired and may have left the country. No one will tell Congress where he is, and now, as we’ve learned from this hearing, his e-mails were conveniently eaten by a dog as well.
These federal agencies might want to put their heads together and come up with some slightly better excuses. You know, like “my car broke down and then we got robbed” or “someone slipped something into my drink and when I woke up, my computer was gone.” If you’re going to lie, take it all the way. At least be creative, people!
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