Congress released this email from Lois Lerner today that shows she was very concerned with hiding information from Congress, cautioning people to be careful what they said in e-mail because of congressional queries.
In fact she was so concerned about this that she wanted to know if their in-house instant messaging system recorded their instant messages. When she found out they did not, she responded “Perfect”.
In case you can’t read the screenshot below, here is what it says:
From the April 9, 2013, email exchange among Lerner, an IRS technology employee (Maria Hooke), and the agency’s Director for Exempt Organizations Exam Unit Manager Nanette Downing who led audits:
I had a question today about OCS [Microsoft Office Communications Server]. I was cautioning folks about email and how we have several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails – so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails. Someone asked if OCS conversations were also searchable – I don’t know, but told them I would get back to them. Do you know?
Lerner’s April 2013 e-mail exchanges came just twelve days after the IRS Inspector General shared a draft copy of its targeting audit with the IRS that Lerner would leak at a bar association speech only weeks before the scandal became public.
In e-mails withheld from the Committee until only last week, Lerner was apparently concerned that IRS conversations taking place within the agency’s instant messenger program could end up in the hands of Congress along with requested e-mails. An IRS technology employees responded that “OCS messages are not set to automatically save” but cautioned that “parties involved in an OCS conversation can copy and save the contents of the conversation to an email or file.” Lerner responded, “Perfect.”
Below is the email: