The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the IRS share a problem: officials say they cannot provide the emails a congressional committee has requested because an employee’s hard drive crashed.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy confirmed to the House Oversight Committee Wednesday that her staff is unable to provide lawmakers all of the documents they have requested on the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, because of a 2010 computer crash.
“We’re having trouble getting the data off of it and we’re trying other sources to actually supplement that,” McCarthy said. “We’re challenged in figuring out where those small failures might have occurred and what caused them occur, but we’ve produced a lot of information.”
The revelation came less than two weeks after IRS officials told Congress that Lois Lerner, the official at the center of the controversy over the targeting of conservative tax-exempt groups, also suffered from a hard drive crash that makes it difficult to comply with records requests.
The committee suspects that Phillip North, who worked for the EPA in Alaska, decided with his colleagues to veto the proposed Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay in 2009, before the agency even began researching its potential impacts on the environment.
Committee staffers have been trying for about a year to interview North, but he has been in New Zealand and refuses to cooperate, they said.
“We have tried to serve a subpoena on your former employee and we have asked for the failed hard drive from this Alaskan individual who now is in New Zealand, and seems to never be returning,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the committee’s chairman, said Wednesday.
Emails provided by the committee show that EPA told congressional investigators about the hard drive crash months ago. But McCarthy said she only told the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) about the problem Tuesday.
How convenient, eh? @redsteeze on Twitter quips:
Most tech savvy administration in history.. Magically suffers chronic hard drive crashes at most inconvenient times. * boop *
— S.M (@redsteeze) June 25, 2014
And not just the “most tech savvy”, but also the most open, honest, transparent administration in HISTORY – of course that depends on your definition of “transparent”, however. As to “honest and open”, well, sure … if you discount the lost emails, the deliberate firings/reprimands of Inspectors Generals they don’t like, the IRS targeting over conservative groups, the way they get around the whole “visitors log” thing by arranging meeting with lobbyists just down the street from the White House, etc …
In related news about the EPA, welcome to bizarro world: EPA Employees Told to Stop Pooping in the Hallway