When an IRS official experienced a hard-drive crash that led to some missing emails, much of the right immediately assumed the worst. Obviously, they argued, this is proof of an elaborate cover-up, intended to hide the truth about a devastating scandal. If the emails weren't incriminating, the theory goes, they wouldn't be missing.
Reality points in a different direction
, of course, and sometimes a crashed hard drive is just a crashed hard drive.
But if missing emails are necessarily evidence of nefarious wrongdoing, I'll be eager to hear what the right has to say about New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R).
Earlier this year, Mother Jones published a piece
on Martinez' background and her apparent paranoia. Of particular interest were revelations about Martinez's 2010 gubernatorial campaign, when the Republican's aides tracked license-plate numbers on cars possibly belonging to opposition-research trackers. The aides would then pass along the information to an investigator in Martinez's district attorney's office -- which seemed like a pretty blatant misuse of public resources.
Not surprisingly, this news prompted New Mexico Democrats to file an open-records request with the DA's office, seeking emails from Martinez, her chief deputy DA, Amy Orlando, and the office's senior investigator. Andy Kroll reported
this week on what happened next.
On Tuesday, Mark D'Antonio, the current DA in New Mexico's Third Judicial District, released the findings of an internal investigation that concluded that large amounts of emails -- potentially including those sought by the Democrats -- had been "deleted and/or removed" during the period when the office was briefly run by Orlando, Martinez's onetime deputy. Two of the four hard drives used by Orlando's administration -- hard drives that might have contained the requested emails -- were missing. And investigators noted that all emails in the DA's office were supposed to be backed up by a "special tape drive" in the office, but the back-up tapes were "blank and appear to have been erased."
Wait, it gets worse.
The report also noted that, under Orlando, the DA's office misled a reporter who'd made his own request for similar records. The DA's office told the reporter that the records he wanted didn't exist because the office's server "is routinely cleaned." But after interviewing IT staffers, investigators concluded this statement "was inaccurate because IT personnel stated that servers were not routinely 'cleaned' and that the data should exist on a server."
So, where's the outrage from everyone who's convinced Lois Lerner is responsible for some kind of Nixonian conspiracy?