The photo on the right shows the inside of a typical desktop computer hard drive. As you can see, there are lots of moving parts. There are several platters or disks that spin at 7,200 RPM. There are arms that move back and forth to read the data from the platters much like the arm of a record player moves across an old LP record, but these arms move very rapidly back and forth searching out the data on the platters.
A device with so many moving parts and motors is most certainly doomed. Eventually it will fail, but the typical hard drive today will last for 3 to 5 years. Even if you estimated the life span of an IRS hard drive at two years, the chances of Lois Lerner winning a lotto jackpot are better than the odds of seven hard drives at the IRS crashing in the same month as has been alleged.
But that is just the beginning. There are a few problems with the whole story.
The IRS, like most large organizations, uses a mail server software. This is likely Microsoft Exchange Server. Normal emails would be stored on the servers. Standard business practice would dictate that the mail servers are backed up daily or even more often. Those backups are then kept for months, years or even permanently. So even in this case, the server administrators should be able to restore Lois Lerner's mail box back to the same condition it was in months or perhaps years ago. Even if users removed all traces of emails from the servers and stored them elsewhere, that would be most suspicious behavior.
Here is the most concerning thing though. Unless those hard drives crashed because Thor came down and smacked them with his mighty hammer, the data was likely easily recoverable. At Preactive IT Solutions, we replace crashed hard drives as a matter of daily business as we repair computers. In approximately 90%+ of the cases of hard drive failure, we are able to recover ALL of the data from the hard drive through easy to use drive imaging or data recovery software. Any technician with a few years under his belt would have the skills and tools to do this.
In those few cases where software cannot recover the data, an $800 or so fee paid to a data recovery facility can usually get the data.
The point is this. If the IRS wanted to keep the emails. They could have kept the emails.
If you happen to have 7 hard drives crash on you, please come by Preactive IT Solutions. We will recover your data and then we will follow you to the store of your choice to split a lotto ticket.