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Editorial: Sure, the computer ‘crashed’

Now that some of former high-ranking IRS official Lois Lerner’s electronic messages have come to light it’s no wonder her hard drive “crashed,” irretrievably destroying untold numbers of emails concerning the agency’s controversial dealings with conservative nonprofits.

Lerner led the Internal Revenue Service division that deals with applications for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 election seasons. Congress and the Justice Department are investigating whether the agency improperly – and unfairly – delayed and overscrutinized applications from conservative groups during those periods.

In a series of emails using her Blackberry and her government account, Lerner makes it clear she’s no fan of conservatives, referring to them as “crazies” and “assholes,” among insults.

Lerner has twice refused to answer questions at congressional hearings, invoking her constitutional right against self-incrimination, and in May she was held in contempt of Congress. Then in June, the IRS told Congress that Lerner’s computer hard drive had crashed in 2011, destroying all her emails.

Surprisingly – or not – so did six other IRS hard drives, each belonging to an IRS employee said to have been involved in targeting conservatives. Imagine that.

Perhaps those who still believe all this is incidental should have their sanity audited. It’s time for a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of this.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.