And all of them, apparently, were lost in computer crashes. That’s novel. Normally, when an agency doesn’t want to comply with a document request, it simply lies by claiming that no such document exists.

I’ll spare you a click and Voxsplain this one right here: Clearly the answer is to increase the IRS’s budget, so that they can afford more reliable PCs.

Seriously, though, who’s getting fired?

It’s not just Lois Lerner’s e-mails. The Internal Revenue Service says it can’t produce e-mails from six more employees involved in the targeting of conservative groups, according to two Republicans investigating the scandal.

The IRS told Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp and subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany that computer crashes resulted in additional lost e-mails, including from Nikole Flax, the chief of staff to former IRS commissioner Steven Miller, who was fired in the wake of the targeting scandal.

The revelation about Lerner’s e-mails rekindled the scandal and today’s news has further inflamed Republicans. Camp and Boustany are now demanding a special prosecutor to investigate “every angle” of the targeting. They expressed particular outrage that the agency has known since February that it would not be able to produce the e-mails requested by the committee yet did not apprise the committee of that fact, and they charged in a statement that the IRS is attempting to “cover up the fact that it convenient lost key documents in the investigation.”

Show of hands: When was the last time your computer crashed so hard that important data — e-mails, specifically — were lost and couldn’t be retrieved? I’ve used PCs and Macs every day for the past eight years, for 12 hours a day or more during weekdays, and I can’t remember experiencing something like that. It’s an “Internet 2001″ problem, not “Internet 2011,” especially given how cheap and ubiquitous back-up drives are today — and yet it happened to the IRS, apparently, no fewer than seven times, as recently as three years ago. And by the way, why are IRS e-mails being saved locally to employees’ hard drives instead of to a central server, a la e-mail programs like Gmail? The agency is required by statute to preserve records; the easiest way to do that for e-mail would be to store everything in a central cloud. Why doesn’t the IRS do that?

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