There’s not much more to say that what ATR lays out. In a nutshell, many IRS employees used an interoffice messaging chat system to communicate with one another, instead of email, because there was no archiving system turned on for that mode of communication — meaning there was no written trail of discussions. This methodology was discovered while looking at Lois Lerner’s emails.
The IRS used a “wholly separate” instant messaging system that automatically deleted office communications, according to documentation released by the House Oversight Committee on Monday. The system appears to have been purposefully used by agency officials responsible for the targeting of conservative non-profits, in order to evade public scrutiny.
The system, known as “Office Communication Server” or OCS was used by IRS officials, including many in the Exempt Organizations (EO) Unit, which was headed by Lois Lerner.
As the Oversight Committee report states, the instant messaging system did not archive any communications, so it is not possible to know what employees of the EO unit discussed on it.
However, in an email uncovered by the Committee Lerner warns her colleagues about evading Congressional oversight:
“I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails – so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.”
Lerner then asks whether OCS is automatically archived. When informed it was not, Lerner responded “Perfect.”
While it is possible to set the instant messaging system to automatically archive messages, the IRS chose not to do so, according to one employee interviewed by the Committee. The fact that the agency chose not to archive messages raises questions about the true purpose of OCS and what discussions took place.
Needless to say, the apparent use of OCS to evade Congressional oversight once again shows that the IRS does not want the American people to learn the truth about the Lois Lerner targeting scandal.