The Blind Leading The Find: Lois Lerner’s Hard Drive Was Searched By Legally Blind IRS Employee

Chuck Ross | Reporter

The first IT specialist to inspect the computer hard drive of former IRS exemptions director Lois Lerner was legally blind, according to an affidavit filed last year by Stephen Manning, deputy chief information officer for strategy and modernization at the IRS.

Manning’s July 18, 2014, affidavit pertained to a lawsuit filed by True the Vote against the IRS alleging that Lerner led an effort to target it and similar conservative groups by refusing to grant them tax-exempt status.

J. Christian Adams, a former Department of Justice attorney writing for PJ Media, flagged the affidavit which provided the educational background of the IT specialist.

“According to the Specialist, prior to joining the Internal Revenue Service, from 2004 to 2005, formal Microsoft training was completed through Lions World Services for the Blind, a certified Microsoft training and testing center,” Manning stated.

The employee, who was hired by the agency in 2007 and has been promoted three times, began working on Lerner’s hard drive on June 13, 2011, according to the affidavit.

According to the IRS’s website, the agency has had a partnership with Lions World Services for the Blind — which now goes by the name World Services for the Blind — since 1967.

“The IRS and LWSB provide training programs for various entry level positions. From Collection Representative positions to Computer Programmers. This relationship has resulted in over 1000 persons with disabilities being employed by the IRS. In 2003 forty-six outstanding candidates were trained by Lions World for placement in IRS positions,” reads the agency’s website.

After an unsuccessful attempt to preserve or recover data on Lerner’s hard drive, it was removed and her laptop was replaced with a new one, Manning stated.

The computer was sent back to Lerner and the hard drive was sent to a forensics lab. When the lab could not find any information on the hard drive, it was sent back to the user and network branch. It was then “degaussed,” or wiped clean with a magnet, Manning stated.

IRS officials initially claimed that Lerner’s hard drive was irreparably damaged before it was destroyed in 2011.

But last year, investigators with the House Ways and Means Committee interviewed technical experts at the IRS who said that the hard drive was merely scratched and not irreparable. (RELATED: Lois Lerner’s Hard Drive Was ‘Scratched’ Then ‘Shredded’)

“The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded,” then-Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp said just days after Manning’s July 18 affidavit was filed.

“To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS,” Camp continued.

Ways and Means’ press release also states that the experts’ claims conflict with a “a July 18, 2014, court filing by the Agency, which stated the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable – including multiple years’ worth of missing emails.”

Manning did not return The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

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