By J.E. Dyer
Liberty Unyielding — The blogosphere has been alive in the last 48 hours with the sound (smell?) of smoking gun, after the revelation late last week that at the time of Lois Lerner’s remarkably convenient computer crash, the IRS had a contract with a company named Sonasoft for email back-up and archiving services.
The IRS contracted with Sonasoft from 2005 to 2011. Sonasoft’s niche in the IT services world is explicitly organizing and backing up email files on Exchange and SQL servers, which the Sonasoft sales pitches point out are an increasingly unwieldy problem for IT departments and users. As a state-of-the-art solution, Sonasoft offers SonaVault, a software package whose properties are so on-point for the catastrophe that supposedly stalked the Lerner emails that it’s positively ridiculous.
Consider some of the verbiage from this 2010 presentation on the benefits of SonaVault. The slides are reproduced below; the pitch homes in on the requirement for companies to be ready for litigation and “eDiscovery,” or searching for and producing, on demand, the electronic records of relevant email transactions.
Of particular note, beyond the extremely pertinent focus on organizing email data to respond to litigation and discovery requirements, is the highlighted portion on Slide 28. It points out that SonaVault provides a customer with continuous email archiving, even when a primary email server “fails over” to the standby server. In other words, there is never any reason to fear the loss of archived emails.
The record at USASpending.gov verifies that the IRS had an annually renewed contract with Sonasoft at the time of the supposed loss of Lois Lerner’s emails, in June 2011. Patrick Howley beat me to the finish line to report (at TheDC) that the Sonasoft contract was terminated shortly afterward. The annual contract, which had been renewed in September 2010, expired without renewal on 31 August 2011. The IRS-Sonasoft relationship was severed altogether on 8 September 2011, with a de-obligation purchase order.
So that’s awfully interesting. Whatever Sonasoft’s obligations after the contract was terminated, it’s clear that the company had a relevant contractual obligation to the IRS at the time of the supposed email loss. There seems to be no question that Sonasoft’s knowledge of the email “catastrophe” needs to be investigated.
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