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It wasn’t just a hard drive crash that led the Internal Revenue Service to lose Lois Lerner’s e-mails from the time Lerner was in charge of holding up tax exemption applications from conservative groups. It was seven hard drive crashes, the lack of a centralized archive, a practice of erasing and reusing backup tapes every six months, and an IRS policy of allowing employees to decide for themselves which e-mails constitute an official agency record.

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