Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson decided to accuse the IRS of canceling a contract with Sonasoft, specifically to hide the emails that are supposed to be the smoking gun that prove the IRS intentionally targeted Tea Party groups. What makes this even worse (better? more amusing?) is that Sonasoft itself said they never had the IRS’s emails to begin with.
Carlson was referring to a post on a blog called Power Line, which itself was referring to an article on The Daily Caller. The Daily Caller linked to Sonasoft’s homepage, which now carries the message, “Sonasoft does NOT have IRS email. Sonasoft NEVER had access to IRS email. GET INFORMED!” That notice links to a press release that clarifies the relationship between Sonasoft and the IRS. But they only had a relationship with the IRS Counsel Division; they were not working with the entire IRS.
Furthermore, Sonasoft says that no division within the IRS ever used their email archiving service, and that the Counsel Division only used their email replicating software. They did not use their archiving backup software. You can read the entire press release here.
But those facts didn’t stop Carlson. She said, according to Media Matters:
“Because I know that you believe that the timing seems somewhat suspicious, number one. But could there be a deeper meaning as to why that was cancelled at that particular time because, you know, other people are suspecting right now that quite deliberately they cancelled that account because they knew that Sonasoft would then delete those emails.”
So, where did all this smoking gun nonsense come from, if it’s not legit? Both Media Matters and Sonasoft itself have confirmed that this isn’t true.
The long and the short of it is that The Daily Caller got a lot of its information from a website that lists various government contracts. That website doesn’t list which divisions within which departments might have that contract, however; they only list the agency responsible for awarding the contract. In this case, no matter what division the contract was for, the issuing agency would be the IRS. If one merely looks at the lists of contracts, and doesn’t click on a specific contract, then scroll down to where it says “Agency Details,” and mouse over the little information icon next to the IRS, then the list can be very deceiving. However, one doesn’t have to know how government contracts work to figure this part of the puzzle out.
Finding this out, and unraveling the whole story, only took some clicks on links in the Power Line and Daily Caller articles, on Sonasoft’s website, and the contract list websites. It didn’t even require moderate research skills. Thus, Gretchen Carlson made more of a fool of herself than one might think, since no “deep digging” was required.
Alas, though, when people are on a witch hunt, that’s about as much as we can expect. Sonasoft’s contract, and its termination, are not the smoking gun that the conspiracy theorists would like.