The Federal Aviation Administration is giving conflicting accounts of what may have happened to crucial emails at the center of its air traffic control cheating scandal, the FOX Business Network has learned.
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As reported by FOX last week, the FAA admitted in motions filed in Federal District Court in Arizona state that some of the tapes which record and store email communication between FAA employees are “corrupted” and unrecoverable.
The motions include a document titled Declaration of Daniel Maggard, who is an investigative specialist in the Digital Media Analysis Unit of the FAA. According to his declaration, the agency used two different email systems, one of which was Lotus Notes. As first reported by FOX’s “Trouble in the Skies” investigation last year, air traffic control candidates suing the FAA have requested, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the release of emails from the Lotus Notes system from December 1, 2013 through April 23, 2014.
According to Maggard, “The Lotus Notes email records are retrieved from disaster recovery tapes and stored with an outside contractor…The Lotus Notes Archive for December of 2013 was unable to retrieve data and was identified as unreadable and corrupted.” The Maggard declaration goes on to state, “The Agency’s messaging Service Team informed me that they tried several techniques to recover and retrieve the data from the December 2013 disaster recovery tapes, but they were unsuccessful.”
FOX Business called Daniel Maggard on Wednesday March 2, 2016 and asked him to identify who “The Agency’s Messaging Service Team” referred to. Maggard responded, “Iron Mountain.”
Iron Mountain (IRM), an international firm that stores data tapes, tells a different story. In a statement to FOX Business;
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“Iron Mountain does provide data backup tape storage for the FAA, but does not do any data recovery or data restoration services for the FAA (or any of its customers).....
“Iron Mountain does provide data backup tape storage for the FAA, but does not do any data recovery or data restoration services for the FAA (or any of its customers); instead, we utilize a third-party provider for those services. We have reviewed our tape delivery records for the FAA – and the service records for our third-party recovery provider – and confirmed that we did deliver tapes back to the FAA as stated in the motion; however, our third-party provider did not provide any type [of] recovery services for the FAA at that time.”
– Iron Mountain, March 7, 2016
In response, the FAA tells FOX Business, “We have no response at this time because of pending litigation."