Recovering the missing 18 1/12 minutes may have been have been difficult or impossible in 1972, but as numerous commenters at Hot Air observe, there should be duplicates of the emails on the servers containing the emails. Beyond that, hard drive recovery techniques are remarkably sophisticated:
How much damage can your data take before it’s gone forever? We wanted to find out what could be salvaged from a computer that had been through a natural disaster, so we simulated a really bad one. We decided upon an earthquake/flood doomsday scenario. First, we took two laptop drives, loaded them with test movie and music files, then beat the heck out of them until we heard the signature clicking of mechanical hard-drive failure. Then we submerged one of the drives in custom- made storm-surge floodwaters (salt water, construction debris, oil) and let it soak for four days.
We sent both hard drives to Kroll Ontrack Data Recovery, which sells data-rescue services to both corporate clients and consumers. Ontrack’s Jeff Pederson analyzed the drives in the company’s clean room and found that the read/write heads in our dry drive were bent from our abuse and that we had scratched the platters. Our flooded drive was wet, but the platters were undamaged. Pederson replaced the heads and performed a recovery.
To borrow a Nixon-era phrase, how badly does Congress want to pursue this latest modified limited hangout by the IRS?