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An e-mail. Weeks of phone calls. A flurry of texts.

All of that was behind us.

Now it was time to meet face-to-face – in a tiny, dark hotel conference room nearly 900 miles from Indianapolis.

One meeting room. Two IRS whistleblowers. Three TV cameras. Hundreds of questions.

The first question seemed obvious.

“Why are you here?” I asked.

The whistleblowers looked at each other and smiled.

“Because I love my country. And I just can’t do this no more. It’s not right,” said one of the IRS workers.

“That’s why we’re both here,” said the other, echoing her colleague with long, deliberate pauses. “It’s a crime, and it’s…just…not…right.”

Together, they have decades of experience at the Internal Revenue Service, working on the front lines with frustrated, angry or confused taxpayers who contact the agency for help.

Risking their jobs to come forward, the whistleblowers do not want to show their identity. But they do want to show how the IRS is a knowing accomplice to millions of cases of identity theft while keeping victims in the dark.

A five-month Eyewitness News investigation shows their concerns are well-documented, and the IRS has been warned about the problem for years. Within a massive federal agency that claims to be taking identity theft seriously, the reality – in many cases – is very different.

“We are not supposed to do anything.” said a whistleblower. “We are not allowed to say anything.”