Secret Service Erased Text Messages On Jan. 6: Watchdog

  • The U.S. Secret Service deleted text messages shortly after a government watchdog asked for them as part of a probe into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
  • But the Secret Service retorted, claiming that the disclosure was being misinterpreted as “maliciously deleted” in a statement to Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • Chairman of both the House Homeland Security Committee and the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 Rep. Bennie Thompson said the committee will “respond accordingly.”

The U.S. Secret Service deleted text messages sent on Jan. 5 and 6 that were later sought by investigators, according to a letter the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s (DHS IG) office sent to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The letter, which was also sent to the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees, stated that the messages were deleted after the DHS IG requested them, according to CNN. According to the letter, these deletions took place during an agency device-replacement programme. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Text Messages Show Cassidy Hutchinson Referring To January 6 Committee As ‘BS’)

“First, the Department notified us that many US Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, were erased as part of a device-replacement program. The USSS erased those text messages after OIG requested records of electronic communications from the USSS, as part of our evaluation of events at the Capitol on January 6,” the letter from DHS IG Joseph Cuffari read.

Second, DHS employees repeatedly informed OIG inspectors they weren’t allowed to give records to OIG directly and had to be reviewed by DHS lawyers. The letter stated that this review caused OIG to delay for weeks in obtaining records, and that there was confusion about whether any records were produced.

Jason Van Tatenhove, a former spokesperson for the Oath Keepers, and Stephen Ayres, who was a participant in the January 6 attack, are sworn in to testify before the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

But the Secret Service claimed that the deletions happened during routine procedures, U.S. Secret Service Chief of Communication Anthony Guglielmi told the Daily Caller News Foundation, adding that the Inspector General’s claims that the agency wasn’t cooperating with the probe are “neither correct nor new.”

“To the contrary, DHS OIG has previously alleged that its employees were not granted appropriate and timely access to materials due to attorney review. This allegation has been repeatedly refuted by DHS, which also responded to OIG’s two semi-annual reports to Congress. Guglielmi stated to the DCNF that it is not clear why OIG raises this topic again.

The claim that Secret Service deleted maliciously text messages after a request for information is false. He said that the Secret Service had been cooperating fully with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General in all respects – including interviews, documents and texts. Guglielmi stated that the agency had begun to reset its phones to factory settings prior to the inspector general’s office started an inspection. This was in response “to a three-month-long system migration”, where lost data.

“DHS OIG requested electronic communications for the first time on Feb. 26, 2021, after the migration was well under way. Guglielmi stated that the Secret Service informed DHS OIG about the loss of some phones’ data. However, OIG was assured by Guglielmi that no texts were lost during the migration.

According to CNN, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee as well as the House Select Committee that is investigating Jan. 6 was Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson from Mississippi. He stated that the committee would receive an update on the “extraordinarily disturbing destruction of records” and will respond accordingly. The DCNF did not receive any comment from the chairmen of both the Senate and House Homeland Security Committees. DCNF did not receive a response from the committee that was investigating Jan. 6 Capitol Riot. The Daily Caller News Foundation provides Content for any news publication that is eligible and can reach a wide audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

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