January 6 text messages removed by Secret Service: Government watchdog

Secret Service agents deleted text messages exchanged during the Capitol riots, according to a government watchdog who tracked the communications as part of their investigation into the Jan. 6 uprising.

The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security said messages sent between Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 were removed “as part of a device replacement program,” according to a letter to lawmakers, dated on Wednesday, obtained by The Associated Press.

The messages were deleted after the OIG requested electronic communications between officials during its investigation into the Capitol siege.

Homeland Security personnel were also told that they could not provide records to the Inspector General and that any records should first be checked by DHS attorneys.

“This review resulted in a week’s delay in retrieving OIG’s records and created confusion as to whether all the records had been created,” the letter read, shared by commission leaders. Homeland Security in the House and Senate.

Pro-Trump rioters broke into the security perimeter and entered the U.S. Capitol.
Ken Cedeno/UPI/Shutterstock

The Secret Service, in response, denies any malicious intent to remove the messages.

“The insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously removes text messages after a request is untrue. In fact, the Secret Service is fully cooperating with the OIG in all aspects – be it interviews, documents, emails or text messages , “the federal agency said in a statement. obtained by Politico.

The Secret Service says it is launching a planned, three-month program to replace staff phones to improve agency-wide communication and security starting in January 2021.

“In this process, the data residing on some phones is lost,” according to the agency.

The OIG did not request communication data until Feb. 26, 2021, according to the Secret Service.

“The Secret Service notified DHS OIG of the loss of data from some phones, but OIG confirmed that none of the texts they were looking for were lost during the migration.”

The Secret Service also stated that “DHS OIG’s allegations about DHS’s cooperation in its investigation are incorrect or novel.

“In contrast, DHS OIG has previously alleged that its employees were not provided with proper and timely access to documents due to an attorney’s review. DHS has repeatedly and publicly denied this. allegations, including in response to the OIG’s last two semi-annual reports to Congress.It is unclear why the OIG has raised this issue again.

The Secret Service denied any malicious intent when the messages were deleted.
Lev Radin/Sipa USA

Two sources familiar with the request for documents told the Washington Post that up to a third of the agency’s staff received replacement cellphones at the time of the request, sources said.

If old text messages sent on January 5 and 6, 2021 are not backed up, the information is lost, the newspaper reports. The phone replacement program does not appear to affect emails.

The dismissal, first reported by The Intercept, opens up a potential new channel of inquiry from the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riots, particularly in light of the former aide’s explosive testimony. by Trump to White House Cassidy Hutchinson last month. the panel on the actions of the former President on January 6, 2021.

Hutchinson, who worked with Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, admitted in his dramatic testimony that Trump tried to master his Secret Service details and commandeer the presidential SUV in a bid to join the crowd of his supporters. . .

With pole wire

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