Deleted text messages from Jan 6 found on 10 Secret Service staff phones, report says

The US Secret Service identified lost text messages in connection with the Capitol Hill riots on the phones of 10 agency employees, according to a CNN report.

The federal agency is investigating phones that contain metadata that shows messages were sent and received around January 6, 2021, the network reported on July 23.

An investigation followed a letter from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security inspector general — first reported by The Intercept and shared by the House select committee investigating the U.S. Capitol attack — finding that messages from agency personnel were missing. or erased.

The Secret Service – the agency responsible for protecting the president and senior officials – told the inspector general’s office that a number of messages were deleted as part of a “device replacement” program.

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffar requested texts from 24 Secret Service personnel involved in the response on January 6, 2021, although only one text was produced.

In a July 14 statement, a Secret Service spokesperson denied that personnel “maliciously deleted the text messages.”

“In fact, the Secret Service has fully cooperated with the [DHS inspector general] in every aspect – whether interviews, documents, emails or texts,” said Anthony Guglielmi.

He said that in January 2021, “before any inspections” opened, the agency began resetting its cell phones to factory settings “as part of a pre-planned three-month system migration.”

“In this process, data residing on some phones was lost,” he said.

The inspector general’s call for responses to potentially lost text messages was followed by a congressional subpoena and criminal investigation into the matter, among a series of extraordinary maneuvers this week as the House select committee unveiled testimony and damning evidence linking the administration of Donald Trump to violence in the halls of Congress.

House select committee members said the agency should have preserved records before migrating data from devices, pointing to a letter sent on January 16, 2021 by congressional committees to various federal agencies asking them to keep records related to 6 of January .

Secret Service officials were invoked in multiple testimony to the House Select Committee, raising serious investigations into then-President Trump’s behavior and his attempts to stir up a mob and subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

A former White House aide testified to the committee that the former president tried to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limousine and attacked a Secret Service agent, as an allegedly furious Trump was told he would not be able to divert the caravan to the Capitol as part of your mission. pressure campaign against then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject Electoral College votes.

Meanwhile, Secret Service agents were helping to get Pence to safety as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

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