Secret Service Watchdog Knew Texts Were Missing In February, But Didn’t Tell Congress

by | Jul 21, 2022 | Politics

A watchdog agency knew in February that the Secret Service deleted almost all text messages from Jan. 6, 2021, but did not inform congressional investigators, The Washington Post reported, citing three unnamed sources.The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General failed to alert Congress after discovering the missing texts, potentially making it more difficult to recover records that could illuminate former President Donald Trump’s thoughts and actions on the day the Capitol was stormed, according to the Post.AdvertisementCongress asked the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service, twice in January 2021 to preserve evidence related to the Jan. 6 insurrection for its investigations. Despite that request, the Secret Service said it undertook a preplanned data migration that wiped agents’ phones.The office of DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari contemplated issuing a public alert in October 2021 that the Secret Service was among DHS divisions obstructing requests for records related to the Capitol insurrection. Cuffari’s office in the end though chose not to go through with it, the Post reported. Cuffari’s office did not respond to the Post’s reporting about why it failed to tell Congress about the purged texts. The office said its reports to Congress in September and March pointed out that DHS and the Secret Service were stonewalling insurrection-related investigations.House Jan. 6 committee Chair Bennie Thompson and Vice-Chair Liz Cheney issued a statement Wednesday expressing concerns over the Secret Service explanation for the missing texts. Advertisement“The U.S. Secret Service system migration process went forward on January 27, 2021, just three weeks after the attack on the Capitol in which the Vice President of the United States while under the protection of the Secret Service, was steps from a violent mob hunting for him,” the committee leaders wrote.“Four House committees had already sought these critical records from the …

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