The secret services cannot recover the texts; no new details for the January 6 committee


The US Secret Service has determined that it has no new text to provide to Congress regarding its Jan. 6 investigation, and that all other texts exchanged by its agents at the time of the 2021 attack on the Capitol have been purged. , according to a senior official briefed on the matter.

Additionally, the National Archives on Tuesday requested more information about the “potential unauthorized deletion” of the agency’s text messages. The U.S. government records official has instructed the Secret Service to report to the Archives within 30 days on the deletion of any documents, including describing what was purged and the circumstances of the loss of documentation.

The law enforcement agency, whose officers became embroiled in the Jan. 6 investigation because of their role in observing and planning President Donald Trump’s movements that day, is expected to share this finding with the Jan. 6 committee in response to his Friday subpoena for the texts. and other recordings.

The agency, which made the decision after reviewing its communications databases over the past four days, will provide thousands of recordings, but nearly all of them have already been shared with an agency watchdog and congressional committees, the senior official said. None are expected to shed new light on key issues the committee is studying, including whether Trump attacked a Secret Service agent, a story a senior White House official described to the committee on Jan. 6.

Many cellphone text messages from his agents were permanently purged beginning in mid-January 2021 and Secret Service officials said this was the result of an agency-wide reset of the phones of the personnel and replacement that she had started planning months earlier. Secret Service agents, many of whom protect the president, vice president and other senior government officials, were instructed to download all old text messages involving government business to an internal agency drive before the reset, the senior official said, but many agents don’t seem to be doing it. have done it.

The upshot is that potentially valuable evidence — communications and real-time reactions from agents who interacted directly with Trump or helped coordinate his plans before and during Jan. 6 — will likely never be recovered, two people familiar with the system Secret Service communications said. They requested anonymity to discuss sensitive topics without agency permission.

The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, incursion into the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters issued a subpoena to the U.S. Secret Service on Friday asking for a phone, after-action reports and other documents related to that time.

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office quashed the committee’s investigation last week, saying the Secret Service erased texts from around January 5 and 6 after his office requested them as part of of his own investigation.

Trump-appointed DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari briefed members of the House Select Committee on Friday after sending a letter to lawmakers last week advising them that the text messages were missing. He also said DHS officials were delaying the release of information he requested, which Homeland Security officials denied.

Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the agency did not maliciously delete the text messages and that the Secret Service lost some data due to a previously planned replacement of staff phones at agency-wide. The replacement began a month before the Office of Inspector General made its request, he said last week.

Guglielmi acknowledged that some data on the phones was lost during the switch, but stressed that “none of the texts” sought by the OIG were missing.

Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said the subpoena could resolve account discrepancies between the OIG and the Secret Service, which reports to DHS.

The text messages could provide the committee with more details about the actions of Secret Service agents and the former president at the time of the Capitol attack.

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told a hearing last month that Trump wanted to lead the crowd from the Ellipse to the Capitol, despite knowing they were armed, and said that he was told by an agent that Trump had physically assaulted the Secret Service agent who informed him that he could not go to the Capitol. She did not witness this alleged episode.

The Secret Service text messages have become a new focal point of the Jan. 6 congressional investigation, as they could provide insight into the agency’s actions on the day of the uprising and possibly those of Trump. Last month, a former White House aide told the House Select Committee investigating the assault on the Capitol that Trump had been alerted by the Secret Service on the morning of Jan. 6 that his supporters were armed, but insisted that they be allowed to participate in his rally on the Ellipse. with their weapons.

Trump told several White House aides he wanted to lead the crowd to the Capitol and indicated his supporters were right to sing about the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, all evidence that helps describe his state of mind and what he wanted to happen to the Capitol that day.

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