Gone for good? Secret service has no text messages to offer Jan. 6 committee, National Archives is looking into it

Jennie Taer, DCNF

The U.S. Secret Service wasn’t able to turn over text messages to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to The Washington Post, citing a senior official briefed on the situation.

The agency is expected to share the news with the committee on Friday in response to its subpoena, the Post reported. The information provided will be mostly comprised of previous disclosures that won’t add new information, the senior official said.

The deleted text messages were sent on Jan. 5 and 6, according to a letter the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s (DHS OIG) office sent to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The messages were deleted after the DHS OIG requested them, according to CNN, which obtained the letter that was sent to both the Senate and House Homeland Security committees.

“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, according to CNN.

“Second, DHS personnel have repeatedly told OIG inspectors that they were not permitted to provide records directly to OIG and that such records had to first undergo review by DHS attorneys. This review led to weeks-long delays in OIG obtaining records and created confusion over whether all records had been produced,” the letter added.

The National Archives is looking into “the potential unauthorized deletion” of the text messages and is giving the Secret Service a deadline of 30 days, according to the Post.

Neither the Secret Service nor the committee responded to the DCNF’s requests for comment. The National Archives also didn’t respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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