A watchdog says the U.S. Secret Service deleted many of the text messages sent during a two-day period surrounding the January 6 attack. The inspector general, who oversees the agency, told Congress that the messages were deleted after his office asked for the texts.
This comes after recent testimony before the January 6 panel in which a witness raised new questions about the Secret Service’s role on the day of the deadly siege.
he inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security – this includes the Secret Service – wrote a letter to Congress this week detailing that they had requested these text messages for that two-day period, as you mentioned, on January 5 and January 6 of last year.
However, this inspector general, Joseph Cuffari, said the department notified them that, quote, “many of these Secret Service messages were erased as part of a device replacement program.” Cuffari noted in this letter, which was sent both to the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees yesterday, that the messages were deleted after the watchdog had requested records of electronic communications from the Secret Service.
This was part of the watchdog agency’s own evaluation of the events of January 6.
“The Department notified us that many US Secret Service (USSS) text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021, were erased as part of a device replacement program,” Cuffari wrote in the letter first reported by The Intercept and later published by Politico.
In addition, he said, the department has stalled on providing other records to the OIG.
He said the agents’ phones were being wiped as part of a planned replacement program that began before the OIG requested the information six weeks after the insurrection.
Cuffari’s letter was addressed to the leaders of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committees.
Their investigation has sought to show that Trump knowingly incited the insurrection as an attempted “coup.”