Newsdeck

Secret Service accused of deleting 6. Jan-related texts

US Secret Service deleted texts sought in January 6 probe, watchdog says

US Secret Service deleted texts sought in January 6 probe, watchdog says
epa10012381 A Secret Service agent stands watch as United States President Joe Biden departs the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 14 June 2022, to address the 29th AFL-CIO Quadrennial Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, PA. EPA-EFE/Chris Kleponis / POOL world rights

The US Secret Service deleted text messages after they were requested by oversight officials investigating the agency's response to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the agency watchdog has claimed.

The Secret Service disputed that accusation on Thursday, saying some phone data was lost during a routine device migration, but that all of the requested texts had been saved.

In a letter to the House of Representatives and Senate Homeland Security Committees investigating the events of 6 January 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general’s office (OIG) said “many” messages had been erased by the Secret Service with a device-replacement program after the watchdog asked for the records.

It was not clear from the letter what messages the inspector general’s office believed had been deleted or what evidence they might contain.

After the letter was published on Thursday, Bennie Thompson, who chairs both the congressional panel probing the Capitol attack and the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Axios news website the alleged deletion was “concerning”.

“If there’s a way we can reconstruct the texts or what have you, we will,” Thompson said.

The DHS did not respond to a request for comment late on Thursday.

In a lengthy statement issued in response to the accusations, a Secret Service spokesman said the agency had “fully” cooperated with the inspector general’s office.

“DHS OIG requested electronic communications for the first time on February 26, 2021, after the migration was well under way,” spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “The Secret Service notified DHS OIG of the loss of certain phones’ data, but confirmed to OIG that none of the texts it was seeking had been lost in the migration.”

Guglielmi said that despite the assertions of the inspector general’s office, its employees had been granted “appropriate and timely access” to the materials.

The attack on the US Capitol followed weeks of false claims by Trump that he won the 2020 election. On Tuesday, lawmakers of the House panel probing the attack accused Trump of inciting the violence in a last-ditch bid to remain in power after losing the election.

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    The few minutes of the Nixon tapes werr deleted when his secretary “accidently” hit the delete pedal on her dictation machine while taking a phone call, even though she needed to stretch further than her full height to do it.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.