The U.S. Secret Service erased text messages from the day before and from on the day of the Capitol riot after requests from the agency looking into their response to the insurrection. CNN obtained a letter given to the Jan. 6 committee, after being sent to the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
With the Department of Homeland Security’s OIG, saying:
“First, the Department notified us that many U.S. Secret Service (USSS) text messages, from January 5 and January 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. 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.”
Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, points out to the committee that as part of their oversight, they are to have “timely” access to all records. But due to U.S. Secret Service stalling, that didn’t occur in this instance.
After public testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, former senior aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, about how Donald Trump lunged at an agent in his presidential limo and demanded to be taken to the Capitol, the American people – as well as the Select Committee – have become more interested in the secret service’s knowledge, and role, on the day of the riot.
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s attorney’s testimony before the committee – about his client’s refusal to get in a vehicle with the Secret Service after being hustled from the Capitol – has also raised questions. According to Greg Jacob, Pence was afraid they’d take him where he would be unable to certify the 2020 election results.
The Office of the Inspector General hasn’t confirmed if the text messages were deleted intentionally, but it does beg more questions as to what role the Secret Service had —if any — in aiding those who attempted the coup.
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