Secret Service employees were told as early as December 2020 that they needed to preserve their phone text messages. They were told again in January of 2022, ahead of a planned January 27 factory reset, when the Secret Service’s Office of Strategic Planning sent a reminder email with instructions on how to save the data.
After being told by Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, Joseph Cuffari that electronic communications from Jan. 5-6, 2021 were missing – the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection issued a subpoena. Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) addressed a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray on Friday:
“(“Select Committee”) hereby transmits a subpoena that compels the United States Secret Service (“USSS”) at the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to produce the documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by July 19, 2022.”
Former Assistant Deputy of the Secret Service, Gordon Heddell, told the hosts of CNN’s New Day that the agency needed to work “quickly and responsibly to avoid any further impression that it’s not fully cooperating with Congress,” and with, “trust, transparency, and accountability.”
“This is one of those times when bells and whistles and sirens go off.”
Former Assistant Director of the Secret Service Gordon Heddell reacts to news that the agency turned over only one text message relating to the inquiry into the January 6th attack on the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/dsVhg3lLu1
— New Day (@NewDay) July 20, 2022
Despite Secret Service denials, Inspector General Cuffari asserts the erasure came after the President’s protectors were put on notice. Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement, “The insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false.”
Promising full cooperation, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alexander Mayorkas doesn’t believe the deletions were intentional, saying that “The migration was planned well before January 2021.”
The explanation doesn’t explain the failure of the Secret Service to follow instructions per the December email, a second warning in January from the Office of Strategic Planning’s chief information officer – and a request from Congress 11 days before the replacement.
A month’s worth of records for 24 personnel was sought by the committee, but they only received one —one, single solitary text from then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to U.S.S.S. Division Chief Thomas Sullivan seeking backup. The National Archives has given the agency 30 days to explain themselves.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick
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