Secret Service investigators have identified 10 agents whose phones show use around Jan. 6, 2021. Metadata on the devices belonging to the security officers confirm that text messages were both sent and received.
An investigation by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General led the agency to 24 Secret Service agents who were working on the day of the Capitol riot – including Trump’s head of security Robert Engel and then-Vice President Mike Pence’s head of security – Tim Giebels.
The most recent televised hearing featured the agency’s radio excerpts from that violent day that detailed the movements of those trying to get the Vice President safely out of the Capitol – and provided an inside look at just how chaotic and frightening the Capitol breach truly was.
In February 2021, DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari requested records — including text messages — from the two dozen personnel with intimate knowledge of what happened that day.
Cuffari was told the data was deleted during a data migration on January 27, 2021 – a month before the request from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
It was recently reported that emails were sent out to Secret Service employees in December 2020 telling personnel to preserve data and including instructions on how to do so. Another email was sent in January with the same instructions.
Congress first asked the Secret Service for records and text messages just 10 days after the insurrection.
In a letter sent to multiple agencies on Jan. 16, 2021, the House Select Committee instructed that electronic records related to Jan. 6 be preserved. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, and the Secret Service were sent a copy.
According to CNN, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that after a detailed eight-hour search, “No record of that letter ever reached the Secret Service.”
On July 20, the Department of Homeland Security OIG sent a letter instructing the U.S. Secret Service to cease its internal investigation. In the letter, addressed to Secret Service Director James Murray, Deputy Inspector General Gladys Ayala wrote,
“This is to notify you that the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has an ongoing investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the collection and preservation of evidence by the United States Secret Service as it relates to the events of January 6, 2021.”
The DHS investigation is now a criminal probe.
Only one text message has been retrieved out of all those requested. The discovery of metadata confirming the existence of electronic communications on that day leaves more questions than answers, casting a greater suspicion on an agency once considered above reproach.
Hopefully, everyone of these 10 agents will be subpoenaed and forced to testify under oath as to what those missing texts actually said and what really happened on January 6th, 2021.
Original reporting by Whitney Wild and Jeremy Herb at CNN.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick