Secret Service Busted Scrubbing Texts After Watchdog Group Asked For Them

A leading watchdog organization has accused the US Secret Service of deleting text communications from January 5 and 6, 2021, after they were sought by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, alarming the US House Committee on January 6th.

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The organization categorically denies the accusations that the agency destroyed text messages, alleging that the loss of data was due to a “phone reset.”

The Committee received contradictory evidence on the Secret Service’s actions that day and instructed the agency to “preserve its records.”

Chief of Communications for the Secret Service, Anthony Guglielmi, made a strongly worded statement on Thursday refuting the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) charges.

Wednesday, DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari stated in a letter to Congress that several text communications from January 5 and 6, 2021 were erased despite an OIG request.

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, which is the parent agency of the Secret Service, had requested electronic communications records as part of its evaluation of the events of January 6, when Capitol visitors met with lawmakers to certify Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

According to OIG, the Secret Service first said the texts were lost as part of a “device-replacement” program, but the agency released a statement late Thursday disputing that the texts OIG requested had been lost.

According to the declaration:

“The assertion that the Secret Service erased text communications intentionally in response to a request is untrue. In reality, the Secret Service has been collaborating with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) in every way, including interviews, documents, emails, and text messages.

First, the Secret Service began resetting its mobile phones to factory settings in January 2021, three months before to any OIG investigation into this matter, as part of a pre-planned system transfer. During this procedure, some phones’ data were lost.

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The DHS OIG initially sought electronic communications on February 26, 2021, shortly after the migration had begun. The Secret Service informed the DHS OIG about the loss of data from specific phones, but confirmed to the OIG that none of the texts it was seeking were lost during the transfer.

Second, DHS OIG’s allegation regarding DHS’s cooperation with its investigation is neither correct nor new. To the contrary, DHS OIG has previously alleged that its employees were not granted appropriate and timely access to materials due to attorney review. DHS has repeatedly and publicly debunked this allegation, including in response to OIG’s last two semi-annual reports to Congress. It is unclear why OIG is raising this issue again.”

The statement went on: “DHS OIG’s allegation regarding DHS’s cooperation with its investigation is neither correct nor new. To the contrary, DHS OIG has previously alleged that its employees were not granted appropriate and timely access to materials due to attorney review.”

“DHS has repeatedly and publicly debunked this allegation, including in response to OIG’s last two semi-annual reports to Congress. It is unclear why OIG is raising this issue again,” the agency concluded.

In his letter, Cuffari had written that “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.”

“This review led to weeks-long delays in OIG obtaining records and created confusion over whether all records had been produced,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Guglielmi responded to a report about OIG’s claims on Twitter, writing: “We take strong issue with these categorically false claims and I will be responding in detail shortly.”

“OIG’s allegations come amid the ongoing House of Representatives’ Select Committee investigating January 6 and questions about the actions of certain Secret Service agents as well as concerns about the agency’s ties to former President Donald Trump,” MSN reported.

Jeff Miller a correspondent for MSNBC said about the matter:

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“It’s very serious; it’s obviously completely indefensible by the Secret Service. I mean, remember that the Secret Service in addition to protecting the president and other dignitaries is also a law enforcement agency that conducts investigations and demands that subjects under investigation turn over emails and other documents. So if there’s anyone you ought to expect to honor a document preservation request. It is a law enforcement agency. Now, we don’t know whether it was a deliberate action or whether it was accidental, whether it was part of some, you know, plan to migrate devices is this
the service appears to be saying.

The Secret Service was put on notice that the committee was investigating and wanted to access these records and they should have preserved them. And I think it’s the latest in a series of actions from an In see that just shows that despite all the men and women there who do Really Brave and incredible work. It’s an agency with a deeply flawed culture at this point. Yeah. And I need you to talk to me about the agency. What is this story tell you?

So yes, as not just said, it could be a coincidence. It could also be a coincidence that both Jim Comey and his top, deputies, records were chosen for audit by the IRS. But there is a broader pattern here, particularly within the Secret Service. As Matt also just said that is as representative Raskin said quite chilling. Those words that the vice president has spoken, I will not get into that car, I’m paraphrasing a bit because he was concerned that the Secret Service and whisk him off and not allow him to perform his duties as counting the electoral votes.”