The January 6 committee subpoenas the secret services for the archives
Representative Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who chairs the committee, wrote in a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray on Friday that the panel was looking for Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, and reiterated three requests for previous information by Congress. committees.
“The select committee has been informed that the USSS has erased the text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021 as part of a ‘device replacement program.'” In a statement released July 14, 2022, the USSS said that she “began to factory reset her mobile phones as part of a three-month pre-planned system migration. During this process, data residing on some phones was lost.’ However, according to this statement from the USSS, ‘None of the texts it [DHS Office of Inspector General] was looking for had been lost in the migration,” Thompson wrote.
“As a result, the select committee is seeking relevant text messages, as well as all after-action reports that have been released in all USSS divisions regarding or in any way related to the events of January 6, 2021,” said he continued.
The Secret Service said Saturday morning it would respond “promptly” to the select committee’s subpoena.
Earlier Friday, Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari told the committee during a briefing that the Secret Service had not conducted its own after-action review regarding Jan. 6 and had chosen to s to support the Inspector General’s investigation, according to a source close to the Record. The Secret Service, Cuffari told the panel, did not cooperate fully with his investigation.
Thompson confirmed the inspector general’s remarks about the lack of cooperation, telling CNN, “Well, they haven’t fully cooperated” and that the panel has “had limited engagement with the Secret Service.”
“We will follow up with further engagement now that we have met with the IG,” he said, adding that the panel would work “to try to determine if these texts can be resurrected.”
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement on Saturday that the agency had provided “full and unwavering cooperation” with the work of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection “and it doesn’t change.”
The agency made special agents available for testimony and turned over nearly 800,000 emails, radio transmissions and operational and planning records, according to Guglielmi.
The letter, which was originally sent to the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, said the messages were wiped from the system as part of a program to replacing devices after the watchdog asked the agency for records related to its electronic communications.
“First, the Department has informed us that numerous United States Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021 have been erased as part of a device replacement program. The USSS has erased these text messages after the OIG requested records of electronic communications from the USSS, as part of our assessment of the events at the Capitol on January 6,” Cuffari said in the letter.
“Second, DHS staff repeatedly told OIG inspectors that they were not authorized to provide records directly to the OIG and that those records must first be reviewed by DHS attorneys. “, added Cuffari. “This review caused delays of several weeks for the OIG to obtain records and created confusion as to whether all records had been produced.”
A DHS official provided CNN with a timeline of when the IG was notified by the Secret Service of the missing information caused by the data transfer. In a statement late Thursday, the Secret Service said the IG first requested information on Feb. 26, 2021, but it did not say when the agency acknowledged the issue.
According to the DHS official, the Secret Service notified the IG of the migration issue multiple times, beginning May 4, 2021, then again on December 14, 2021, and in February 2022.
In a statement late Thursday, the Secret Service said the Inspector General’s allegation of a lack of cooperation was “neither correct nor new.”
“To the contrary, DHS OIG has previously alleged that its employees failed to obtain proper and timely access to documents due to an attorney’s review. DHS has repeatedly and publicly denied this allegation, including in response to the OIG’s last two semi-annual reports to Congress. It is unclear why the OIG is raising this issue again,” the statement said.
Members of the January 6 committee expressed concern after their meeting with Cuffari about the different version of events between the Inspector General and the Secret Service and stressed that they wanted to hear from the agency itself.
“Now that we have the IG’s perspective on what happened. Now we need to speak to the Secret Service. And we hope to contact them directly,” Thompson said at the time. “One of the things we need to make sure is that what the Secret Service is saying and what the IG is saying, that those two issues are actually one and the same thing. And now that we have it , we will request the physical information.And we will make a decision ourselves.
This story was updated with additional details on Saturday.
CNN’s Jamie Gangel, Whitney Wild, Priscilla Alvarez and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.