The erasure is sure to raise new questions for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, which has renewed interest in the Secret Service.
WASHINGTON — Secret Service agents have deleted text messages sent and received around January 6, 2021. attack on the US Capitol even after the inspector general requested them as part of the insurgency investigation, government surveillance was instituted.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General said in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that the messages were removed between January 5 and 6, 2021 “as part of a device replacement program.” The deletion came after the watchdog’s office requested records of electronic communications between agents as part of its investigation into the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack.
In addition, Homeland Security officials were told they could not provide records to the inspector general and any such records would first have to be reviewed by DHS attorneys.
“This review led to weeks of delays in receiving OIG documents and created confusion as to whether all records were produced,” said the letter, dated Wednesday and sent to the heads of the House and Senate Homeland Security committees.
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said: “We are taking these patently false claims seriously and I will be responding in detail shortly.”
Erasing messages will definitely raise new questions for Home panel investigation into the January 6 attack, which has rekindled the Secret Service’s interest since that dramatic event Testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson about the actions of former President Donald Trump on the day of the uprising.
Hutchinson recalled being told of a standoff between Trump and his Secret Service agents when he angrily demanded to be driven to the Capitol, where his supporters would later infiltrate the building. She also recalled hearing Trump order security officers to remove the magnetometers for his rally on the Ellipse, even though some of his supporters were armed.
However, this account was quickly disputed by these agents. Robert Engel, the agent who drove the presidential SUV, and Trump security guard Tony Arnato are prepared to testify under oath that neither agent was assaulted and that Trump never swerved behind the wheel, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The man did not want to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The first to report the deletion of text messages Interception.