News World US Secret Service accused of erasing agents’ January 6 txt messages

Secret Service accused of erasing agents’ January 6 txt messages

Donald Trump January 6
Donald Trump whips up his followers minutes before the howling mob swept over Capitol Hill. Photo: Getty
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The US congressional panel probing the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol has subpoenaed the Secret Service as it investigates accusations by a watchdog that the agency erased text messages sought as evidence.

“The select committee seeks the relevant text messages, as well as any after-action reports that have been issued in any and all divisions of the USSS pertaining or relating in any way to the events of January 6, 2021,” committee chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement.

The watchdog, inspector-general Joseph Cuffari, on Friday met the House of Representatives panel behind closed doors after accusing the Secret Service of deleting “many” text messages.

“We now need to talk to the Secret Service … Our expectation is to reach out to them,” Thompson told CNN.

Committee member Jamie Raskin told reporters on Friday the panel was determined to retrieve text messages from January 5 and January 6, 2021, that were allegedly deleted.

The Department of Homeland Security inspector-general’s office sent a letter to lawmakers on Wednesday, saying “many” messages had been erased by the Secret Service with a device-replacement program after the watchdog asked for the records.

‘Routine’ cleaning of files

The Secret Service disputed that accusation on Thursday, saying some phone data was lost during a routine device migration, but all the requested texts had been saved.

“A ‘routine’ cleaning of files will require a process so we want to see what that process is,” Thompson said on Friday.

It was not clear from the letter what messages the inspector-general’s office believed had been deleted or what evidence they might contain.

The January 6, 2021, invasion of the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump followed weeks of claims by the former president that he won the 2020 election.