US Secret Service

Deleted text tags found on 10 Secret Service employees’ phones: Report

A Secret Service investigation found that on January 6 10 of its personnel involved exchanged several texts on the same day as the Capitol riot, but the messages were deleted.

News exclusively by CNNcame as a bombshell for the Secret Service, which was investigating its employees after the agency was accused of not keeping records required by investigations on Jan. 6.

After the riots in the Capitol, it was The Department of Homeland Security The Inspector General (DHS) asked 24 Secret Service personnel involved to produce transcript records from approximately that day. Only one text exchange was produced, for a full 30 days (between December 7, 2020 and January 8, 2021).

Now, investigators have found that on January 6, 10 Secret Service personnel involved deleted several text messages, the content of which remains unknown.

While the identities of the 24 Secret Service employees involved have not been revealed, we know that 10 of them did not send or receive any text message in the month between December 7, 2020 and January 8, 2021, and that three others have only personal records.

NEWSWEEK Contact the Secret Service for comment.

This latest revelation adds to a peak week for the Secret Service, where the House committee on January 6 issued a subpoena for the agency and subsequently notified the Department of Homeland Security, on July 20, that a criminal investigation was underway looking into the letters. Among the secret service employees are erased.

Deleted texts become a major issue After former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the House Select Committee investigating the former president’s Capitol riots Donald Trump He tried to grab the wheel of his limousine on January 6. After Hutchinson’s testimony, Secret Service sources told various media outlets that agents were willing to testify and refute the claim.

According to the Secret Service, it is possible that messages sent around January 6 were accidentally deleted during a data migration to employees’ phones that began on January 27, 2021.

The agency said in a letter sent in 2021 that any accidental deletion of text messages would not be the Secret Service’s fault.

The Secret Service specifically said that “all Secret Service personnel are responsible for appropriately maintaining government records that may be generated via text messages” — pushing responsibility for any erased messages to individual employees rather than the agency.

However, the agency then promised to look into its employees’ phones, pull any available metadata to determine if messages had been exchanged and subsequently delete them.

That was until the Department of Homeland Security launched a criminal investigation into “the facts and circumstances surrounding the collection and preservation of evidence by the United States Secret Service in connection with the events of January 6, 2021.”

Now, the Secret Service has been asked “not to engage in any other investigative activities in connection with the collection and preservation of the evidence referred to above,” and to provide information about interviews with its personnel that have already taken place in connection with the investigation.

A key element of the Secret Service’s deleted messages investigation is timing: House committee members say they sent a request to the agency to submit any relevant documents dated Jan. 6 on Jan. 16, 2021 — days before the agency made its immigration statements.

But a Secret Service spokesperson told CNN that the agency had found no record of the message that reached them.

Deleted messages from about January 6, 2021 were found in the phones of 10 Secret Service employees. In this photo, members of the US Secret Service stand outside the Brady Briefing room as the White House is closed in Washington, DC, on August 10, 2020.
Brendan Smalofsky/AFP via Getty Images

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