The National Archives ask the secret services to probe the deleted texts

WASHINGTON — The National Archives on Tuesday asked the Secret Service to investigate “the potential unauthorized deletion” of agency text messages sent and received around the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The Secret Service has come under intense scrutiny after it emerged last week that text messages sent at the time of the Capitol attack may have been deleted. In response, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 investigation issued a subpoena for the messages and other related materials.

The Secret Service said all procedures were followed and pledged “full cooperation” with the archival review.

“The US Secret Service respects and supports the important role of the National Archives and Records Administration in ensuring the preservation of government records,” agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

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The deletion of the posts raised the prospect of lost evidence that could shed more light on then-President Donald Trump’s actions during the insurgency, particularly after testimony about his confrontation with security as he attempted to join supporters at the Capitol.

The National Archives, which is responsible for maintaining government records, has asked the Secret Service to investigate the possible deletion of the messages and report back within 30 days.

“Through multiple sources of information, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has become aware of the potential unauthorized deletion of United States Secret Service (Secret Service) text messages,” said Laurence Brewer, Head of Records. archives for the United States. letter to the Department of Homeland Security.

If text messages are determined to have been deleted, the agency must detail the records that were affected, a statement of the reason for deletion, a plan to establish safeguards to prevent future loss, and “details of all actions taken by the agency to salvage, recover, or reconstruct the records,” the letter read.

The potential loss of the records was first revealed last week when the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s Office, in a letter obtained by The Associated Press, told lawmakers that Secret Service messages between January 5 and 6, 2021 were erased “as part of a device replacement program”.

The watchdog said the posts were deleted after they were requested as part of an investigation into the January 6 attack.

The Secret Service responded by telling AP that “the insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages as a result of a request is false.”

“In fact, the Secret Service cooperated fully with the OIG in all respects, whether it was interviews, documents, emails or text messages,” the Secret Service spokesman said. , Guglielmi.

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He said the Secret Service began factory resetting mobile devices in January 2021 “as part of a three-month pre-planned system migration”. In this process, some data was lost.

The nine-member House Jan. 6 panel recently showed renewed interest in the Secret Service following dramatic testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson about Trump’s actions on the day of the insurrection.

Also on Tuesday, Guglielmi said the agency sent an initial set of documents and filings to congressional investigators, but it’s unclear whether that meets the requirements of the committee’s subpoena.

A Jan. 6 request for comment from the committee was not immediately returned.

Associated Press Editor mike balsamo contributed to this report.

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