The scandal over missing Jan. 6 text messages has expanded from the Secret Service to the top of the Department of Homeland Security, according to a bombshell new report published online by The Washington Post on Thursday evening.
"Text messages for former President Donald Trump’s acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli are missing for a key period leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to four people briefed on the matter and internal emails. This discovery of missing records for the senior-most homeland security officials, which has not been previously reported, increases the volume of potential evidence that has vanished regarding the time around the Capitol attack," Carol Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti reported.
The newspaper reported. "The Department of Homeland Security notified the agency’s inspector general in late February that Wolf’'s and Cuccinelli’s texts were lost in a 'reset' of their government phones when they left their jobs in January 2021 in preparation for the new Biden administration, according to an internal record obtained by the Project on Government Oversight and shared with The Washington Post."
The Secret Service blamed a "system migration."
"The office of the department’s undersecretary of management also told the government watchdog that the text messages for its boss, undersecretary Randolph 'Tex' Alles, the former Secret Service director, were also no longer available due to a previously planned phone reset," the newspaper reported. "The office of Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari did not press the department leadership at that time to explain why they did not preserve these records, nor seek ways to recover the lost data, according to the four people briefed on the watchdog’s actions. Cuffari also failed to alert Congress to the potential destruction of government records."
The report came more than one year after the first public hearing by the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.