WASHINGTON, D.C. — It was revealed on Tuesday evening that the U.S. Secret Service turned over a single text message from what their agents exchanged on Jan. 5 and 6.
Ahead of a data migration, the Secret Service received four requests from congressional committees to preserve records on Jan. 16, but on Jan. 25 they moved through a migration process anyway, despite knowing the data wasn't backed up to comply with the subpoenas.
"It's still a mystery to me, but I smell a rat," Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told reporters on Wednesday on Capitol Hill. "That seems like an awfully strange coincidence for all of those text messages to be vanished into oblivion on two days when there was also the worst violent insurrection after the Civil War."
What isn't currently clear is if the Secret Service also has no texts or communications from Jan. 4, 7, 8 or other days in Jan. 2021.
Former White House photographer Pete Souza explained that due to the Presidential Records Act, it didn't matter if someone deleted something from their device that all emails and texts were automatically backed up to the system. He asked if the Department of Homeland Security has an exception and if so, why.
Speaking to MSNBC on Wednesday, Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig revealed "there are a lot of techies out there who think they can recreate their records, but stay tuned. We'll see."
Former Watergate Prosecutor Jill Wine Banks noted, responding to reporter Hugo Lowell's piece at The Guardian, that the Secret Service is good at reconstructing lost text messages then which likely means "they are also good at deleting them completely from all backup devices and the cloud. Doubtful it's accidental if they can be recovered."
Under its umbrella, the Secret Service operates The National Computer Forensics Institute, which calls itself an "innovative facility is the nation’s premier law enforcement training facility in cyber and electronic crime forensics." Their site says that they are there to "educate state, local, tribal, territorial law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges in the continually evolving cyber and electronic crime related threats, and educate, train and equip them with the tools necessary for forensic examinations to combat those crimes."
When asked if she thinks there are more text messages that the Secret Service can find, House Select Committee member, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), simply told Raw Story, "We'll find out."