The United States Secret Service is in yet another scandal over its performance during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"The Secret Service erased text messages from January 5 and January 6, 2021, according to a letter given to the January 6 committee and reviewed by The Intercept. The letter was originally sent by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General to the House and Senate homeland security committees. Though the Secret Service maintains that the text messages were lost as a result of a 'device-replacement program,' the letter says the erasure took place shortly after oversight officials requested the agency’s electronic communications," The Intercept reported Thursday.
Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Trump scuffled with Secret Service agents as he sought to join his MAGA crowd's riot.
"The Department of Homeland Security — Secret Service’s parent agency — is subject to oversight of the DHS Office of Inspector General, which had requested records of electronic communications from the Secret Service between January 5 and 6 of 2021, before being informed that they had been erased. It is unclear from the letter whether all of the messages were deleted, or just some. DHS officials have also pushed back on the OIG’s records request by arguing that the records must first undergo review by DHS attorneys, which has delayed the process and left unclear if the Secret Service records would ever be produced, according to the letter," The Intercept reported.
The established timeline shows the messages were deleted after the request to produce documents.
"A top Secret Service official allegedly involved in the attempt to spirit away Pence on January 6 remains in a leadership position at the agency. Tony Ornato, a Secret Service agent whom Trump made the unprecedented decision to appoint as his deputy White House Chief of Staff, reportedly informed Pence’s national security advisor, Keith Kellogg, on January 6 that agents would relocate the Vice President to Joint Base Andrews," The Intercept reported. "Today, Ornato serves as Assistant Director at the Secret Service’s Office of Training."
CNN confirmed the report.
\u201cNew: Secret Service erased texts from Jan. 5 & 6, 2021 shortly after they were requested by watchdog investigating agency's response to US Capitol riot, per letter obtained by CNN.\n\n1/6 committee has the letter from DHS IG. Confirming @kenklippenstein w/ @ryanobles & @jamiegangel\u201d— Zachary Cohen (@Zachary Cohen) 1657830233
\u201cA spokesperson for the House Homeland Security Committee, which is chaired by @BennieGThompson, confirms to CNN that the panel received the DHS IG letter & will be briefed.\n\nThompson also chairs the 1/6 committee. \n\nhttps://t.co/1aM1fWYJvL\u201d— Zachary Cohen (@Zachary Cohen) 1657830233