Secret Service can't find missing Jan. 6 texts — and likely never will: sources
'A Secret Service Agent Listening To His Earpiece' [Shutterstock]

The U.S. Secret Service found no additional texts related to Jan. 6 to turn over to Congress after they were purged from the agency's system.

The National Archives sought additional information Tuesday on a potentially unauthorized deletion of the text messages, but the Secret Service determined there was no new data to provide, a senior law enforcement official told the Washington Post.

Secret Service officials said the deletion was the result of an agency-wide reset of staff telephones starting in mid-January 2021, shortly after the deadly U.S. Capitol riot, and many agents appear to have ignored an instruction to upload old text messages involving government business before their phones were reset.

Two sources familiar with the Secret Service communications system told the Post that the potentially valuable real-time evidence is unlikely to ever be recovered.

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The Jan. 6 select committee had issued a subpoena Friday for the phone, after-action reports and other records from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, to help resolve discrepancies in witness testimony about Donald Trump's activity on the day of the insurrection, but Department of Homeland Security inspector general Joseph Cuffari told the panel the text messages were missing.

The National Archives asked the agency Tuesday to report back within 30 days about the deletion of those messages, including a description of what had been purged and how the documentation had been lost.

Secret Service agents were with Trump during the day of the uprising, and were also with vice president Mike Pence, who went into hiding at the Capitol after pro-Trump rioters called for him to be hanged.

On June 29 a former White House staffer told the House January 6 investigation that Trump had attempted to force the Secret Service to take him to the Capitol to join his supporters on that day.

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According to Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, agents' phones were wiped as part of a planned replacement program that began before the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) first asked for the data, six weeks after the insurrection.

"The Secret Service notified DHS OIG of the loss of certain phones' data, but confirmed to OIG that none of the texts it was seeking had been lost in the migration," he said in a statement.

The Secret Service has been criticized for not adequately anticipating the threat of the violent action by armed Trump supporters on January 6.

Trump had made a senior Secret Service official at the time, Tony Ornato, his personal deputy chief of staff.

Ornato has denied the account given to the January 6 committee by former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson that Trump tried to force the Secret Service to drive him to the Capitol as his supporters massed at the building, the seat of the US legislature.

But other then White House officials have backed Hutchinson's story.


With additional reporting by AFP

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