One day before the eighth public hearing by the Jan. 6 select committee, it is revealing new details about the text messages reportedly destroyed by the U.S. Secret Service.
"The U.S. Secret Service has determined it has no new texts to provide Congress relevant to its Jan. 6 investigation, and that any other texts its agents exchanged around the time of the 2021 attack on the Capitol were purged, according to a senior official briefed on the matter," Carol Leonnig reported for The Washington Post on Tuesday. "Also, the National Archives on Tuesday sought more information on 'the potential unauthorized deletion' of agency text messages."
On Wednesday, 560 days after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, the select committee revealed that the Secret Service has begun producing documents.
"The Secret Service has begun producing records pursuant to the subpoena we issued last week and our investigators are assessing that information," the select committee announced. "We have concerns about a system migration that we have been told resulted in the erasure of Secret Service cell phone data."
"The U.S. Secret Service system migration process went forward on January 27, 2021, just three weeks after the attack on the Capitol in which the Vice President of the United States while under the protection of the Secret Service, was steps from a violent mob hunting for him," the select committee continued. "The procedure for preserving content prior to this purge appears to have been contrary to federal records retention requirements and may represent a possible violation of the Federal Records Act. The Select Committee is seeking additional Secret Service records as well."
The deletion has drawn increased scrutiny as the Secret Service runs a "state-of-the-art, 40,000 square foot" National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI).
"Irony with the missing US Secret Service texts from 5 January and 6 January 2021 is that their cyber forensics team is considered by top current and former US Attorneys as the best in the business — and if anyone could reconstruct lost texts, they could," Guardian correspondent Hugo Lowell reported.
But MSNBC legal analyst Jill Wine-Banks, who was a Watergate prosecutor before serving as the first female general counsel of the U.S. Army, had a different take than that it was ironic.
"The thing is if they are good at reconstructing lost texts, they are also good at deleting them completely from all backup devices and the cloud. Doubtful it's accidental if they can't be recovered," she argued.