The US Secret Service deleted texts that were searched for in the investigation on January 6, the watchdog says

The House Select Committee, which is investigating the January 6 attack led by Representative Representative Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Swears by witnesses during the seventh public hearing of the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, July 12, 2022. Doug Mills / Pool via REUTERS

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WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) – The U.S. intelligence service deleted text messages from January 5 and January 6, 2021, after being requested by regulators investigating the agency’s response to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the agency’s watchdog. claimed.

The Secret Service disputed this charge on Thursday, saying that some phone data was lost during a routine device migration, but that all the requested texts had been saved.

In a letter to the House of Representatives and the Senate Homeland Security Committee investigating the events of January 6, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General’s Office (OIG) said “many” messages had been deleted by the Secret Service with a unit replacement program after the watchdog asked for the records.

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It was not clear from the letter which notices the Inspector General’s Office thought had been deleted or what evidence they might contain.

After the letter was published on Thursday, Bennie Thompson, chair of both the congressional panel investigating the Capitol attack and the House Homeland Security Committee, told the news site Axios that the alleged deletion was “worrying”.

“If there’s a way we can reconstruct the lyrics, or whatever you have, then we do it,” Thompson said.

DHS did not respond to a request for comment late Thursday.

In a lengthy statement issued in response to the allegations, a spokesman for the Secret Service said the agency had “fully” cooperated with the inspector general’s office.

“DHS OIG requested electronic communications for the first time on February 26, 2021, after the migration was well underway,” said spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. “The Secret Service notified DHS OIG of the loss of certain phones’ data, but confirmed to OIG that none of the texts it was searching for had been lost during the migration.”

Guglielmi said that despite the allegations made by the Inspector General’s office, its staff had been given “appropriate and timely access” to the materials.

The January 6, 2021 attack on the US capital followed weeks of false claims by Trump that he won the 2020 election. On Tuesday, lawmakers from the House of Representatives panel investigating the attack accused Trump of inciting violence in a last-ditch attempt to remain by power after losing the election. Read more

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Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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