January 6 Committee Subpoenas Secret Service in Search for Deleted Texts

The congressional committee investigating The attack on the United States Capitol, January 6, 2021, subpoenaed U.S. Secret Service Friday night as the panel attempts recovery of text messages that were deleted soon after oversight officials requested them.

“The committee is absolutely determined to get to the bottom of this and to find all of the missing texts,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the panel, told reporters Friday. “They are missing, but in the age of high technology, we should not give up.”

In a letter to United States Secret Service (USSS) Director James Murray, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote that the House committee “has been informed that the USSS erased text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021 as part of a ‘device-replacement program.’”

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) had requested Secret Service electronic communications records as part of an assessment of the deadly insurrection by supporters of then-President Donald Trump and his “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen.”

In a Wednesday letter, the DHS OIG revealed that Secret Service officials deleted the messages “After OIG requested records of electronic communications.”

Thompson’s letter continued:

In a statement issued July 14, 2022, the USSS stated that it “began to reset its mobile phones to factory settings as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration. In that process, data resident on some phones was lost.”

However, according to that USSS statement, “none of the texts it [DHS Office of Inspector General] was seeking had been lost in the migration.”

The Select Committee requests the relevant text messages as well as any after-action reports issued by any divisions of USSS in relation to the events on January 6, 2021.

The congressional panel believes that the deleted texts could provide insight into the actions Secret Service agents and possibly Trump on the day that the Capitol was stormed.

Thompson told reporters Friday that Secret Service agents “were positioned to secure the vice president [and] the president, and we just need to know all the available information from all the sources as to what happened.”

The committee chair added that the panel is attempting to “ascertain if those texts can be resurrected.”