Committee Subpoenas Secret Service Over Text Messages

Agency says it will answer Jan. 6 panel quickly
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2022 7:50 PM CDT
Updated Jul 16, 2022 1:35 PM CDT
Watchdog: Secret Service Deleted Texts Sought by Jan. 6 Committee
A member of the Secret Service stands guard outside Marine One, with President Biden aboard, on the White House lawn last week.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Update: The House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol has issued a subpoena for Secret Service text messages sent on Jan. 5 and 6, 2021. The committee had been told Thursday that the agency deleted the records. Democratic Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote the Secret Service that the committee wants all reports and texts relevant to the attack, the Washington Post reports. It's the first subpoena the committee has issued to an agency in the executive branch. The Secret Service said it will continue to cooperate and will respond quickly to the subpoena, per the AP. Thompson said he wants the material by Tuesday. Our original story from Thursday follows:

The Secret Service deleted text messages requested by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, the panel was told Thursday, before they could be turned over. The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security included the finding in a letter Thursday, the Hill reports; the Secret Service is part of DHS. Joseph Cuffari said the texts were "erased as part of a device-replacement program," but he added that that happened after his office formally asked for the electronic communication for the investigation, per Axios.

The texts requested were sent Jan. 5, as well as the day of the riot. Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, said he hasn't been told who erased the messages. "If there’s a way we can reconstruct the text … we will," Thompson said. The inspector general's letter also said DHS staff members have insisted that all records be reviewed by the department's lawyers before they're turned over, which Cuffari said has caused confusion and "weeks-long delays." (More Jan. 6 hearings stories.)

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