In a letter to the Secret Service, Januay 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson has subpoenaed the agency for text messages from around the time of the attack on the Capitol.
The letter asks for text messages existing and for evidence of any documents relevant to purported “lost” messages in a “device replacement program” to be submitted to the committee by Tuesday, July 19.
The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, Joseph Cuffari, informed the Select Committee that he had been told text messages had been erased after he had requested the agency’s documents in a separate inquiry into the Capitol attack.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson pointed out, however, that the Secret Service said in a July 14 statement that even though the “pre-planned, three-month system migration” caused some data to be lost, “none of the texts it [DHS Office of Inspector General] was seeking had been lost in the migration.”
If some texts were erased after the initial congressional request in January 2021, that could amount to obstruction of a congressional investigation, one of the select committee’s members added on Friday.
In the briefing the committee received from the DHS inspector general, the IG reported that the Secret Service explanation of the lost communications had shifted from software upgrades to device upgrades and other issues.
The IG was optimistic that the missing messages could be reconstructed through previous back-ups of messages or tools available to federal law enforcement.