Politics

DHS watchdog knew of Secret Service’s deleted texts, declined to publish draft report detailing ‘erased’ messages

Investigators who work with the Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog were prepared to release a report on the Secret Service for blocking their probe into the January 6 riots and also for having “wiped” text messages sent on the day of the riot.

However, the report which painted the Secret Service in a bad light for “not communicating this highly relevant information,” never made it into a semi-annual report released in June.

According to The Hill, had this report been released, it would have detailed missing texts a month before Inspector General Joseph Cuffari notified Congress that Secret Service “erased” its text messages.

The document was obtained by the Project on Government Oversight and was then shared alongside another and showed the language was given the go-ahead in April by the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) legal counsel. The reasons for the negative language towards the Secret Service not making it to June’s semi-annual report are not yet known.

The draft also shows OIG was not going to pull any punches about the Secret Service.

“On Feb. 23, 2022 — more than two months after the OIG renewed its requests for select Secret Service employees’ text messages — Secret Service claimed an inability to extract text message content due to an April 2021 mobile phone system migration, which wiped all data,” the draft document stated, per CNN.

“Secret Service caused significant delays by not communicating this highly relevant information at the outset of its exchanges with OIG during this reporting period. Moreover, Secret Service has not explained why it did not preserve the texts prior to the migration.”

The draft language also goes into detail about the watchdog’s confusion over Secret Service’s decision to refuse to hand over any documents before they are reviewed by DHS lawyers.

“Secret Service interviewees regularly indicate they will not provide documents directly to OIG without the documents first going through an internal review. Secret Service implemented this process without stating any authority supporting delaying or withholding information from OIG,” the draft states.

“This practice leaves unclear whether OIG has received the full spectrum of requested documents. The practice continues despite multiple previous discussions between OIG and the Secret Service for withholding information under the IG Act.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE 

PHOTO CREDITS: YAHOO NEWS

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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