Secret Service identified potential missing text messages on the phones of 10 individuals: According to two people who spoke to CNN, investigators from the Secret Service were looking through the mobile devices of ten members of the Secret Service because those devices included information that indicated text conversations had been made and received around January 6, 2021, but were not saved.
The investigation was initiated when the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security made a request for the text record histories of twenty-four employees working for the Secret Service who were involved in the events of January 6, but only one text was produced. This month, after the matter became public knowledge, the inspector general opened a criminal investigation into the matter, and lawmakers demanded answers from the Secret Service to go back and figure out what happened to the texts that may have been deleted. The texts in question may have been deleted because the matter became public knowledge.
However, the Secret Service’s internal investigation came to a halt after the DHS inspector general informed the agency on July 20 that there was an ongoing criminal investigation and directed the Secret Service to stop its own probe. The letter informed the agency that there was an ongoing criminal investigation.
According to the sources, the investigators were attempting to identify whether or not the substance of the text messages received by the 10 individuals had relevant information that should have been saved. According to the sources, ten of the other twenty-four Secret Service agents who are being investigated do not have any text messages, and three of them have only personal data.
The details of the investigation into the messages sent by 10 members of the Secret Service bring to a close an extraordinary week of upheaval for the agency. The week began with the inspector general demanding answers about potentially lost texts, which was followed by a subpoena from Congress and a criminal investigation into the matter. The week’s events were capped off by the details of the investigation into the messages sent by 10 members of the
It’s possible that the in question text messages were erased when the government began migrating data off of phones on January 27, 2021, and that’s why this came up. According to a letter that the Secret Service sent to the House select committee that is investigating the insurrection, which has also requested messages from the Secret Service around January 6, the inspector general requested records from the 24 personnel in June 2021, which was more than two months after the migration had been finished.
Members of the House select committee have emphasized their belief that the agency should have done more to preserve records prior to the migration. These members have cited a letter sent on January 16, 2021, from congressional committees to multiple agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, instructing those agencies to preserve records related to January 6.
The chief of the intelligence and analytic office, Joe Maher, was asked in an addendum to that letter to circulate that request around appropriate DHS components, which in theory might include the Secret Service.
According to Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Secret Service, the agency conducted an eight-hour scan on Thursday of several internal message systems in an effort to determine whether or not the request dated January 16 was delivered to the Secret Service. Guglielmi made this statement to CNN. According to what he said, the Secret Service was never in possession of any record of such a letter.
CNN was told by a source familiar with the situation that Robert Engel and Tim Giebels, the former heads of the details for former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, respectively, are among the 24 personnel whose text messages have been requested for review by the inspector general. It is unknown whether Engel and Giebels are among the 10 individuals whose phones contained metadata displaying text messages. It is possible that both of them have a phone with this capability.
CNN’s efforts for comment from Engel and Giebels were not met with a response.
Before receiving the letter from the inspector general this week, the Secret Service had informed a committee of the House on January 6 that it was engaged in “extensive efforts” to determine whether or not any messages had been lost and whether or not they could be recovered. These “extensive efforts” included pulling metadata and interviewing the 24 agency personnel.