Jul 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DHS watchdog launches criminal probe into deleted Secret Service texts

Photo of a Secret Service agent wearing a vest

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security's agency watchdog has launched a criminal investigation into the erasure of Secret Service messages that may have contained evidence about key events related to the Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: The Secret Service may have violated a federal recordkeeping law if it did in fact erase the texts; the agency has denied "maliciously" deleting messages and said they were lost in an update to mobile devices.

What they're saying: U.S. Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi confirmed that the agency has received notification of the investigation from the DHS inspector general's office.

  • "We have informed the January 6th Select Committee of the Inspector General’s request and will conduct a thorough legal review to ensure we are fully cooperative with all oversight efforts and that they do not conflict with each other," Guglielmi said in a statement.

The big picture: The Jan. 6 select committee recently subpoenaed the Secret Service requesting records. The National Archives has also asked the agency to provide additional information on the messages that were deleted and how it happened.

  • It was not immediately clear how the watchdog's probe would impact the Secret Service's cooperation with the select committee and the National Archives.
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