The Secret Service has presented just a single text message to the Jan. 6 House Committee following a subpoena that requires the production of all communication the day before and the day of the Capitol attacks, according to a letter obtained by multiple outlets.
The request was made by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General Joseph Cuffari on Friday night, with the committee being brief on the matter shortly before the issuing.
The singular text message was given to the committee Tuesday, the deadline of the subpoena that could be crucial in helping to piece together how government leaders and agents acted during the violent riot that shook the country to its core.
According to Secret Service Assistant Director Ronald Rowe, the text message is from a conversation between former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to former Secret Service Uniformed Division Chief Thomas Sullivan, who was “requesting assistance” on Jan. 6.
Speaking to MSNBC, California Rep. Zoe Lofgren — a member of the committee — said she hadn’t seen the lone message yet, but that they will be “pursuing more information as a committee soon.”
In addition to the singular piece of evidence, the Secret Services also failed to present their diligence in the matter. “In their letter they gave no indication that they have secured the phones in question and done some forensic work with them. That’s something we want to know,” Lofgren said.
“This obviously… doesn’t look good. Coincidences can happen but we really need to get to the bottom of this and get a lot more information than we have currently.”
It’s the latest lack of cooperation by the Secret Service, which has repeatedly dodged multiple requests for electronic communication. According to CNN, Cuffari had asked for the messages of 24 Secret Service personnel in June of last year, while a second request from several committee members came in March.
The agency explained it was up to personnel to preserve records on their phones, and claimed messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 of 2021 were erased as part of a pre-planned, three-month “device-replacement program” that began on Jan. 27, 2021.
Though the Secret Service said it was working to see if any relevant communication was lost in the replacement program, it is “currently unaware of text messages issued by Secret Service employees” requested by the DHS that “were not retained.”
A CNN report shows Congress informed the Secret Service of the need to preserve and later produce records relating to the Jan. 6 attacks on Jan. 16, 2021, and again on Jan. 25, 2021, two days before the phone migration began.
The lack of records, mixed with the untimely reasons why such data would be unavailable, has led to Cuffari suggesting to the committee that the Secret Service purposely deleted the messages following the request.
In a response, Secret Service Chief of Communications Anthony Guglielmi called the accusation of the agency “maliciously [deleting] text messages following a request” as “false.”
Guglielmi also stated the agency has been “fully cooperative” with the DHS’ requests — “whether it be interviews, documents, emails, or texts.” “We are taking all feasible steps to identify records responsive to the subpoena, to include forensic examinations of agency phones and other investigative techniques.”
Andrew Rhoades is a Contributing Reporter at The National Digest based in New York. A Saint Joseph’s University graduate, Rhoades’ reporting includes sports, U.S., and entertainment. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.