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The Secret Service deleted messages from January 5 and 6, 2021

The Secret Service deleted messages from January 5 and 6, 2021

(CNN) — The US Secret Service (USSS) deleted text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, shortly after they were requested by oversight officials investigating the agency’s response to the US Capitol riots, according to a letter provided to a House Select Committee. Investigate the Rebellion and obtained by CNN.

LetterIt was originally sent to the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees by the Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general, after the agency asked for records related to the surveillance agency, which says the messages were deleted from the computer as part of a device replacement program. His electronic communication.

“First, the Department informed us that several United States Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, were deleted as part of a device replacement program. The USSS deleted those text messages after a request from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The events on Capitol Hill on January 6 Electronic communications records from the USSS were part of the review,” according to the letter from DHS Inspector General Joseph Gaffari.

“Second, DHS staff have repeatedly told OIG inspectors that they are not allowed to provide records directly to the OIG and that those records must first go to a DHS attorney for review,” Cuffari added. “This review led to several weeks of delays in receiving records from the OIG and created confusion as to whether all records had been provided.”

interception DHS first reported the letter from the inspector general.

The U.S. Secret Service and Homeland Security inspector general did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

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House Homeland Security and Jan. Mississippi Democrat Rep. Penny Thompson acknowledged in a statement Thursday night that the group had received the letter.

“The Homeland Security Commission received a letter from the DHS inspector general regarding the Secret Service’s deletion of text messages requested by the inspector general’s office as part of its investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill,” Thompson said. “The Commission will be informed of this regarding destruction of records and will respond accordingly.”

While the letter did not say whether the DHS watchdog believes the text messages were deleted intentionally or for nefarious reasons, the incident raises questions about the Secret Service’s response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The Secret Service has been at a crossroads since witnesses described former President Donald Trump angrily demanding to be escorted to the Capitol shortly before rioters stormed the Capitol after his speech on the White House Ellipse.

A former adviser to then-Vice President Mike Pence also mentioned the Secret Service in his testimony. Greg Jacobs, a former adviser to Pence, told the panel that after being escorted off Capitol Hill, Pence refused to get into the vice presidential vehicle, the driver of which prevented him from certifying the election results while escorting him to safety.

More than a year after the riots, the Homeland Security Inspector General’s review of the Secret Service and its performance is underway on January 6.

— Whitney Wild and Hannah Rabinowitz contributed to this report.