According to a member of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, the Secret Service acknowledged text messages sought out by Congress and federal investigators were deleted. The acknowledgement came in the form of a letter released Tuesday.
“The Secret Service adamantly denied they were stonewalling the inspector general or that the text messages were lost,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) told MSNBC Tuesday. “When we subpoenaed those text messages, we have now received additional information, it just basically leaves us with a lot more questions.”
The Secret Service has turned over thousands of documents to the Jan. 6 committee, but the deleted text messages from personnel the day of and the day before Jan. 6 are still missing.
The Secret Service was subpoenaed last week. The agency was supposed to turn over a month’s worth of phone records for 24 personnel members.
The agency was only able to produce one text exchange. In response, the National Archives, the agency responsible for maintaining federal records, called for an investigation.
“Through several news sources, the National Archives and Records Administration has become aware of the potential unauthorized deletion of United States Secret Service text messages,” Laurence Brewer, the chief record keeper for the U.S., said in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security.
A Secret Service official says there was a phone migration and in that process, data was wiped from devices. Jan. 27 is the day the phone migration took place. The agency was asked Jan. 16 and again on Jan. 25 to preserve all records surrounding Jan. 6.
“Nobody along the way stopped and thought, ‘Well, maybe we shouldn’t do the migration of data and of the devices until we are able to fulfill these four requests from Congress,’” Rep. Murphy said.
The Secret Service has a month to respond to the National Archives to explain why text messages were deleted.
“The United States Secret Service respects and supports the important role of the National Archives and Records Administration in ensuring the preservation of government records,” agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.