Secret Service Says It Accidentally Deleted Jan 6 Texts. Or Never Deleted Them. Or ...
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Do we like to read about the Secret Service wilding out when they're supposed to be protecting the leader of the free world? We do not! Particularly when it sure as hell looks like they're destroying records to protect Donald freakin' Trump.

As The Intercept was first to report, the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General informed the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees yesterday that the Secret Service had deleted relevant texts regarding the events surrounding the Capitol Riot.

"First, the Department notified us that many US Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, were erased as part of a device-replacement program. The USSS erased those text messages after OIG requested records of electronic communications from the USSS, as part of our evaluation of events at the Capitol on January 6," DHS IG Joseph Cuffari wrote in a letter obtained by CNN.

"Second, DHS personnel have repeatedly told OIG inspectors that they were not permitted to provide records directly to OIG and that such records had to first undergo review by DHS attorneys," Cuffari went on, detailing apparent obstruction (colloquially, if not legally) of his investigation.

The Secret Service has been in the news since Mark Meadows's former aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Tony Ornato, the Secret Service guy who was at that time the deputy chief of staff for operations at the White House, told her about Trump physically attacking his driver for refusing to take him to the Capitol during the riot.

It would be mighty fuckin' convenient if the agents involved in this event were magically unable to produce their text messages.

Anthony Guglielmi, chief of communications for the Secret Service, responded in a furious public statement.

"The insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false. In fact, the Secret Service has been fully cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) in every respect," he insisted indignantly.

In his telling, the Secret Service began migrating agents to new devices in January, before the DHS OIG made any request, and the agency "confirmed to OIG that none of the texts it was seeking had been lost in the migration."

There appears to be previous bad blood between the IG and the Secret Service.

"DHS OIG has previously alleged that its employees were not granted appropriate and timely access to materials due to attorney review," Guglielmi grumbled. "DHS has repeatedly and publicly debunked this allegation, including in response to OIG’s last two semi-annual reports to Congress. It is unclear why OIG is raising this issue again."

And the Washington Post's coverage of the story certainly indicates that the DHS IG has some enemies in Washington:

Cuffari, nominated by Trump in 2019 and confirmed by the Senate, has faced significant criticism since he took over the office. His first-year audits plummeted to historic lows, he clashed with Immigration and Customs Enforcement over the veracity of an inspection of a detention center, and he blocked investigations into the Secret Service’s handling of protests in Lafayette Square following the murder of George Floyd and the spread of the coronavirus in the agency’s ranks, documents show.

The OIG’s office is under investigation by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), an independent entity in the executive branch, for undisclosed allegations of misconduct, according to an internal email circulated to the office in January.

So, what the hell is actually going on here? Well, we could do the normal Democrat thing and reserve judgment until the facts are in, waiting patiently for someone to tell us that everything is fine. Or we can act like Republicans and scream bloody murder about a DEEP STATE COVER UP and call for heads to roll.

It's like a choose-your-own-adventure game. Only with the future of democracy on the line. No pressure!

[Intercept / CNN / WaPo]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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