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Members of U.S. Secret Service carry riot shields on a driveway at the White House in Washington on April 20, 2021.

Members of U.S. Secret Service carry riot shields on a driveway at the White House in Washington on April 20, 2021. (Yuri Gripas/ABACAPRESS.COM/TNS)

WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the assault on the US Capitol has subpoenaed records from the Secret Service after being told by a government inspector general that the agency wasn't cooperating with the inquiry.

Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairman, said in a statement on Friday night that the subpoena was issued after the panel heard that Secret Service text messages from Jan. 6, 2021, when the attack occurred, and the day before had been erased.

The Secret Service will cooperate "by responding swiftly to the committee's subpoena," agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Saturday in a statement.

The agency has said some data was lost because it began a factory reset of its mobile phones in January 2021 — the month before the Homeland Security Department's inspector general asked for texts from Secret Service agents under that office's inquiry into the Capitol attack.

Guglielmi said the Secret Service has fully cooperated with the panel since its inception in March 2021, including with testimony by special agents and "790,000 underacted emails, radio transmissions, operational and planning records."

In the statement and in a separate letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, Thompson wrote that the committee had been told that data on some phones had been lost because of an agency "device replacement program." He added, however, that "according to the USSS statement, 'none of the texts it [DHS Office of Inspector General] was seeking had been lost in the migration.'"

"Accordingly," Thompson said, "the Select Committee seeks the relevant text messages, as well as any after action reports that have been issued in any and all divisions of the USES pertaining or relating in any way to the events of Jan. 6, 2021."

Earlier Friday, the panel met with representatives of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General, who said the Secret Service wasn't cooperating.

The inspector general, Joseph Farica, said in a letter to the committee on Wednesday that texts from Secret Service agents on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021 were reported lost during an equipment replacement after his office asked for them.

The release of Cuffari's letter to the committee drew an angry reply from the Secret Service.

"The insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false," the agency said in a statement Thursday.

The Inspector General's office didn't respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Some of the most riveting testimony from the Jan. 6 panel's televised hearings concerned then-President Donald Trump's actions after he addressed a rally near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021. A former aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, said she was told Trump wanted to join the mob then marching on the Capitol but was blocked by his security detail

The texts could provide insight into that episode as well as security concerns surrounding then-Vice President Mike Pence, who had gone to the Capitol to preside over the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.

Panel members said there's a possibility some of the texts could still be recovered.

"There have been contradictory statements about whether or not they're gone," said panel member Jamie Rankin, a Maryland Democrat. "I'm no expert on the technical side of this, but there are people who have said that, you know, even texts that have been deleted can be recovered in some way. So it depends on the technology, depends on when it happened, and so on."

Thompson confirmed that the committee would hold a prime-time hearing on Thursday at 8 p.m., the second in the series of televised hearings held this month and last.


©2022 Bloomberg L.P.


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