Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

Secret Service watchdog suppressed memo on January 6 texts erasure

Secret Service watchdog suppressed memo on January 6 texts erasure

Officials at the DHS’s office of inspector general said their attempts to inform Congress in April were thwarted
Top career officials at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) office of the inspector general (OIG) tried to alert Congress in April that Secret Service texts from the time of the January 6 Capitol attack had been erased, but their efforts were nixed by its leadership, documents show.

The officials inside the inspector general’s office – the chief watchdog for the Secret Service – prepared a memo that detailed how the Secret Service was resisting the oversight body’s review into January 6, and delayed informing it about the lost texts.

But after the memo was emailed to the DHS inspector general Joseph Cuffari’s chief of staff, its contents were never seen again, and the disclosure about the erased text messages was never included in Cuffari’s semi-annual report to Congress about oversight work.

The revelation shows that the Secret Service only admitted texts from January 6 were lost months after they were requested by the inspector general’s office, and that Cuffari might have violated federal law in not reporting the matter in the report to Congress.

As noted in the memo, obtained by the Project on Government Oversight and reviewed by the Guardian, the Inspector General Act of 1978 required Cuffari to report “significantly delayed access to information, including the justification of the establishment for such action”.

The circumstances around the erasure of the Secret Service texts have become central to the congressional investigation by the House January 6 select committee, as it examines how agents and leaders planned to move Donald Trump and Mike Pence as violence unfolded at the Capitol.

The Secret Service is a division of DHS, and the chairman of the select committee, Bennie Thompson, in recent weeks has escalated the loss of the texts with the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Thompson has spoken with Mayorkas at least twice, the sources said, and the secretary has deputized an attorney in the DHS counsel’s office to oversee the transfer of materials from the agency to Congress, as investigators examine whether the texts can be reconstructed.

The memo – approved by the DHS office of counsel, the office of investigations, as well as the office of inspections – is particularly significant because it amounted to a compendium of efforts by the Secret Service to seemingly stymie the review.

“Secret Service has resisted OIG’s oversight activities and continued to significantly delay OIG’s access to records, impeding the progress of OIG’s January 6, 2021 review,” the memo said.

Secret Service interviewees, the memo said, regularly indicated that they would not provide documents to the DHS inspector general’s office unless they first went through an internal review, a move potentially in violation of the Inspector General Act.

The memo also noted that on multiple occasions, when the Secret Service produced documents months after they were requested, they contained redactions. The Secret Service did not indicate who approved or applied the redactions or why they were made, the memo said.

Finally, career officials inside the DHS inspector general’s office wrote, the Secret Service claimed they could not access crucial texts from January 6 because of an April 2021 phone system migration that wiped all data from the devices of agents.

The memo was sent to an office overseen by Cuffari’s chief of staff, Kristen Fredericks, on 1 April, according to materials reviewed by the Guardian, so that it could be included in the DHS inspector general’s report to Congress – only for it to be excluded.

Related Articles

Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police