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Secret Service agents were not allowed to know what information was seized from their phones on January 6.

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WASHINGTON — Secret Service agents asked the agency for a record of all communications seized from their personal cell phones as part of investigations into the Jan. 6, 2021 events, but were turned down, according to a document reviewed by NBC News.

The Secret Service office that handles such requests, the Freedom of Information Act Program, turned down the request, in which agents appealed to the Privacy Act to demand more information about what was shared from their personal devices.

The request was made in early August, just after news came to light that both Congress and the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security were interested in obtaining text messages from Secret Service agents that had been cleared as part from what the agency said was a planned upgrade.

“This letter is the final response to your privacy law investigation filed on August 4, 2022 for information related to the disclosure of personal cell phone data and/or other personally identifiable information (PII) by the U.S. Secret Service,” the letter said. from last Wednesday.

“The agency has determined that regulations do not require that any disclosure records be made in connection with your request,” the letter continued.

The agents’ efforts to find out what documents were seized through a FOIA request and the subsequent denial of the request underscore a tension between ordinary Secret Service agents and the agency’s leadership over what communications should be with investigators. are shared.

NBC News previously reported that two sources with knowledge of the action said the Secret Service leadership seized 24 cell phones from agents involved in the response to the January 6 U.S. Capitol uprising.

A source familiar with the cell phone seizure previously told NBC News that some officers were upset that their leaders were quick to confiscate the phones without their input.

The letter also raises important questions about Secret Service communications, both Congressional investigators and the Inspector General. While the text messages are believed to be irretrievable, other messages, such as those sent via personal phones and emails, are subject to review and may shed new light on the agency’s response.

The Secret Service declined to comment.

The content of the texts sent by Secret Service agents on Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, drew more interest in June after Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, told the Jan. 6 committee that she had heard second-hand. that former President Donald Trump to a Secret Service agent when he refused to drive Trump’s car to the Capitol during the uprising. Trump has denied jumping at the agent.

Recently, a member of the far-right Oath Keepers group testified in court that the leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, was in contact with at least one Secret Service agent before the January 6 uprising. Rhodes and other oath officers have been charged and pleaded not guilty to sedition for their role in the attack on the Capitol.

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