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Secret Service has no new January 6 texts to give to Congress, source says

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WASHINGTON — The Secret Service has no new text messages related to the Jan. 6 attack to hand over to the House special committee investigating the Capitol riot, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News on Tuesday. .

The news comes in the wake of an inspector general who informed the commission that the Secret Service had deleted text messages dated January 5 and 6, 2021. The commission issued a subpoena for that data last week.

The Secret Service plans to conduct a “forensic search” of the phones of agents identified in the Inspector General’s report, the source said, but added the agency does not expect any relevant information. emails or other data.

The Washington Post first reported that the Secret Service had no new text messages to relay to Congress. The January 6 panel had given the Secret Service until Tuesday morning to pass on the subpoenaed text messages.

“We received a letter today that did provide us with many documents and some data. However, we did not receive the additional text messages we were looking for,” Representative Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., a Jan. 6 panel member, told MSNBC.

The Secret Service transferred only one text message, according to the letter obtained by NBC News. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said in an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday that “we received one text message,” but that “it is clear to me that this is a text message that may have been sent through another branch of government.”

According to the letter, the conversation centered on a request from then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to Thomas Sullivan, the former head of the Secret Service’s uniformed intelligence agency, for assistance on Jan. 6, 2021.

Also on Tuesday, the National Archives asked the Secret Service to investigate the “possible unauthorized deletion” of the text messages.

The National Archives and Records Administration is “requesting the Secret Service to investigate this matter,” agency official Laurence Brewer wrote in a letter to Damian Kokinda, an official who oversees the records of the Department of Homeland Security.

At the Aspen Security Forum on Tuesday night, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas promised that the Secret Service, which is part of his department, would cooperate fully with investigations by the Jan. 6 commission and others into what happened to the missing text messages.

When asked by MSNBC correspondent Trymaine Lee whether he believes the lyrics were accidentally deleted, Mayorkas said: “The migration was planned well before January 2021,” citing a data migration that the Secret Service has blamed for the deletions. “I think the facts will be revealed and we will treat the facts as they are taught, or continue to be taught, and we will learn from them.”

The DHS Inspector General sent a letter to congressional committees last week informing them that the Secret Service had removed texts. Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari said he was told the texts had been deleted after asking for records of electronic communications related to the uprising, “as part of a device replacement program.”

Shortly after Cuffari informed all nine committee members of Jan. 6 on Friday, the special panel issued a subpoena for those Secret Service text messages and other data from Jan. 5 and 6.

Committee members believe the lyrics could corroborate aspects of the testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who told the panel that then-President Donald Trump became furious when he failed to join his supporters on Jan. 6. to join the Capitol. a physical altercation with his chief Secret Service agent in the presidential SUV.

A Secret Service spokesman had vehemently challenged the DHS Inspector General’s allegations that the text messages had been deleted. Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said data from some phones was lost as part of a “three months pre-planned system migration,” but the Secret Service continued to work with the Jan. 6 panel.

In a separate statement, Guglielmi said the Secret Service delivered a “first set” of thousands of documents and data to the panel on Jan. 6 on Tuesday morning in response to the subpoena. The documents contain “Secret Service cell phone usage and other policies, as well as operational and scheduling data,” he said.

“The United States Secret Service has worked and continues to cooperate fully with the Jan. 6 Select Committee,” Gugliemi said in a statement to NBC News.

“We continue to examine our files, databases and records to ensure full compliance with the commission’s subpoena,” he continued. “We are taking all possible steps to identify data that responds to the subpoena, including forensics of agency telephones and other investigative techniques.”

In the lengthy statement, Gugliemi also said that the Secret Service “fully respects and supports” the important role of the National Archives.

“The agency will have our full cooperation with this review and we will complete the internal review of our information as directed and respond promptly to their inquiry,” Guglielmi continued. “The Secret Service has long had a well-established policy regarding the retention of government documents.”

If the Secret Service determines that text messages have been erroneously deleted, the National Archives official wrote on Tuesday, the agency must send the National Archives a report within 30 days containing a report documenting the deletion.

That report, the National Archives official said, should include a description of the documents involved, an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the deletion of the messages and a statement of “guarantees” put in place to prevent further data loss.

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