The letter from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) claims that the Secret Service erased electronic communications from that day after the OIG request was made for them.
A statement from Anthony Guglielmi, Chief of Communications for the United States Secret Service responded to the OIG accusation.
“First, in January 2021, before any inspection was opened by OIG on this subject, the Secret Service began to reset its mobile phones to factory settings as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration,” wrote Guglielmi. Guglielmi claims the OIG request for texts did not occur until February 26, but that the texts it was seeking were still available to look at.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D), who chairs the congressional panel looking into January 6, called the OIG allegations of text removal “concerning.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Service agents deleted text messages sent and received around the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol even after an inspector general requested them as part of an investigation into the insurrection, the government watc… https://t.co/zcpaUdBHuc— Sentinel-Tribune (@sentineltribune) July 15, 2022
The Secret Service has been under scrutiny during the congressional hearings. According to The Intercept, agents are seen as key players during the storming of the Capitol in an attempt to prevent the 2020 election results from being certified.
According to the same report, agents wanted to move former Vice President Mike Pence out of the Capitol building for safety reasons on January 6. Pence was at the Capitol that day to certify the 2020 election results.
Pence reportedly refused to get into the security vehicle. “I’m not getting in the car,” he said.
If Pence had left the building he would have been taken to a secure location but wouldn’t be able to certify the presidential election results.
One White House aide testified to the January 6 Committee that former President Donald Trump ordered Secret Service agents to drive him to the Capitol the day of the riot to address his supporters. A Secret Service agent disputed this account.