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Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) listens as Peter T. Gaynor, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) testifies during a hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security on Capitol Hill July 22, 2020 in Washington DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

January 6 committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) sent a letter on July 15, 2022 to the head of the U.S. Secret Service informing the agency it was being subpoenaed in connection with deleted text messages related to the deadly 2021 attack on the Capitol. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas Secret Service in Hunt for Deleted Texts

"The committee is absolutely determined to get to the bottom of this and to find all of the missing texts," said panel member Rep. Jamie Raskin.

Brett Wilkins

The congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol subpoenaed the U.S. Secret Service Friday evening as the panel attempts to recover text messages that were deleted shortly after oversight officials requested them.

"The committee is absolutely determined to get to the bottom of this and to find all of the missing texts," Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the panel, told reporters Friday. "They are missing, but in the age of high technology, we should not give up."

In a letter to United States Secret Service (USSS) Director James Murray, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote that the House committee "has been informed that the USSS erased text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021 as part of a 'device-replacement program.'"

The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) had requested Secret Service electronic communications records as part of an assessment of the deadly insurrection by supporters of then-President Donald Trump and his "Big Lie" that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen."

In a Wednesday letter, the DHS OIG revealed that Secret Service officials deleted the messages "after OIG requested records of electronic communications."

Thompson's letter continued:

In a statement issued July 14, 2022, the USSS stated that it "began to reset its mobile phones to factory settings as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration. In that process, data resident on some phones was lost."

However, according to that USSS statement, "none of the texts it [DHS Office of Inspector General] was seeking had been lost in the migration."

Accordingly, 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 USSS pertaining or relating in any way to the events of January 6, 2021.

The congressional panel believes the deleted texts could offer insight into the actions of Secret Service agents and possibly also Trump on the day the Capitol was stormed.

Thompson told reporters Friday that Secret Service agents "were positioned to secure the vice president [and] the president, and we just need to know all the available information from all the sources as to what happened."

The committee chair added that the panel is attempting to "ascertain if those texts can be resurrected."

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