Secret Service violated Federal Records Act by not preserving texts, says House Comm.

The purging of nearly all cellphone texts from the time of the insurrection was discovered last February by the Inspector General Department of Homeland Security’s Office.

 A general view of the Public hearing of the US House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/ELIZABETH FRANTZ)
A general view of the Public hearing of the US House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ELIZABETH FRANTZ)

The United States Secret Service reportedly violated the Federal Records Act by not preserving text messages from the time of the Capitol Insurrection, according to the January 6 House Committee.

The purging of nearly all cellphone texts from the time of the insurrection was discovered last February by the Inspector General Department of Homeland Security’s Office, according to The Washington Post. The report also states that Secret Service chose not to alert Congress, citing three people that were "briefed on the internal discussions."

Only one text was received, according to CBS News citing the Staff for the House panel. The committee is asking for more records from Secret Service. In response, Secret Service said that the messages were erased due to an "agency-wide migration." The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and the January 6 committee have asked for messages exchanged by approximately 24 Secret Service officials, the report added.

One of the members of the committee, Democrat Stephanie Murphy, said that the agency allowed some Secret Service individuals to conclude which records were worth keeping, according to the report.

The contents

The contents of the texts included then-President Trump's movements on January 6 and "shadowed Trump as he sought to overturn the election results — could shed light on what Trump was planning and saying," the Washington Post report said.

 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS pose before the opening of a hearing last week of the House select committee tasked with investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol building (credit: JABIN BOTSFORD/REUTERS) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS pose before the opening of a hearing last week of the House select committee tasked with investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol building (credit: JABIN BOTSFORD/REUTERS)

Secret Service officials are using metadata to determine if any messages requested by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General should have been deemed government records in compliance with the Homeland Security watchdog's office, CBS reported citing a Secret Service official.

Another Secret Service official said agency employees received two emails as a reminder to preserve cellphone records. One of the emails sent was before the Capitol Insurrection had occurred, NBC News reported on Wednesday.