DHS launches criminal probe into missing Jan. 6 Secret Service texts, alleging agency knew about messages

The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General has now officially launched a criminal probe into the missing Secret Service text messages from Jan. 6 after the select committee asserted they are crucial to its investigation.

The DHS Inspector General ordered the Secret Service on Wednesday in a letter to immediately stop all internal investigation into the missing texts, according to two sources who spoke with NBC News.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the DHS watchdog agency did not alert Congress in February after it learned about the missing text messages that were allegedly lost in a data transfer.

The two anonymous whistleblowers within the DHS Inspector General’s office told the Washington Post about the previously unreported delay in reporting the erased Secret Service cellphone messages to Congress.

The insiders were working for Inspector General Joseph Cuffari during the time the messages went missing. He was appointed by former President Donald Trump. Cuffari has previously been an adviser to Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey and its former Governor Jan Brewer.

Depending on the findings by the Inspector General’s office, the investigation could result in a referral to federal prosecutors.

“To ensure the integrity of our investigation, the USSS must not engage in any further investigative activities regarding the collection and preservation of the evidence referenced above,” DHS Deputy Inspector General Gladys Ayala wrote in the letter that was sent to Secret Service Director James Murray on Wednesday evening, according to NBC News.

“This includes immediately refraining from interviewing potential witnesses, collecting devices, or taking any other action that would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation,” the letter adds.

The January 6 select committee just held its last hearing and they are desperately trying to find any shred of evidence implicating former President Trump in the storming of the Capitol that day. It appears to be a transparent maneuver to keep him from running for the presidency in 2024.

The Secret Service was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee to hand over texts sent during and surrounding the events on the day of the Capitol riot in 2021. The agency revealed this week that they no longer have any of the messages despite requests that they were to be preserved. They were ostensibly lost during a data migration according to the agency.

The Secret Service confirmed to the January 6 panel in a letter that was sent Tuesday that many agents’ texts that occurred that day were inadvertently “erased as part of a device-replacement program.”

The agency states that it has received the DHS Inspector General’s letter concerning the halting of its internal investigation into the missing texts. But they are also concerned about getting bogged down in a legal quagmire after receiving the subpoena from the January 6 committee demanding information about the texts from the National Archives.

“We have informed the January 6th Select Committee of the Inspector General’s request and will conduct a thorough legal review to ensure we are fully cooperative with all oversight efforts and that they do not conflict with each other,” the Secret Service asserted in a statement.

The agency handed over one text message between former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and former Secret Service Uniformed Division Chief Thomas Sullivan.

The Secret Service has determined that 10 of its officials did not send text messages on Jan. 5 and 6, according to CBS News.

In addition, the agency has found three other officials who sent messages deemed to be “personal” in nature and did not rise to the threshold of government records.

Officials were formerly working to determine if the ten remaining individuals sent text messages that qualify as government records and if those officials failed to appropriately preserve them.

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