Homeland Security Watchdog Stopped the Effort to Get the Text!
The chief watchdog for the Department of Homeland Security stopped trying to get Secret Service text messages from other department phones that had been lost. This was reported by The Washington Post.
The newspaper reported late Friday that Inspector General Joseph Cuffari’s office had planned to help all DHS agencies recover lost messages from their phones after learning in early February that Secret Service texts had been deleted. The Post said that two people in the government had told Congress about this plan.
But later that same month, the plan was scrapped, the Post said, citing three people it did not name. The article also said that Cuffari didn’t tell the House committee looking into the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and other congressional committees that his office knew about the lost texts in December.
At the beginning of this month, the committee said that 24 Secret Service employees’ texts from the day before and the day of the attack had been deleted because of an upgrade to their equipment.
When asked for comment late Friday night, the Inspector General’s office and a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security did not respond right away. A spokesman for the Jan. 6 panel did not respond right away when asked for a statement or comment on the story. The House committees on Homeland Security and Oversight and Government Reform did not answer either.
Earlier Friday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said he was asking the Justice Department to investigate the loss of the text messages from the Secret Service and Trump administration officials.
“It is a very serious matter to get rid of evidence that could be important to the investigation of the deadly attack on our Capitol,” Illinois Democrat Durbin said in a statement.
The Project On Government Oversight said Thursday that the texts from two Trump administration officials, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, were missing. They based this on an internal agency record and congressional sources.
The independent watchdog project said that the office of the inspector general was told that the data was lost when Wolf and Cuccinelli’s government phones were “reset” after they left office.
Wolf wrote on Twitter on Thursday that he had followed all laws about keeping data.
“I complied with all data retention laws and returned all my equipment fully loaded to the Department. Full stop,” Wolf said on Twitter. “DHS has all my texts, emails, phone logs, schedules, etc. Any issues with missing data need to be addressed to DHS. To imply otherwise is lazy reporting.”