Text Message From Key Trump Pentagon Officials Were Deleted on January 6!
According to court documents, the Defense Department wiped the phones of top DOD and Army officials who were leaving at the end of the Trump administration. This meant that any texts from key witnesses to the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol were lost.
The first time that the Pentagon officials’ phones had been wiped was when American Oversight sued the Defense Department and the Army under the Freedom of Information Act. The watchdog group is asking for records from January 6 from former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, former chief of staff Kash Patel, and former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, among other high-ranking Pentagon officials. The first FOIA requests were sent just a few days after the attack on the Capitol.
Miller, Patel, and McCarthy have all been seen as important witnesses for figuring out how the government responded to the attack on the Capitol on January 6 and how former President Donald Trump felt about it. As the riot was happening, all three were part of the Defense Department’s plan to send National Guard troops to the US Capitol. No evidence shows that the officials themselves got rid of the records.
The government’s assertion in the filings that the officials’ text messages from that day were not preserved is the latest blow to the efforts to bring transparency to the events of January 6. It comes as the Department of Homeland Security is also under fire for the apparent loss of messages from the Secret Service that day.
Paul Ney, former general counsel for the Department of Defense, told CNN that Tuesday’s revelation is the “first I’ve heard about DoD litigation in which there is any issue with the cell phone I turned in when I left DoD on January 20, 2021.