The Department of Homeland Security’s watchdog agency, which in February 2021 requested all Secret Service text messages sent around Jan. 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol riot, withdrew the request five months later, according to an email obtained by the top Democrats on two House committees.
On July 27, 2021, DHS Deputy Inspector General Thomas Kait sent an email telling Jim Crumpacker, a senior official at DHS, “Jim, please use this email as a reference to our conversation where I said we no longer request phone records and text messages from the USSS relating to the events of January 6th,” referring to the U.S. Secret Service.
The email was obtained by the House Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. They sent a letter to the DHS inspector general’s office Monday referring to the email and noting that in December, five months after he retracted his request for Secret Service text messages, Kait again asked the Secret Service for the texts.
Reps. Maloney and Thompson have subpoenaed communications from the DHS inspector general related to the July 2021 email and also asked for Kait to make himself available to testify by Aug. 15.
It was not until this July that DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari told Congress that the Secret Service emails from Jan. 6, 2021, were missing.
Spokespeople at the Secret Service have said the agency wiped the messages as part of a planned phone systems migration that essentially restored all phones back to factory settings.
The Washington Post reported last week that in February 2021, Inspector General Cuffari’s office decided not to collect or review phones to try to recover the missing messages.
The missing text messages have now called into question not only whether the Secret Service took steps to actively obscure the investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, but also why Cuffari did not alert Congress about the missing text messages sooner.
The DHS inspector general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.