Secret Service investigators are looking into the phones of 10 Secret Service employees for text messages containing metadata that were sent and received on Jan. 6, 2021, but have not been retained, two sources told CNN.
The review comes after the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general requested the text records of 24 Secret Service individuals on January 6 of last year. Only one text was produced. After the issue burst into the public eye this month, Inspector General A criminal investigation has been initiated in this regard. And lawmakers have demanded answers from the Secret Service and find out what happened to texts that may have been deleted.
But the Secret Service’s internal investigation was halted after a July 20 letter from the DHS inspector general, notifying the agency that a criminal investigation was underway, instructed the Secret Service to halt its own investigation.
Investigators are working to determine whether the content of the text messages sent by the 10 employees contained relevant information that should have been protected, the sources said. Of the 24 Secret Service officers under investigation, 10 other Secret Service personnel had no text messages, and three had only private records, sources said.
The details, which examined the messages of 10 Secret Service agents, led to an unusual week of turmoil for the agency, which demanded answers from the inspector general about the missing texts and leading to a congressional subpoena and criminal investigation in this matter.
The text messages in question may have been deleted when the agency conducted a data migration of phones that began on January 27, 2021. It also requested the news in January, according to a letter from the Secret Service to the House Select Committee investigating the insurgency. 6 from the Secret Service, the inspector general asked for records from 24 employees in June 2021 — more than two months after the migration was completed.
Citing a January 16, 2021 letter from congressional committees to several agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, members of the House Select Committee reiterated their belief that the agency should have done more to protect records before immigration. Instruction to preserve records relating to intelligence and analysis, January 6.
An appendix to the letter directed Joe Maher, the director of intelligence, to circulate the request among relevant DHS elements, which would, in theory, include the Secret Service.
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told CNN that an 8-hour search was conducted Thursday at various internal news organizations to determine whether the Jan. 16 request was directed to the Secret Service. No record of that letter reached the Secret Service, he said.
Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence are both chiefs of staff, a source familiar with the matter told CNN. Robert Engel and Tim Giebels, respectively, among 24 employees requested by the inspector general to review the text messages. It is not known whether Engel and Zeibels were among the 10 employees whose metadata showed the text messages.
Engel and Goebbels did not respond to CNN requests for comment.
Before the inspector general’s letter this week, the Secret Service told a House Jan. 6 committee that it was conducting “extensive efforts” to determine whether any messages were lost and could be recovered, including pulling metadata and interviewing 24 agency employees.