House Democrats call for new IG to probe deleted Jan. 6 Secret Service texts

House Democrats call for new IG to probe deleted Jan. 6 Secret Service texts

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection suffered a major disappointment upon learning that text messages sent or received by members of the U.S. Secret Service during that time appear to have been deleted. And the leaders of the January 6 committee and the House Oversight Committee are now calling for a new inspector general to be appointed to lead an investigation.

On Tuesday, July 26, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi — appointed by Pelosi to chair the January 6 committee — and House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney sent a letter to Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari and Allison C. Lerner, who chairs the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE). And they were highly critical of Cuffari.

“Inspector General Cuffari is required by law to ‘immediately’ report problems or abuses that are ‘particularly serious or flagrant,” Thompson and Maloney told Cuffari and Lerner in their letter. “Yet, Inspector General Cuffari failed to provide adequate or timely notice that the Secret Service had refused for months to comply with DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) requests for information related to the January 6 attack and failed to notify Congress after DHS OIG learned that the Secret Service had erased text messages related to this matter.”

READ MORE: Secret Service deleted text messages related to January 6th: report

Thompson and Maloney continued, “These omissions left Congress in the dark about key developments in this investigation and may have cost investigators precious time to capture relevant evidence. Inspector General Cuffari’s actions in this matter, which follow other troubling reports about his conduct as Inspector General, cast serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation.”

The House Democrats, in their letter, went on to say that “in light of these serious failures,” they were requesting that Cuffari “step aside from the ongoing investigation into the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages and whether Secret Service personnel complied with federal recordkeeping requirements, and that the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) appoint a different Inspector General to complete the investigation.”

National Public Radio’s Ximena Bustillo, in an article published on July 26, reports that NPR “has independently confirmed that the Secret Service is in receipt of the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's letter, issued last week, that notified the agency of a criminal investigation into erased text messages by the agency's watchdog branch.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service told NPR, "We have informed the January 6 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.”

READ MORE: Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony is 'smoking gun' for 'seditious conspiracy' by Donald Trump: legal experts

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