The Secret Service Has Gone From Protection to Criminality

The Secret Service revealed that it had erased the messages on their cell phones on the dates of January 5 and 6.  This reminds us of Rosemary Woods deleting key tapes of Richard Nixon’s tapes in the Oval Office. Unlike the Woods situation in which it could not be proved that she or someone did it intentionally, the Secret Service obviously intended to delete what they did. As I understand federal criminal law, this was – on its face – an unlawful act.

Inspector General Joseph Cuffari notified Congress earlier this month that text messages from the agency on Jan. 5 and 6 appeared to have been erased as part of a device replacement program – leaving lawmakers peeved he waited months to alert them. Lawmakers then asked the inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security to step aside from an ongoing investigation into “erased” text messages at the Secret Service.

“We are writing to express our grave concerns with Inspector General Cuffari’s failure to promptly notify Congress of crucial information while conducting an investigation of the Secret Service’s preparation for and response to January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” House Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter.

So far they have turned up only one text message was a plea from then Capitol Police Steven Sund asking for help. Texts sent by Secret Service agents during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 seem to have been erased. Coupled with testimony that raises questions about the Service’s response to the events of that day, a shadow has been cast on the agency. A retired agent wrote this. Donald J. McHaley.  This episode that turned into a full-blown scandal has become a criminal investigation into ten Secret Service personnel. Their phones contain metadata showing text messages that were sent and received around January 20 but were not preserved.

The agency deleted text messages on government employees’ work-issued phones on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, the day before and the day of the insurrection at the US Capitol. In a July 2022 statement(Opens in a new window), Anthony Guglielmi, Chief of Communications for the Secret Service, said it “reset its mobile phones to factory settings as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration” before the Department of Homeland Security and lawmakers requested any information. “In that process, data resident on some phones was lost.” Apple likes to tout the security of iMessage, but it may be a bit too secure for the Secret Service.

It is not the Secret Service that has been flouting the law. It includes the Department of Homeland Security, and high-level Pentagon officials within the Trump administration. This is corruption that eats into the heart of government.

That didn’t sit well with lawmakers investigating the attack. As a result, the agency may restrict employees from using iMessage on work-issued phones to prevent such a loss of critical evidence in the future, Politico reports

The suspicion of criminal behavior is suggested by the fact that Trump appointed  Anthony Ornato, an official with the Secret Service, as his White House  Chief  Operations. Ornato returned to the Secret Service after serving Trump. In accepting this appointment, Ornato politicized the Secret Service and the chain of willful disobedience to lawful requests demonstrates this.

The Secret Service has a policy requiring employees to back up and store government communications when they retire old electronic or telephonic devices, but in practice, staff do not consistently back up texts from phones.

The Secret Service has had a history of important records disappearing under cover of night and agency staff members refusing to cooperate when investigators came calling seeking information.

A further indication of criminal behavior is that the erasures came “after” the Office of Inspector General requested copies of the text messages for its own investigation and signaled that they were part of a pattern of DHS resistance to his inquiries, so there was no excuse for not backing up the phones.

The Secret Service claims many U.S. Secret Service (USSS) text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021 were erased as part of a device-replacement program.

Normally, phones clearing or deleting messages on a cell phone doesn’t mean the data is permanently gone, it’s just been filed away differently. If law enforcement. Law enforcement can get any data they want from cell phones with the right court order.

The Secret Service is so severely compromised that a total investigation should turn up several indictments. It’s interesting to note that with the blowback following the disclosure of the destruction of cell phone data, they have suddenly claimed to be cooperating. Let us not forget they denied the events described by Cassidy Hutchinson. Only the testimony of the DC Capitol police substantiated what she told the nation.

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