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.

COVID-D Has Transformed the Nation into a State of Ongoing Stress

Humans are neurologically wired for stability and predictability and hate uncertainty. When we are able to have predictability and stability and if we move stress beyond our stress tolerance, we move into fight, fright, or freeze. While once it was possible to take decades or generations to adapt to change, Covid-D has compelled change more quickly than many people can absorb.

The nation is not at peace. The January 6 Insurrection posed danger to our republic itself.  People are registering dissent about getting vaccinated and wearing masks. Almost one million Americans are QAnon supporters. About 150,000 supporters attend every rally. Right-wing groups have arsenals of lethal weapons like assault rifles and explosives.

An indicator of the divide in this nation is that when asked 79 percent of people believe more change is needed.  On the other hand, 87% of Republicans say we have had enough change.

The United  States stands out for the degree of divisiveness that afflicts it. When the nonpartisan Pew Research Center recently surveyed people in 17 countries in Europe, Asia, and North America, Americans were the most likely to say their society was split along partisan, racial and ethnic lines. The U.S. also reported more religious division than almost any other country surveyed.

The U.S. was also one of five countries in which more than half the public said their fellow citizens can’t agree on basic facts.

The post-pandemic economy is changing more than what jobs are available and where we work. People go less to stores and are ordering online, and nearly all public gatherings are called off. This is feeding into the anger in the nation. From road rage to people acting offensively on airplanes, to acts of violence against businesses owned by Asians and other minorities.

Disasters like hurricanes, drought, and flooding, the economic ills caused by the COVID-D pandemic, and the Insurrection of January 6 have major repercussions. These are called “trigger events.” During a trigger event, things that were previously unimaginable quickly become reality, norms are changed, and people lose their inhibitions, revealing what they believe, feeling free to talk and act as they wish. They change politics, economics, and public opinion in drastic ways.

Some people feel disenfranchised, become angry, depressed, anxious, and act out in anti-social ways. With unemployment and the isolation created by the lockdowns, alcohol consumption, use of illegal drugs, misuse of prescription drugs is surging along with serious psychological distress, and mental illness.  Anxiety and depression in people went up from 11% in 2019 to 42% in 2020.

Schools and electron boards are victims of the cultural divide.  School districts in Florida, Arizona, and Texas are at odds with their GOP governors over the governors’ refusal to allow mask requirements. Parents in some districts are filing lawsuits because the school requires students to wear masks. School board meetings are becoming screaming matches. Health care workers in Tennessee who advocated masks were harassed after they spoke at a school board meeting. Increasingly, election workers are threatened with bodily harm.  Delta urges other airlines to share no-fly lists to roust mask trouble makers from flying.

Many people become disillusioned and distrustful of politicians, government, and authorities and ironically make self-defeating political decisions. Dark angels are hovering over our democracy. Democracy itself is on the line, but most of the problems of our society that can be solved politically need to be done at the voting booth.

This is why Republican legislatures gerrymandered state and congressional seats in 2010 and are revamping the election laws to make it difficult for tens of millions of voters to vote in 2022.

The key to solving this problem is to either pass a federal Voting Rights Act or to pursue forcing the removal of Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. Passing the Voting Rights Act requires overcoming the filibuster barrier.

The Polarization Index measures engagement with polarized content on Twitter and calculates a polarization score. This shows polarization has barely moved since the start of 2021, although angry sentiment has shifted between topics like immigration, policing policy, racial equity, and gun legislation. The news articles shared on the most polarized topics were more likely to come from unreliable, right-leaning sources,