A federal watchdog has opened a criminal probe into the Secret Services’ deleted text messages, CNN reported Thursday.
DHS Deputy Inspector General Gladys Ayala notified the Secret Service of the probe in a July 20 letter, which also directed the agency to stop an internal investigation into the matter, CNN reported. The revelation comes after the Secret Service wasn’t able to turn over text messages to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“This is to notify you that the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has an ongoing investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the collection and preservation of evidence by the United States Secret Service as it relates to the events of January 6, 2021,” Ayala wrote in the letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, according to CNN.
“To ensure the integrity of our investigation, the USSS must not engage in any further investigative activities regarding the collection and preservation of the evidence referenced above. This includes immediately refraining from interviewing potential witnesses, collecting devices or taking any other action that would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation,” Ayala added, CNN reported.
A DHS OIG spokesperson told the DCNF that it “typically does not confirm the existence of, or otherwise comment about, ongoing investigations.”
The text messages that have since been deleted were sent on Jan. 5 and 6, according to a letter the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s (DHS OIG) office sent to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
But the Secret Service asserts that there wasn’t any hostile intent behind the scrubbing.
“The insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false. In fact, the Secret Service has been fully cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) in every respect – whether it be interviews, documents, emails, or texts,” U.S. Secret Service Chief of Communication Anthony Guglielmi recently told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Neither Secret Service nor the DHS OIG responded to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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