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House Jan. 6 Probers Will Try to 'Reconstruct' Deleted Texts

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chair of the House Jan. 6 committee, said the panel will try to ”reconstruct" deleted U.S. Secret Service text messages flagged by an agency watchdog, Axios reports. The messages may have contained evidence about key events related to the Capitol attack, the focus of the panel’s hearing next Thursday. They could shed light on efforts to remove then-Vice President Pence from the Capitol and former President Trump's alleged attempts to join his his supporters at the Capitol. The Secret Service, particularly r Anthony Ornato, an agent who also served as White House deputy chief of staff, was a subject of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony to the panel last month.

The inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security offered a briefing to Thompson on the issue. Inspector General Joseph Cuffari wrote said the texts were "erased as part of a device-replacement program." He said they were erased after his office requested them. Thompson said the inspector general "was not clear as to how" the texts were deleted, adding that the committee "asked them some time ago to look at it." Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said, "The insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false." He said the Secret Service "began to reset its mobile phones to factory settings as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration" starting in January, in which "data resident on some phones was lost." The Secret Service has turned over 786,176 emails and 7,678 internal messages that reference conversations and operational details related to Jan. 6.


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