Timeline of Missing Secret Service Text Messages

But the issue surrounding the potential loss of text messages dates back more than a year, as the Secret Service and watchdogs went back and forth on the loss of data on multiple occasions. As CNN reported on Friday, Kafri’s office became aware of the missing texts in early May 2021, months earlier than previously known.

Here’s a timeline of how Secret Service text messages became one of the key questions for the House committee as it prepares for the next phase of its investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

January 16, 2021: Ten days after the uprising in the Capitol, four House committees send a letter to Homeland Security and other relevant agencies instructing them to preserve records dating back to January 6.

It is still unclear whether the Secret Service received guidance. A source familiar with the investigation told CNN that the Secret Service tried to find it last week, but could not.

January 25, 2021: According to a letter sent to the House Select Committee on July 19, 2022, the Secret Service “instructed employees how to preserve the content on their phones,” by sending a reminder to employees that a pre-planned data migration to their phones would Will erase The internal Secret Service notice clarified that employees were solely responsible for saving records that were to be protected by law.

January 27, 2021: According to the agency’s July 19 letter to the House Select Committee, Microsoft Intune phone migration begins.

DHS Inspector General Joseph Kafari

February 26, 2021: According to agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffrey has requested electronic communications from the Secret Service for the first time. “DHS OIG first requested electronic communication on February 26, 2021, when migration was well underway. The Secret Service informed DHS OIG about the loss of data for some phones, but confirmed to OIG that None of this is text. Was lost in migration,” Guglielmi said in a statement on July 14, 2022.

March 25, 2021: House committee chairmen sent letters to the White House and several federal agencies seeking documents and communications related to the January 6 attack. Among the agencies that receive a letter is the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service.

April 1, 2021: According to the agency’s letter, the Intune migration is complete.

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May 2021: According to sources, the Secret Service informs the DHS Inspector General about the missing text messages related to the phone data migration problem. the agency tells A source told CNN that Kafri’s office of the Secret Service tried to contact a cellular provider to retrieve the text after they learned they were lost.

Key Secret Service personnel wrongly assumed the data was backed up and did not realize it was permanently lost until the data migration was completed, the source said.

June 11, 2021: The DHS Inspector General “requests text messages sent or received by 24 Secret Service personnel during the period from December 7, 2020 to January 8, 2021.” CNN has previously reported that Trump and Pence’s head of security detail are among 24 individuals.

The Secret Service responded to the request by submitting a single text message. That message was from former US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and former Secret Service Uniformed Division chief Thomas Sullivan requested assistance on January 6.

July 2021: According to two sources, a DHS deputy inspector general tells DHS that the inspector general’s office is no longer soliciting text messages from the Secret Service.

December 2021: DHS Inspector General resumes his investigation in Secret Service text messages. According to a letter sent last week by House Oversight Chair Caroline Maloney and Homeland Security Chair Benny Thompson to Cuffrey to recuse themselves from the investigation, the inspector general’s office was told by the Secret Service that the text messages had been erased. A DHS source told CNN Kafri’s office was again informed of the data loss.

January 28, 2022: The Office of the DHS Inspector General informs its employees about the DHS Inspector General’s investigation, which is being led by the Inspector General Integrity and Efficiency Council, the umbrella group for inspectors general. The investigation pertains to allegations of retaliation following an independent review of Office Culture.
February 2022: According to a DHS source, the Secret Service notifies the DHS Inspector General about the data migration problem a third time.
In early February, as the Washington Post reported, staff at Kafri’s office planned to contact all DHS agencies, offering data experts to help them retrieve messages from their phones. But later that month, the Post reported that Kafri’s office decided it would not collect or review any agency’s phones.

In late February, according to the Washington Post, Kafri learned that text messages for the top two DHS officials under the Trump administration were missing, and that they were lost in the reset of their government phones when they left their jobs in January 2021. Were.

June 28, 2022: Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testifies before the House Select Committee. She says she was told about a heated dispute between former President Donald Trump and his Secret Service detail when Trump was told he could not travel to the Capitol on January 6. Testimony raises new questions about the conduct of the Secret Service on January 6.
14 July 2022: Cuffrey wrote in a letter to the House and Senate Homeland Security committees that the Department of Homeland Security notified his office that “several US Secret Service text messages dated January 5 and 6, 2021 were erased as part of the Device Replacement Program Were.”
July 15, 2022: The Office of the Inspector General informs the House Select Committee on Secret Service texts. On the same day, the selection committee issues a summons for the records relating to January 6.
July 19, 2022: The Secret Service responds by providing thousands of records to the House Select Committee. “Our deliveries included thousands of pages of documents, Secret Service cell phone use and other policies, as well as operational and planning records,” Guglielmi said in a statement.
The agency also said it was still taking steps to try to recover the text messages, writing in a letter to the committee that it was looking at metadata to determine which messages could be sent. and is interviewing 24 Secret Service employees.

Also on 19 July, the National Archives sent a letter to DHS demanding a report documenting any inappropriate deletion of text messages.

July 20, 2022: DHS Deputy Inspector General Gladys Ayala wrote to the Secret Service informing the agency that the Office of the Inspector General is investigating the circumstances surrounding the potentially deleted texts as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, as first reported by CNN. was reported. In the letter, the Office of the Inspector General instructs the Secret Service to halt its investigation, writing that it may interfere with criminal investigations.
Before that letter was sent, the Secret Service had identified metadata indicating that texts were sent or received on the phones of 10 out of 24 Secret Service employees around January 6, 2021, and the agency Trying to determine if they contain relevant information that should be there. has been preserved, CNN reported.
July 26, 2022: Thompson and Maloney call on Caffari to hand over the investigation of the text messages to another inspector general, questioning his ability to investigate. The lawmakers wrote in a letter to Kafri that his failure to notify Congress in time about the missing texts “cast serious doubts on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such important investigations.”
July 28, 2022: Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat, called on Attorney General Merrick Garland asked to investigate the missing messages from the January 6 lead-up. The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment.

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