National Archives Is Investigating If A Law Was Broken After Secret Service Texts Were Deleted

( The Secret Service was conducting a search for text messages sent by some of its agents around January 6, 2021, hoping to figure out a way to recover the messages that there deleted as part of a pre-planned reset of cellphones in the agency.

But, earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security told the agency to stop conducting that search so it doesn’t “interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.”

Gladys Ayala, the deputy inspector general for DHS, sent a letter to the director of the Secret Service, James Murray, a copy of which The Times was able to review. In it, she wrote:

“To ensure the integrity of our investigation, the U.S.S.S. 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.”

The Secret Service has been under a lot of scrutiny recently as reports emerged that the agency deleted text messages from agents as part of a reset of agents’ phones that they said was routine. However, concerns have arisen that the agency received notification to preserve information and documents before the actual reset was conducted.

The House special January 6 investigating committee subpoenaed those records, but they were sent only one text message from the Secret Service, since the agency said it didn’t have any more.

While the office of the inspector general has no power to bring any criminal charges against individuals, they are required to refer a criminal case to the Department of Justice if they ever find that a crime had occurred.

Anthony Guglielmi, who’s a Secret Service spokesman, confirmed this week that the investigation by the inspector general had been escalated so they could determine whether any criminal activity had occurred.

The OIG letter was sent following the agency confirming that it probably wouldn’t be able to recover the phone records that were purged.

The issue of the missing text messages was revealed last week by Joseph Cuffari, the inspector general who has been conducting a review into the actions of the Secret Service on January 6. Cuffari brought up the issue to the House’s January 6 investigating committee, which subsequently subpoenaed the agency for the records.

The agency then wrote a letter to the committee acknowledging that it would only be able to turn over one exchange of text messages. In June, the OIG had requested the full records from two dozen personnel at the Secret Service between the dates of December 7 of 2020 and January 8 of 2021.

The inspector general said the people who were subject of the OIG’s investigation were “mostly people operationally involved with January 6.”

That includes Murray, who’s head of the agency, Robert Engle, who served as the lead agent for former President Donald Trump, as well as other agents assigned to the former president’s protection detail.