The U.S. Secret Service says it is unable to retrieve text messages deleted after the Dept. of Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office, and later Congress, requested the data, despite federal law requiring its retention.
Secret Service “has determined it has no new texts to provide Congress relevant to its Jan. 6 investigation, and that any other texts its agents exchanged around the time of the 2021 attack on the Capitol were purged, according to a senior official briefed on the matter,” The Washington Post reports.
Citing two people familiar with the matter the Post adds that the missing texts are “unlikely to ever be recovered.”
Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig tweeted, “PURGED — Here’s the news. Those @SecretService texts are gone, gone, gone . Agency scoured records and said it found nothing new to give Congress . National Archives now investigating if USSS broke the law.”
The Post’s report adds that the “National Archives on Tuesday sought more information on ‘the potential unauthorized deletion’ of agency text messages. The U.S. government’s chief record-keeper asked the Secret Service to report back to the Archives within 30 days about the deletion of any records, including describing what was purged and the circumstances of how the documentation was lost.”
According to the agency, which has been accused of changing stories, texts sent on the day of the insurrection and the day prior, were deleted during a device exchange program after not being backed up. While the Inspector General stated “many” text messages were lost, there does not appear to be a complete accounting of how many, nor answers on why messages for just those two days were deleted.
“Secret Service agents, many of whom protect the president, vice president and other senior government leaders, were instructed to upload any old text messages involving government business to an internal agency drive before the reset,” last year, The Post reports, citing a senior official, “but many agents appear not to have done so.”
The result is that potentially valuable evidence — the real-time communications and reactions of agents who interacted directly with Trump or helped coordinate his plans before and during Jan. 6 — is unlikely to ever be recovered, two people familiar with the Secret Service communications system said. They requested anonymity to discuss sensitive matters without agency authorization.
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack issued a subpoena for the missing text messages after news reports revealed their deletion. The DHS Inspector General (OIG) in letters to House and Senate Homeland Security Committees stated not only had the texts been deleted, but Secret Service has repeatedly refused to provide him with requested records.
“DHS personnel have repeatedly told OIG inspectors that they were not permitted to provide records directly to OIG and that such records had to first undergo review by DHS attorneys,” DHS IG Joseph Cuffari wrote.
On Saturday The Guardian noted that “January 6 investigators believe that the texts from the day of the Capitol attack could shed light on how the Secret Service wanted to move Donald Trump and Mike Pence, while texts from the day before could provide greater clarity on how security plans developed, the sources said.”
Image: Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon via Flickr
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‘This Is Insane’: Experts Blast McCarthy After He Approves George Santos Attending Classified Briefing on China
U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY), under multiple state and federal investigations, and even a criminal fraud investigation in Brazil, recently stepped down from his committee assignments pending House ethics investigations, but on Thursday he will be allowed to attend a classified briefing by the Pentagon on threats from China.
Santos is facing numerous investigations, including ongoing, pending, or possible investigations from the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Nassau District Attorney, the Queens District Attorney, the New York State Attorney General, along with the House Ethics Committee.
CNN’s Manu Raju Wednesday afternoon reports: “Asked Speaker McCarthy if he’s OK with George Santos attending tomorrow’s classified briefing on China. ‘Yes,’ he told me.”
Experts are expressing outrage, and are calling allowing Santos to gain access to classified information a “threat to our national security.”
“George Santos should not be getting access to classified information,” the government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) immediately responded.
Last month CREW published a report that states: “George Santos should not get intelligence information.”
“Santos’s misrepresentations of large swaths of his background have proven his tendency to lie for power and personal gain. It is clear that he has not demonstrated the trustworthiness necessary to guard our country’s most closely guarded secrets,” it reads.
“Santos’s serial misrepresentations of the truth about a vast array of subjects have demonstrated an astonishing level of untrustworthiness,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder says in the report. “It would be a threat to our national security to allow him to serve on any committee where he would gain access to national intelligence.”
Retired U.S. Naval War College professor Tom Nichols, an academic specialist on international affairs including Russia, nuclear weapons, and national security affairs, tweeted: “This is insane.”
Just last month Speaker McCarthy banned two top House Democrats, Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, from returning to the Intelligence Committee. While he claimed it was for national security reasons, some believe it was retribution for their roles in prosecuting Donald Trump’s impeachments.
“I cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of national security, and I cannot simply recognize years of service as the sole criteria for membership on this essential committee. Integrity matters more,” McCarthy wrote in a letter.
Marjorie Taylor Greene During House Hearing: It’s ‘Against the Law’ to Ban My Twitter Account
Members of Congress have access to vast resources to conduct the people’s business, including on-staff attorneys and the ability to contract experts, yet on Wednesday U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) appeared to shun those assets while appearing before the TV cameras while misrepresenting federal law. She falsely declared that Twitter banning her personal account was “against the law,” and a violation of her First Amendment rights as she made clear she will use her newly-restored committee assignments to spread falsehoods, misinformation, and disinformation.
Greene now sits on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. During its third hearing of the year, “Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias: Twitter’s Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Story,” Greene appeared determined to extract vengeance for her personal Twitter account being permanently “suspended” – banned –before Elon Musk purchased the company and restored accounts of countless extremists.
At the beginning of her remarks Greene mentioned the witnesses, including former Twitter executives, and said: “You can consider your speech canceled during my time because you permanently canceled mine.”
“You see, you permanently banned my personal Twitter account, and it was my campaign account also, so let’s talk about election interference, shall we?”
“Let’s explain 52 United States law 10101: ‘No person shall intimidate, threaten or coerce or attempt to stop any other person for the purpose of interfering with their rights to vote or to vote as you may choose,'” Greene said, reading inaccurately from 52 U.S.C. 10101.
For reasons unknown, Congresswoman Greene decided that federal voting rights law applies to Twitter. It does not.
“You didn’t shadow ban or permanently ban my Democrat opponent,” Greene charged. “No, you did that to me. And that was wrong and it was against the law.”
It is not against the law for Twitter to shadow ban or permanently ban anyone, even a Member of Congress and their personal Twitter account.
“You see, not only that, was it was it me, that you violated my First Amendment rights, you violated countless conservative Americans,” she said, which again is false. The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Greene pushed forward.
“These were doctors that were trying to tell the truth about COVID,” she said, of people spreading false or misleading information and disinformation. “Doctors that were having success treating people with ivermectin that you all would not allow to be talked about.”
The FDA has made clear ivermectin is not a treatment for COVID-19: “The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.”
“These were parents complaining about their school boards, teaching gender lies in their schools, biological males entering their daughter’s bathrooms and sports,” she complained. “These were also people questioning the 2020 election. And guess what? That’s Americans’ First Amendment right. These were people talking about voting machines. You know what? Democrats did that in 2019 before the 2020 election,” she claimed.
Watch below or at this link.
Marjorie Taylor Greene thinks (wrongly) that Twitter broke the law by suspending her account for violating the terms of service pic.twitter.com/xKugHRHZ1F
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 8, 2023
Republicans ‘Acting Like Jackasses’ Because Biden Nailed Them on Social Security: Morning Joe
The president urged Congress to protect the broadly popular social programs, saying “some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” which prompted literal howls from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and a handful of GOP lawmakers, but the “Morning Joe” host said Biden’s claim was on the mark.
“If you’re at home an you’re not as much of a nerd as me and you don’t follow all this stuff, let me tell you something, they were booing reality, Republicans,” Scarborough said. “Joe Biden said that one administration raised the debt more than first 220 years of president, we can say to you on the show, that’s a truth, the debt went up 25 percent. When he said Republicans raised the debt ceiling three times during the Trump administration — wait, why are they booing? They did it. They’re booing themselves for doing that.”
“Then, this is the one that gets me, talking about sunsetting Social Security and Medicare every five years, nobody dreamed that up — that was the head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee,” Scarborough added. “He won’t say his name, I will say his name. Say his name: Rick Scott, the most powerful Republican in the United States Senate for running campaigns. So they’re acting like jackasses because they can’t deal with the truth, can’t deal with the truth, and they make themselves look foolish.”
House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was seen at several points trying in vain to shush the hecklers in his caucus, and Scarborough said the reward structure in GOP politics gave the noisiest lawmakers outsized influence.
“Here is the problem being a leader of Republicans right now is Marjorie Taylor Greene just gave a gift to Joe Biden, gave a gift to the Democratic Party, gave a gift to every Democrat that is running against Republicans who won in Biden districts,” Scarborough said, “and yet the incentive structure is such that Marjorie Taylor Greene will raise a million dollars by calling the president a liar. So you have all of these extremists that are raising a ton of money while damaging their party and they just don’t care. So if you’re Kevin McCarthy, what do you do?”
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