But the Secret Service’s internal investigation ground to a halt after a July 20 letter from the DHS inspector general informed the agency there was an ongoing criminal investigation, directing the Secret Service to stop its own probe.
Investigators had been working to determine whether the content of the text messages sent by the 10 personnel contained relevant information that should have been preserved, the sources said. Among the 24 Secret Service personnel under scrutiny, 10 other Secret Service personnel had no text messages, and three had only personal records, according to the sources.
The text messages at issue may have been deleted when the agency conducted a data migration of phones that began January 27, 2021. According to a letter sent from the Secret Service to the House select committee investigating the insurrection, which has also sought messages around January 6 from the Secret Service, the inspector general asked for records from the 24 personnel in June 2021 — more than two months after the migration had been completed.
Members of the House select committee have stressed their belief the agency should have done more to preserve records prior to the migration, citing a January 16, 2021, letter from congressional committees to multiple agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, instructing them to preserve records related to January 6.
An appendix to that letter instructed the head of the intelligence an analysis office, Joe Maher, to circulate that request among relevant DHS components, which could, in theory, include the Secret Service.
Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service, told CNN the agency conducted an eight-hour search Thursday of various internal message systems to try to determine if the January 16 request was sent to the Secret Service. No record of that letter ever reached the Secret Service, he said.
Engel and Giebels did not respond to CNN requests for comment.
Before the inspector general’s letter this week, the Secret Service had told the House January 6 committee that it was engaged in “extensive efforts” to determine whether any messages were lost and if they were recoverable, including pulling metadata and interviewing the 24 agency personnel.
CNN’s Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.