Inspector General Joseph Gaffari met with the group behind closed doors two days after sending the letter to lawmakers. Capital Assault.
Committee members expressed concern after the Jan. 6 meeting about differing versions of events between the inspector general and the Secret Service and insisted they wanted to hear from the agency.
Gaffari told the panel on January 6 that the Secret Service had not reviewed its own subsequent action and was relying on the inspector general’s investigation. The inspector general told the committee that the Secret Service had not fully cooperated with its investigation.
Ghaffari’s explanation gave the impression that the Secret Service was “dragging its feet,” the source said. The inspector general told the panel that they did not have full access to personnel and records.
Gaffari said he brought up the issue more than once with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and was told to continue trying to get information. Ultimately, Ghaffari decided to go to Congress because he was getting nowhere with his concerns within DHS. Separately, a law enforcement official told CNN about Cuffari going to Mayorkas.
DHS said in a statement that “Both the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol have confirmed and will continue to have the information they requested.”
Thompson told CNN during their meeting that the Secret Service was not fully cooperating.
“Well, they haven’t been fully cooperative,” the Mississippi Democrat said, adding: “We’ve had limited engagement with the Secret Service. We’ll be pursuing some additional engagement after we meet with the IG.”
Thompson said the group will work to “try to see if we can bring those texts back to life.”
The congressman previously told CNN after the meeting that the committee would need to interview Secret Service officials to find out what happened in the deleted text messages on Jan. 5 and 6, 2021.
“We now have the IG’s view of what happened. We now have to talk to the Secret Service and our expectation is to reach out to them directly,” Thompson said. “One thing we have to make sure is that what the Secret Service is saying and what the IG is saying, those two issues are really the same thing. So now we have it, we’ll listen to it. The physical information and we’ll make a decision ourselves.”
Representative Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who serves on the January 6 Committee, told CNN that there appears to be some “contradictory reporting” between the Homeland Security inspector general and the Secret Service about whether the text messages came from the Secret Service on January 5 and 6, 2021, were actually gone.
“First, the Department notified us that several U.S. Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, were destroyed as part of a device replacement program. The USSS destroyed those text messages after the OIG requested records of electronic communications from the USSS. A review of the events at the Capitol on January 6 As part of doing so,” Ghaffari said in the letter.
“Second, DHS personnel have repeatedly told OIG inspectors that they are not permitted to provide records directly to the OIG and that such records must first be reviewed by DHS attorneys,” Cuffari added. “This review led to weeks of delays in receiving OIG records and created confusion as to whether all records had been produced.”
A DHS official provided CNN with a timeline of the missing information caused by the data transfer that was reported to the IG by the Secret Service. In a statement Thursday night, the Secret Service said the IG first requested the information on Feb. 26, 2021, but did not specify when the agency acknowledged the problem.
According to the DHS official, the Secret Service reported the migration issue to the IG on several occasions, starting on May 4, 2021, and again on December 14, 2021 and February 2022.
In a statement Thursday night, the Secret Service said the inspector general’s allegation of non-cooperation was “accurate and not new.”
“In contrast, DHS has alleged that OIG has previously denied its staff proper and timely access to materials due to attorney review. DHS has repeatedly publicly denied this allegation, including in OIG’s last two semiannual reports in response to Congress. It is unclear why OIG is raising this issue again. ” said the statement.
After initially asking for records from more than 20 people in February, the IG returned to request additional records for additional people, the law enforcement official said. The law enforcement official said there were no text messages for the new request because they were lost in the computer transmission. The official said the agency has been informed about the change and has sent guidelines from the IT department on how to secure phone records.
CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wacro, who has worked in the Secret Service for 14 years, said it would make sense for the inspector general to conduct a review after Jan. 6. From the perspective of the Secret Service, both the President and the Vice President are kept safe. , so the agency doesn’t consider reviewing an incident in an after-action report, Wagro said.
This story was updated Friday with additional developments.
CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.
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