The Secret Service hands over the agents’ phone numbers to the January 6 commission: Sources

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The U.S. Secret Service provided the Jan. 6 commission with a list of all personal cell phone numbers of agents in Washington, DC, for the period the panel is investigating, according to sources familiar with the case — an unusual move amid heightened scrutiny. of the agency’s partnership with the congressional panel investigating last year’s uprising and the role played by then-President Donald Trump in it.

The commission can now determine which agents they want to see the call records of and, if they decide to do so, they can either directly request the agents’ recordings or possibly issue a subpoena to their cell phone providers, an official familiar with the situation. explained.

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The Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the agency, have come under criticism in recent weeks for erasing text messages from agents on and around Jan. 6, 2021. Congressional Democrats have charged the Inspector General of Homeland Security accused of giving up attempts to get text and phone data from that day.

Seeking and obtaining information from federal employees’ personal devices is a “highly unusual” move by the commission, according to Don Mihalek, a retired senior Secret Service agent, and could reflect a renewed effort by the agency to increase its partnership with congress researchers further demonstrate.

A Secret Service agent stands by after Marine One at Fort McNair in Washington, DC, July 10, 2022.

Joshua Roberts/Reuters, FILE

The Secret Service has faced severe criticism in recent weeks, as the commission’s testimony focused on Trump’s behavior on Jan. 6, 2021, and what agents assigned to the White House did and saw that day.

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At the same time, Mihalek said, the agency’s decision to turn over information about personal devices to the committee could pose thorny legal challenges.

“If the agency were to provide these private phone numbers, the only appropriate way would have been through a subpoena or court order,” said Mihalek, an TBEN News employee. “If not, handing it over can be problematic.”

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A Secret Service spokesperson recently acknowledged that some January 2021 phone records were lost as a result of a pre-scheduled data transfer, noting that the transfer was underway when the Inspector General’s office made the request in February 2021.

TBEN News reported Thursday that DHS is reviewing its electronic custody policy and would stop wiping the phones of political appointees until the review is complete.

The Secret Service and representatives of the January 6 commission declined to comment.

Aaron Katersky and Luke Barr of TBEN News reported.

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