Texts From DHS Officials Are Missing, Too

Inspector General Joseph Cuffari failed to notify Congress: 'Washington Post'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2022 12:00 PM CDT
Texts From DHS Officials Are Missing, Too
In this Aug. 18, 2020, file photo acting-Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, center, arrives to join President Donald Trump at Andrews Air Force Base in Md.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Texts from Secret Service agents related to Jan. 6, 2021, aren't the only messages to have escaped the peering eyes of the House select committee. According to the Washington Post, texts between the two top officials at the Department of Homeland Security under former President Trump sent in the weeks leading up to the attack on the Capitol disappeared in a reset of their government phones after they left office in January 2021. DHS reportedly notified the agency's inspector general of the missing texts between acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli in late February.

The office of Inspector General Joseph Cuffari was informed that the phones "might also be inaccessible," according to the Project On Government Oversight. But Cuffari "failed to notify Congress," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement. Thompson has already joined House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney in calling on Cuffari to recuse himself from the investigation into the deleted Secret Service records. He says Cuffari found out about the deletions in December but waited five months to notify Congress, casting "serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation," per CNN.

Cuffari was reportedly also informed by the office of the department's undersecretary of management that texts sent by Undersecretary Randolph "Tex" Alles were erased in a phone reset. Sources tell the Post that he did not press for an explanation on why the DHS records were not preserved nor seek to recover them. The paper notes the texts to and from Wolf and Cuccinelli could've held key information as "Trump had been pressuring both men to help him claim the 2020 election results were rigged and even to seize voting machines in key swing states to try to 're-run' the election." It's unclear whether they might still be recovered. (More Department of Homeland Security stories.)

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