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Senate Democratic Top Asks Defense Observers to Investigate New Batch of Jan. 6 Missing Documents

The top Democrat in the Senate has asked federal surveillance agencies to investigate missing text messages from President Trump’s top defense officials leading up to the Capitol riots.

The Pentagon has cleared the calls of former Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, former Secretary of Defense Kash Patel, former Secretary of War Ryan McCarthy and others at the end of the Trump administration. They were key witnesses during the preparation and duration of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and are under investigation by House committees and the Justice Department. Pentagon and Army officials confirmed in court documents filed in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the nonprofit surveillance group American Oversight, first reported by CNN.

“The loss of this critical information could jeopardize our efforts to know the full truth on January 6,” said Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. said in a statement Wednesday. “I do not know whether our failure to preserve these important government texts after January 6th was due to malice, astonishing incompetence, or outdated records-keeping policies. We have to find out the truth.”

Durbin has asked Sean O’Donnell, acting inspector general of the Department of Defense, to begin an investigation into the matter.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has asked the Pentagon’s acting inspector general to begin an investigation into the related missing text messages on Jan. 6. Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“The DoD OIG is aware of Senator Durbin’s press release and is awaiting his letter to Acting DoD Inspector General Sean O’Donnell,” said Megan Reed, spokesperson for the DoD IG. rice field. administrative officer“As soon as I receive the letter, I will check its contents.”

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to comments.

a Joint status report filed in March “The Department of Defense and the Army [the] Plaintiffs allege that when employees leave the Department of Defense or the Army, they turn in their government-issued phone calls and have their phones wiped. We were unable to, but it is possible that certain text messages were stored in other systems of record, such as email. Then, for those still at the agency, it said, “The agency has begun searching for text messages in response to FOIA requests.”

American Oversight filed a FOIA request on January 12, 2021, and will appear in court in March 2021 after seeking interactions with senior Defense and Army officials and President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and senior staff. but there was no record.

At a White House briefing on Wednesday, Press Secretary Carine Jean-Pierre referred reporters to the Pentagon as the emails are part of an ongoing lawsuit. But it’s very clear that the Biden administration “strongly believes in following the rules of public records. That’s important.” I’m very clear about allowing the truth of what happened to come to light, but I’m not going to go into specific details.” When asked if the president trusts the Pentagon and the Secret Service. , she said so.

“This news is particularly troubling because the Department of Defense is not the only government agency to have deleted text messages from the day of the deadly riots,” American Oversight said in a press release on Wednesday. It was reportedly missing in the lead-up to the Capitol attack, said a text from a senior Homeland Security official.

Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Kaffari has been accused of handling an investigation into the message. Durbin, Recently, he asked the Attorney General to take over the investigation.

However, I got it by email to the staff on Monday PoliticoCuffari pushed back what he called “This Onslaught of Pointless Criticism” “Due to the guidelines and quality standards of the U.S. Attorney General, we cannot always publicly respond to false or false information about our work.”



https://www.govexec.com/oversight/2022/08/top-senate-democrat-defense-watchdog-investigate-new-batch-missing-jan-6-texts-durbin/375354/ Senate Democratic Top Asks Defense Observers to Investigate New Batch of Jan. 6 Missing Documents

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