capitol assault

The Pentagon deleted the messages of the day of the assault on the Capitol of cell phones of high officials

The United States Department of Defense has deleted all references to the assault on the Capitol from the official phones of its highest officials in the last days of the Donald Trump Administration, according to CNN and CNBC.

Friday August 5, 2022 8:05 a.m.

The content of the mobile phones of the highest ranking Army officials and civilians but with responsibility for the Armed Forces, such as then Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, and former Chief of Staff Kash Patell. All three are considered crucial witnesses when investigating President Donald Trump’s reaction and the government’s response to the assault on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, and all three had direct responsibility for the Pentagon’s response to the sending of National Guard troops. to the Capitol as serious riots unfolded. In addition, there is no indication that it was the officials themselves who deleted their own files.

The information stems from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the organization American Oversight filed against the Department of Defense and the Army. “It’s amazing that the agency didn’t understand the importance of preserving its records, particularly with respect to the top officials they might have kept. The questions are around and many: “what were they doing, when were they doing it, why were they doing it that day?” Heather Sawyer, executive director of American Oversight, told CNN. The non-profit entity asks the Department of Justice to investigate the destruction of that material.

The news comes days after another revelation was made public as a result of efforts to bring transparency to the events of January 6. On July 21, the Department of Homeland Security opened a criminal investigation into the deletion of messages that Secret Service agents sent on January 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol assault.

The deputy inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, Gladys Ayala, requested on that occasion, through a letter addressed to the director of the Secret Service, James Murray, to cease his own investigation into what happened because there was already another open inquiry in his portfolio. The Secret Service, the body in charge of protecting the country’s president, among others, responded that it cannot recover the text messages sent between January 5 and 6 of last year… because they were deleted.

For its part, the Committee of the House of Representatives that investigates the assault on the Capitol had already requested the recording of the messages exchanged, but managed to receive only one of them. The rest was eliminated in the context of a previously planned system, for which the Committee believes that the procedure to preserve the content apparently did not respect the requirements in force and affirms that it could have violated the Federal Records Act.

A former Defense Department official under a previous administration told CNN that when a new employee is brought into the Pentagon, they are told that their work arrangements are subject to the Presidential Records Act and their communications will be archived. The source said that when they handed over their devices at the end of their employment, all communication logs were supposed to be archived.

The recognition that the records were not preserved has taken on a new meaning in the wake of the scandal over the loss of Secret Service agent records on January 6. “It just reveals a widespread failure to take seriously the obligation to preserve those records, to ensure accountability to their partners in the legislature and to the American people,” said Heather Sawyer.

What the Pentagon was hearing from White House communications as the attack on Capitol Hill unfolded on Jan. 6 has been the focus of the House investigation, and lawmakers say addressing that day’s security lapses is the main objective of his research.

The question that remains is not yes they can do it but if they will let them do it.

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