It’s emerged that there may be more missing text messages from Trump-era Homeland Security officials. These text messages, like the ones that were erased by the United States Secret Service, also surround Jan. 6, 2021, raising new questions about why the DHS’s watchdog didn’t alert officials sooner.
Messages from acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and his deputy, Ken Cuccinelli, could not be located according to a document obtained by the Project on Government Oversight.
The message to Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Cufarri in late February shows that the agency had been contending with the issue —that first emerged in the USSS — for months, indicating record retention in the department was lackluster and so were efforts to notify lawmakers when it was revealed the text messages had been erased.
The Washington Post, one of the first to report the missing messages, described the erasure as occurring during a reset when officials left office after Biden’s inauguration.
Correspondence with Cuffari shows the Inspector General was alerted that more text messages were unrecoverable, a revelation that comes a week after Cuffari was asked by lawmakers to step aside from investigating the Secret Service’s erased messages.
The step aside request emerged when lawmakers — including chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) — expressed concern that Cuffari may have broken the law when failing to disclose the erasure to DHS or Congress.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) renewed the call for Cuffari to step aside on Friday (July 29), asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to intervene.