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Secret Service says deleted Jan. 6 texts likely won't be recovered

The Secret Service believes that several erased text messages sent and received by agents around the time of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are unlikely to be recovered, the agency's spokesman said Tuesday.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general told the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot that the Secret Service couldn't produce some text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, due to a technology update. This update took place after the inspector general requested the messages, as part of a review of the Secret Service's response to Jan. 6. After learning this, the Jan. 6 committee issued a subpoena for those missing texts on Friday.

Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the agency turned over "thousands of pages of documents" to the committee on Tuesday, but not the missing text messages. A forensic search is underway for those texts, he added, but it's likely they can't be recovered. The National Archives and Records Administration, which keeps the records produced by presidential administrations, asked the Secret Service on Tuesday for an explanation on how those messages were erased.

The Secret Service did not conduct a review of its performance during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, but Guglielmi told The New York Times the agency is complying with reviews by the inspector general and several congressional committees. "The best type of oversight is independent," he said. "We have cooperated fully and swiftly with all of these oversight mechanisms. And we will continue to."