Secret Service Hands Over Agents’ Phone Numbers to 1/6 Committee


Unless someone can get Bannon, Stone, Flynn, Giuliani, and Navarro under some sodium pentobarbital in order to answer questions with a lie detector set up alongside, the single most pressing evidentiary issue in getting to the ultimate bottom of January 6th is obtaining the deleted Secret Service and Pentagon texts. Those texts should never have been deleted, and everyone knows it. The only logical reason to delete those texts is that the felony committed to doing so is nothing compared to the felony that would be revealed were they discovered by the world. The Committee knows it and wants those texts. Already backpedaling, knowing it is up against possible dissolution of the agency (to start over), the Secret Service has handed over agents’ numbers as a first step.

From ABC News:

The U.S. Secret Service has given the House Jan. 6 committee a listing of agency-issued cell phone numbers belonging to agents based in Washington, D.C., for the period the panel is investigating, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The move is an unusual step amid heightened scrutiny of the agency’s cooperation with the congressional panel investigating last year’s insurrection and the role then-President Donald Trump played in it.

The committee can now determine which agents’ call records they may want to review and, if they decide to do so, could either request them directly or conceivably issue subpoenas to their cell phone providers, an official familiar with the situation explained.

The above shouldn’t be hard nor controversial. It addresses agency-issued phones. As everyone knows, nothing is ever truly deleted. Has the FBI ever not retrieved deleted texts from a drug dealer’s phone? Internet records from a computer used to exploit children? Why is this somehow more difficult? These are government-issued numbers. The data belongs to the government. Doesn’t the government have this data already?

The explanation lies in part because the ABC News story is confusingly written. Yes, the Secret Service is handing over the agency-issued numbers. But it is also handing over personal cell phone numbers, and now it starts to get real and a little dangerous (on the Committee’s part). Getting personal cell phone numbers is DOJ and judicial warrant testimony. And yet DHS is handing some numbers over:

At the same time, the inspector general responsible for the Secret Service has obtained a listing of personal cell phones as part of its own investigation connected to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Seeking and obtaining information from personal devices from federal workers is a “highly unusual” step.

Correct. Just like it would be “highly unusual” for the government to demand our cell phone data. It would generally require a warrant based upon probable cause that a crime has been committed.

This is a gigantic, terrifying mess. One of the first symptoms of an authoritarian government is that previously neutral law enforcement or agencies with an inherently apolitical mission (Secret Service, Pentagon, FBI, CIA) become political. The very fact that there may be MAGAs within the government even now, running interference in obtaining these deleted texts is difficult to conceptualize and deeply disturbing.

We await the committee’s findings. They have come through before, though never with the ultimate answer. Did Trump direct a multi-agency conspiracy to overthrow the government? Some of us are already satisfied that we know the answer. These deleted texts constitute the most critical evidence needed to prove that answer.


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