Lawmakers ask watchdog to step aside from probe into ‘erased’ Secret Service texts

Lawmakers are asking the inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security to step aside from an ongoing investigation into “erased” text messages at the Secret Service. 

Inspector General Joseph Cuffari notified Congress earlier this month that text messages from the agency on Jan. 5 and 6 appeared to have been erased as part of a device replacement program – leaving lawmakers peeved he waited months to alert them.

“We are writing to express our grave concerns with Inspector General Cuffari’s failure to promptly notify Congress of crucial information while conducting an investigation of the Secret Service’s preparation for and response to the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” House Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter. 

“These omissions left Congress in the dark about key developments in this investigation and may have cost investigators precious time to capture relevant evidence,” the wrote.

“Inspector General Cuffari’s actions in this matter, which follow other troubling reports about his conduct as Inspector General, cast serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation. In light of these serious failures, we request that Inspector General Cuffari step aside from the ongoing investigation into the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages,” the two lawmakers wrote.

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