The U.S. Secret Service is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Department of Homeland Security related to the deletion of text messages related to the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot, a source confirmed to Fox News.
Fox News learned Thursday evening through a source aware of the probe that the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General is criminally investigating the Secret Service over the deleted texts.
NBC News reported that the Inspector General told the Secret Service in a letter that the agency should halt its internal investigation into the missing texts due to the start of the criminal investigation.
“The Secret Service is in receipt of the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s letter,” the Secret Service told Fox News when asked about the investigation. “We have informed the January 6th Select Committee of the Inspector General’s request and will conduct a thorough legal review to ensure we are fully cooperative with all oversight efforts and that they do not conflict with each other.”
The investigation’s results could potentially be referred to federal prosecutors, media outlets have reported.
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The investigation centers around text messages made by Secret Service agents during the Capitol riot that were deleted when the agency migrated to a new system in the weeks following the incident.
Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Democratic member of the Jan 6. panel, said the Secret Service acknowledged the erasure in a letter Tuesday.
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Murphy said the agency left it up to individual agents to decide what electronic records to keep and what to delete during the process.
“Nobody along the way stopped and thought, ‘Well, maybe we shouldn’t do the migration of data and of the devices until we are able to fulfill these four requests from Congress,’” Murphy said on MSNBC.
The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed the Secret Service for the text messages last week just hours after a DHS watchdog briefed the committee.
The Secret Service has said all procedures were followed and pledged “full cooperation” with the Archives’ review.
“The United States Secret Service respects and supports the important role of the National Archives and Records Administration in ensuring the preservation of government records,” agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said earlier this week.
Associated Press contributed to this report.