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Secret Service turns over agents’ phone numbers to committee Jan. 6: Sources

Written by Javed Iqbal

The US Secret Service on Jan. 6 provided the House Committee with a list of all personal cell phone numbers belonging to agents based in Washington, DC, for the period the panel is investigating, according to sources familiar with the matter – an unusual move amid heightened scrutiny of the agency’s cooperation with the congressional panel investigating last year’s uprising and the role then-President Donald Trump played in it.

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

The Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the agency, have come under fire in recent weeks delete text messages belonging to agents and around January 6, 2021. Congressional Democrats have accused the Homeland Security inspector general of abandoning efforts to collect text and phone records from that day.

Seeking and obtaining information from personal devices of federal workers is a “highly unusual” move by the committee, according to Don Mihalek, a retired senior Secret Service agent, and could reflect a renewed effort by the agency to further demonstrate its cooperation with Congress investigators.

A Secret Service agent stands next to Marine One at Fort McNair in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2022.

Joshua Roberts/Reuters, FILE

The Secret Service has faced severe criticism in recent weeks as committee testimony focused on Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021, and what agents attached to the White House did and saw that day.

At the same time, Mihalek said, the agency’s decision to release personal device information to the committee could pose difficult legal challenges.

“If the agency did release these private phone numbers, the only appropriate course for it would have been via a subpoena or court order,” said Mihalek, an ABC News contributor. “In the absence of that, handing them over can be problematic.”

A Secret Service spokesman recently acknowledged that some phone data from January 2021 was lost as a result of a pre-planned data transfer, noting that the transfer was underway when the inspector general’s office made the request in February 2021.

This was reported by ABC News on Thursday DHS is reviewing its electronic retention policies and would stop wiping political appointees’ phones until the review is complete.

The Secret Service and representatives of the January 6 committee declined to comment.

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Luke Barr contributed reporting.

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Javed Iqbal

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