The National Archives has directed an investigation into the missing Secret Service text messages from January 5th and 6th, 2021. In addition to this investigation, the Department of Homeland Security has also indicated that it is conducting a criminal investigation into the missing texts.
On Saturday, July 15th, the United States House Committee investigation, the January 6th incident subpoenaed text messages sent to and from Secret Service members in the run up to and during the incident. The committee further requested that any missing messages be “resurrected.” Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari had previously noted that the messages were deleted.
When deleting text messages can be a problem
In many situations, it’s considered a crime to delete or modify records that are part of a government investigation. Under the Federal Records Act, federal employees are required to keep records that are related to their work and employment. At the state level, a person can be charged with tampering with evidence or tampering with public records or information if they destroy or modify a public record. Even the president of the United States isn’t exempt from having to preserve official records. After presidential records turned up missing during the Watergate scandal, Congress passed laws that required presidents to preserve all of their official records.