Messages from Army and Ministry of Defense officials from January 6 erased

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It was last March that American Oversight first learned from Department of Defense and US Army attorneys that officials who received a government-issued phone erased it once they terminated their employment.

The Pentagon presented this as standard policy.

“The DOD and the Army advised the Complainant that when an employee separates from the DOD or the Army, he hands over the government-issued phone and the phone is erased. For those guards who are no longer with the agency, the text messages were not preserved and therefore could not be searched, although it is possible that particular text messages were saved in other record systems such as email,” the court documents state.

American Oversight_DoD Joint Status Report by Kos every day on Scribd

Heather Sawyer, who is executive director of American Oversight, has now asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the missing posts. This is particularly urgent, she argued, in light of the continuing problem of missing Jan. 6 messages to the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security.

The apparent suppression of registrations from January 6 by several agencies reinforces the need for an interagency investigation into the possible destruction of federal records,” Sawyer wrote.

U.S. watch letter to Garland by Kos every day on Scribd

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In addition to Miller, Patel and McCarthy, texts from January 6 were also requested from former Defense Ministry general counsel Paul Ney and former general counsel James McPherson.

Ney’s phone was wiped on January 20, 2021, his last day and the day former President Donald Trump was sworn in. Patel’s phone was erased on January 22 and Miller’s was erased on February 2.

The phones of former Secretary of the Army McCarthy and Attorney General McPherson were also erased; McCarthy left his post on January 19, 2021, and McPherson left the following day.

ney said CNN Tuesday, he didn’t personally wipe his phone before handing it over, or ever, that he remembers.

When I returned the phone, I didn’t know what was going to be done with this device and I also don’t know what was done with this device after I returned it. If the DoD represented in litigation that the device was wiped after I left DoD on inauguration day, I think that’s most likely what happened and when it happened, but I don’t know why,” Ney said.

RELATED STORY: Department of Homeland Security Jan. 6 Texts Now Missing

Records were also requested from the Director of the Army General Staff, Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt and the Army Chief of Staff, James McConville. Piatt and McConville are currently working at the department, so messages on their devices should still be in place. A review of their devices has been ongoing since September last year and according to American Oversight, a response is expected next month.

“There is no indication yet that either phone has been erased and we are hopeful that with further research we can find more records,” American spokeswoman Dara Silvestre said Wednesday. Oversight, at the Daily Kos.

RELATED STORY: Let’s Talk What’s Happening With the Secret Service’s Deleted Texts and the Jan. 6 Investigation

Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who chairs the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, called Garland to investigate missing texts at the Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service last week.

On Monday, leading House Democrats, Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Bennie Thompson called on Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to recuse himself from an ongoing investigation into the missing Secret Service text messages of Jan. 6. If he recused, the investigation would go to the Department of Justice.

Cuffari told the committee last month that the messages were wiped as part of a pre-planned device reset. This reset was carried out despite multiple requests from Congress for staff to retain information on their devices in the wake of the Capitol attack.

Numerous news reports have suggested that Cuffari, a Trump appointee, actually learned that the text messages had been deleted in May 2021, a full seven months before he told select committee members he learned for the first time “lost” messages.

Cuffari also appears to have delayed notifying members of Congress of missing messages belonging to Chad Wolf, the former acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and his deputy, Ken Cuccinelli. Maloney and Thompson — who also chairs the Jan. 6 committee — requested transcribed interviews with key Department of Homeland Security officials, including Thomas Kait, Cuffari’s deputy. Records obtained by Maloney and Thompson so far seem to indicate that Kait may have toned down the language in an internal memo that originally emphasized the importance of retaining records in accordance with Cuffari’s investigation into the response of the Department of Homeland Security as of Jan. 6. Kristen Fredricks was also invited to meet Maloney and Thompson. They chair the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee respectively.

The missing messages are important to sort out because they could offer significant insight into the delays and security lapses that occurred on January 6. This would be particularly useful with regard to Miller.

RELATED STORY: Questions swirl after former defense official says Trump never ordered Guard for Jan. 6

Miller told the select committee investigating the insurgency that Trump “never” gave the direct order to deploy 10,000 National Guard troops for Jan. 6.

However, when he appeared on Fox News a month earlier and was not under oath, he said Trump had ordered troops.

Miller’s tenure under Trump began just after Trump lost the 2020 election. Trump fired Miller’s predecessor, Mark Esper, via tweet on Nov. 9.

Esper and Trump’s relationship had deteriorated, according to Esper, following nationwide racial justice protests for George Floyd. Hope said The Washington Post the straw that broke the camel’s back came when Trump “tricked” him and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley into escorting him, along with a host of other officials, to “examine “damage to a church near Lafayette Park, directly across from the White House.

Protesters were kicked out of the park and pepper sprayed and accosted by police minutes before Trump walked to the church, held up a Bible, took a photo and left.

In a report released last June, Mark Greenblatt, the Trump-appointed Interior Department inspector general, said federal police failed to clear the plaza of protesters so Trump could pose for a photo. The use of force against protesters was not addressed, but Greenblatt said there were already plans underway early this morning to cordon off the area with limescale fencing.

Miller hadn’t been in the job long when Jan. 6 happened, but his role that day was important. A report by the Department of Defense’s inspector general in November noted Miller’s concern that the National Guard would be stationed on Capitol Hill as Jan. 6 approached. about optics.

He ended up allowing the military to use a National Guard rapid reaction force team on January 4, but only as a last resort and under very restricted conditions.

Since January 6, questions have steadily grown around the chain of command on January 6 and why there were such significant delays in providing backup to police officers who numbered in the thousands. Many delays were attributed to confusion and poor communication.

But these details are murky and hotly contested by official and unofficial officials.

The Pentagon was cleared of any wrongdoing in its January 6 response by its Inspector General, Sean O’Donnell, in November 2021. O’Donnell was appointed by Trump and still currently holds that position. The report’s findings were challenged by Col. Earl Matthews, an attorney for the DC chapter of the National Guard.

Matthews singled out Piatt and Charles Flynn, then deputy chief of staff for operations.

Piatt and Flynn — who is also the brother of Trump’s disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn — refused requests for help from the Guard on Jan. 6, Matthews said, because they feared what the troops around might look like. of the Capitol.

LTG Piatt and Flynn said the optics of having uniformed military personnel deployed to the US Capitol would not be good,” Matthews wrote in a scathing report.

He also called Flynn and Piatt “absolute liars” regarding their respective testimony before Congress about Jan. 6.

Flynn, like Piatt, still serves in an official capacity. Flynn is the commanding general of the US Army Pacific.

Matthews memo on January 6 response by Kos every day on Scribd

The Jan. 6 committee analyzed the National Guard’s response as part of its further investigation. During its public hearings, the committee presented extensive testimony from White House officials, including Milley, who said Trump never gave the order to deploy the Guard even as calls for help flocked.

It was Pence who unequivocally told then-Defense Secretary Chris Miller to “clean up the Capitol” in an intense Jan. 6 phone call.

There is no record that Trump ever called anyone, at any agency, asking for help on January 6.

“There were two or three calls with Vice President Pence,” Milley told the select committee last month. “It was very lively and he gave very explicit, very direct, unambiguous orders. There was no doubt about it […] He was very spirited, very direct, very firm, and to Secretary Miller, [he said] bring the army over there, bring the guard over here, suppress this situation, etc.

Milley also recalls speaking with Meadows on January 6. Meadows was worried that Pence seemed to be in control.

Milley recalled Meadows telling him, “We have to kill the narrative that the vice president makes all the decisions. We need to establish the narrative that the president is still in charge and things are stable or stable or that sort of thing.

“I immediately interpreted it as politics, politics, politics. Red flag for me, but no action. But I remember it vividly,” Milley said.

Sign the petition: Don’t let the work of the January 6 Committee go to waste. The DOJ must investigate and prosecute Donald Trump.

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