By the time Trump’s term ends on January 20, 2021, the US Department of Defense had wiped the phones of top defense and military officials. Likewise, text messages from some of the key suspected witnesses to the events surrounding the storming of the Capitol two weeks earlier, on January 6, 2021, according to court files CNN was able to view.
The US watchdog was the first to try in court to obtain data about the storming of the Capitol from former Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, former Chief of Staff Cash Patel, former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and other prominent figures inside. The Pentagon. Miller, Patel and McCarthy are key witnesses who can provide a better picture of the Trump administration’s response to the January 6 storming of the Capitol last year. But the data requested – through the famous “Freedom of Information Act” – turned out to be deleted. CNN adds that there is no indication that senior Biden administration executives would have wiped them out themselves. The US watchdog is now calling for a “cross-agency investigation” by the Department of Justice to investigate the material’s destruction.
This is another blow to efforts for transparency around the events of January 6, 2021, CNN writes. Earlier, the Department of Homeland Security also came under fire for missing Secret Service messages from that day.
“When a defense or military employee leaves, he returns the phone provided by the government and wipes the phone,” the government said in court documents. But according to a former Defense Department official from a previous administration, new employees are being pumped in to archive their communications in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.
“It shows a widespread failure to take seriously the obligation to keep records, and to be accountable, both to our partners in the legislature and to the American people,” Heather Sawyer, executive director of US censorship, told CNN. Sawyer also referred to a separate federal records law, which requires the government to keep records of “informational value of the data contained therein.” According to Sawyer, this law certainly applies to “communications between these high-ranking officials on January 6th.”
The US watchdog is also still looking for files from several other Pentagon officials, some of whom still work for the government. According to the Ministry of Justice, the military estimates it will be ready by the end of September.
See also: New footage shows Trump struggling to speak after capitol riots
Unlimited free access to Showbytes? And that can!
Log in or create an account and never miss any of the stars.