Feds Wiped Phones, January 6th Data Gone

(PresidentialInsider.com)- New court filings show that the Department of Defense wiped cellphones of some of the top departing officials with the Army and DOD at the tail end of the Trump administration.

In doing so, they erased text messages that the House’s January 6 investigating committee were seeking from some of their key witnesses.

American Oversight filed a lawsuit that included a Freedom of Information Act filing against both the Army and DOD. American Oversight is a watchdog group that was seeking records about January 6 from many prominent former officials at the Pentagon — Chris Miller, the one-time acting secretary of defense; Ryan McCarthy, the former secretary of the Army; and Kash Patel, the former chief of staff.

The watchdog group actually filed FOIA requests only a few days following the attack on the Capitol building in 2021.

The three men have been considered key witnesses, as they could potentially paint a clearer picture about how the government responded to the insurrection on January 6, and how then-President Donald Trump reacted as well. The three were all involved in the decision to send troops from the National Guard to the U.S. Capitol as the riot was ongoing.

In addition to the cellphones of former Army and DOD officials being wiped, the same happened at the Department of Homeland Security, which includes Secret Service agents.

None of the former officials are being alleged to have wiped the phones or anything on them on their own.

Earlier this week, the former general counsel for the DOD, Paul Ney, said that the newest revelation was the “first I’ve heard about DOD litigation in which there is any issue with the cell phone I turned in when I left DOD on January 20, 2021.”

He continued:

“I did not wipe the phone before I turned it in, or ever that I can recall. When I turned the phone in, I did not know what was going to be done with that device, nor do I know what actually was done with that device after I turned it in. If DOD represented in litigation that the device was wiped after I left DOD on Inauguration Day, I believe that is very likely what happened and when it happened, but I do not know why.”

In response to this revelation, American Oversight is demanding that a new “cross-agency investigation” be conducted by the Department of Justice to further figure out what happened with the destruction of the information. As the group’s executive director, Heather Sawyer, said:

“It’s just astounding to believe that the agency did not understand the importance of preserving its records — particularly [with regard] to the top officials that might have captured what they were doing, when they were doing it, why there were doing it on that day.”

Sawyer said American Oversight found out that the government didn’t preserve the records earlier this year, after government lawyers notified them of the development.