The “six most chilling words” of the Jan. 6 investigation (update)

We must get to the bottom of what the Secret Service is hiding about January 6.




Two weeks ago, The Intercept broke the story about missing Secret Service text messages from the January 6 insurrection.

Since then, questions about the Secret Service’s role on January 6 have only multiplied.

Here’s what we know: In December 2019, President Donald Trump appointed a high-ranking Secret Service official named Tony Ornato to an unprecedented, highly political role as deputy White House chief of staff.

Fast forward to January 6, 2021. As rioters attacked the Capitol, Ornato reportedly informed Vice President Mike Pence’s staff that Secret Service agents would relocate Pence to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, which would have prevented him from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Pence refused to go, telling his Secret Service detail, “I’m not getting in the car.... If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off.”

Then, after oversight officials asked for copies of the Secret Service’s text messages from January 6, the agency claimed that the text messages were lost.

We need to get to the bottom of the Secret Service’s role on January 6. The Intercept has been on the leading edge of this story from the start. Will you make a donation to support The Intercept’s ongoing investigation?

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The Secret Service maintains that the missing text messages were lost as a result of a “device-replacement program,” but a letter from Department of Homeland Security investigators obtained by The Intercept says the erasure took place shortly after oversight officials requested the agency’s communications.

When the January 6 committee followed up, the Secret Service produced exactly one text message, claiming that there were no other messages to share from that day.

There’s too much at stake to accept that these messages are simply gone. Our investigative team is just getting started digging for the real truth.

The Intercept’s Ken Klippenstein, who first broke the story about the lost text messages, has already filed a complaint with the National Archives, requesting the attorney general's involvement in finding the texts because the Secret Service is supposedly incapable of recovering them.

But the adversarial investigative reporting this story demands isn’t cheap or easy. It requires countless hours of developing sources and tracking down leads, and we count on reader donations to support our work.

We must find out the truth about January 6 and the actions of the Secret Service that day. Will you donate to help support the ongoing investigative journalism of The Intercept?

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