The Washington Post reports that: “The Pentagon erased a potential trove of material related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol from the phones of senior defense officials in the Trump administration, according to legal filings.” Karoun Demirjian and Jacqueline Alemany, Phones of top Pentagon officials wiped of Jan. 6 messages – The Washington Post (August 2, 2022).
Court records published on the website of the watchdog group American Oversight indicate that the Pentagon “wiped” the government-issued phones of senior Defense Department and Army officials who were in charge of mobilizing the National Guard to respond to the Capitol attack, including then-acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller and then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy. The erasing apparently was done in keeping with Defense Department and Army policy for departing employees, according to filings that state: “the text messages were not preserved.”
Id. The admission “makes the Defense Department the latest known part of the federal government, including the Secret Service and other parts of the Department of Homeland Security, to have deleted records that could have helped investigators piece together what happened on Jan. 6….” Id.; see “Secret Service erased texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, official says.”
A defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the deletions were just standard “process.”
“Nobody was trying to hide or conceal anything,” the official said. “That would be a false narrative.”