“Serious questions” have been raised after NBC News released a bombshell report revealing that senior leadership within the United States Secret Service confiscated cell phones belonging to 24 agents within the scandal-ridden government agency and proceeded to then turn those devices over to the embattled Trump-appointed Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, Joseph Cuffari, just as Cuffari was beginning to first launch his criminal investigation into the now-infamous deleted Secret Service text message scandal… In July. Cuffari, along with the US Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and former Trump officials within the Pentagon have, of course, found themselves under intense fire following the damning revelation that the Trump-appointed Inspector General failed to reveal, in a timely manner, that an unbelievable amount of Secret Service text messages hailing from January 5th and 6th, 2021, being sought by the January 6th House Select Committee in their ongoing investigation, had been deleted.
NBC News report on the bombshell news:
The agency handed over the phones ‘shortly after’ a July 19 letter was sent by Inspector General Joseph Cuffari’s office.
The revelation that Cuffari’s office has had access to the phones since late July or August raises new questions about the progress of his criminal investigation into the missing text messages and what, if anything, the public may be able to learn about communications between agents on Jan. 6, 2021.”
Reports have indicated that Cuffari was personally made aware in December of 2021 that cell phones belonging to Secret Service agents who were directly involved in protective operations on the day of the infamous, deadly Capitol attack had been completely wiped, including the text message communications that the January 6th House Panel was seeking in their ongoing investigation into the attack. Cuffari now-infamously failed to pass this damning information onto Congressional investigators until July of 2022, despite the fact that his own staff has taken contrary actions on the matter.
To make matters that much worse, CNN reports that Cuffari was actually made fully aware of the wrongfully deleted messages in May of 2021. If this reporting is actually true, that would then mean that the Trump-appointed official waited more than a full year to inform US Congress of the scandal. In addition to failing to report the deleted messages to Congressional investigators, Cuffari also failed to turn over that information to the National Archives and Records Administration — the entity that is required, by US law, to retain those records.
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Rightfully so, many have since pegged the Inspector General as a Trump-loyalist and seen his actions as an attempt to cover for the ex-president’s people. The scandal has devolved to a point that Cuffari’s own staff is now calling for his termination from the high-ranking government position.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) released a report, reading:
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) watchdog staff recently called on President Joe Biden to remove their boss, Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, according to a blistering letter obtained by the Project On Government Oversight.
‘The highest priorities of an inspector general are integrity and independence,’ states the letter. ‘IG Cuffari and his inner circle of senior leaders have fallen short in these areas time and time again.'”
An April 2021 report from the Washington Post revealed Cuffari “blocked investigations proposed by career staff last year to scrutinize the [Secret Service’s] handling of the George Floyd protests in Lafayette Square and the spread of the coronavirus in its ranks, according to documents and people with knowledge of his decisions.”
In late July Norman Ornstein, a notable political scientist and member of the POGO board, called the scandal a “coverup of treason.”
Ornstein wrote that POGO “has been calling for a long time for the resignation of DHS IG Joseph Cuffari. He sat on the information of missing texts from the top DHS ‘acting’ officials, put there by Trump to do his bidding. Stinks to high heaven. Coverup of treason.”
Read the full report from NBC News here.
Featured image via screen capture