Secret Service deleted texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, says investigator

Originally published at: Secret Service deleted texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, says investigator | Boing Boing


How shocked are we?


Someone needs to tell them they’re not supposed to be THAT secret.


There’s a reason they aren’t called “The Transparent and Accountable Service.”


Just in case you have the same questions I had about retrieving messages from the carrier, this snippet from Cell Phone Forensics: Powerful Tools Wielded By Federal Investigators

A. The Text of Texts Are Often Only Available On The Device Itself

Cellular service providers retain records of the parties to a text message and the date and time it was sent. They do not, however, retain the content of text messages for very long, if at all.

In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) served a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request to the Department of Justice seeking an internal memorandum regarding the data retention plan of major cellular service providers. The memorandum contained information from the six largest cell phone carriers in the United States: Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T/Cingular, Sprint, Nextel and Virgin Mobile. All of the providers retained records of the date and time of the text message and the parties to the message for time periods ranging from sixty days to seven years.

However, the majority of cellular service providers do not save the content of text messages at all. As of 2010, Verizon Wireless saved text message content for three to five days while Virgin Mobile retained text message content for ninety days but stated that it would only disclose that content if law enforcement had a search warrant containing a “text of text” request. As recently as November 25, 2015, T-Mobile’s privacy policy indicated that it retained “calls and text messages you send and receive (but we do not retain the content of those calls or messages after delivery).” Nathan Freitas, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University explained that the carrier may have “details of whom [was]texted and when” but “the actual text is what is really hard to get, if not impossible” from the carrier. The Boston Globe reported that carriers, including the four biggest in the country ‑ AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint ‑ have publicly confirmed that they delete their copies of messages after delivering them.

Now, excuse me while I continue sending these notes I took on a criminal fucking conspiracy via text.

criminal conspiracy small


season 3 dj GIF by NETFLIX


Cool. Treat it like any other case of spoliation then. Adverse Inference that the text contains whatever the prosecution deems to be the worst reasonable assumption.

“POTUS just demanded that we drive him to the Capitol so that he can oversee Pence’s execution and be sworn in immediately.”

“Yeah, that makes sense, earlier today he was talking about how he didn’t give a fuck about the votes, he should be the winner regardless.”

“Well, that explains that agreement he made with the Proud Boys to ensure that the voting wasn’t certified and to act as his private enforcers.”


When one’s arse is this filthy one is constantly scrambling to cover it.


OMG click the link in the story; seems like the Secret Service got the the Washington Post, too!

Sorry, we can’t seem to find the page you’re looking for.


New link here:


Two tin-foil-hat assertions: (1) Confronted with the potential penalties and risks of being found to have tampered with evidence versus being found to be complicit in an effort to overturn a presidential election, which would you unscrupulously choose? (b) If the DOJ asked (nicely?) the NSA could recover those ‘lost’ texts, as they have admitted to recording all domestic cell-phone traffic (in order to keep track of the foreign spy networks among us, dontchaknow)


How fucking convenient. And just those two days? Huh. :thinking:


Betcha the phones in question belonged to agents now in the “employ” of trump’s current SS detail.


I suppose this is how deleted texts are positively identified?


but this makes it sound to me like there’s a chance those texts are still stored somewhere, provided they were on one of those carriers. since the texts were wiped as part of their hardware provider’s buyback program, there’s a good chance they were on one of those carriers.

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I really have a hard time believing that.


is that first part true? the other reporting has all implied the secret service themselves deleted the texts. ( and it wouldn’t be hard to invent an internal “scheduled” phone replacement to cover up the deletion)

im also curious about how the carrier thing works. trump famously used an insecure off the shelf phone. previous presidents used a hardened phone. does the secret service really just use off the shelf phones and standard carriers?

id imagine that’d be a huge target for foreign ( and domestic! ht: @theophrastus ) intelligence. you’d have eyes and ears ( camera and microphone ) - even position - off everywhere the president went*

( * golf course, golf course, bunker, golf course. )


I have no idea why you’d say such a thing. /s



well, i heard on NPR this morning that the official statement says that they were wiped because they were being returned as per their agreement with their supplier, and that the program had been in the works for awhile, and that it wasn’t some attempt to maliciously hide anything. i know that when i recycle an old phone i wipe it entirely, too – it doesn’t strike me as anything different there. people are quickly ascribing nefarious intent to it, though, and i get the impulse.

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