Pentagon tells staff not to wipe text and email records on phones

The Pentagon’s deputy secretary of defense reminded staff this week that retention of messages and emails sent from government cellphones is required under the Federal Records Act after text messages from senior Defense Department officials were deleted on Jan. 6, 2021.

In a memo issued this week, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathryn Hicks reminded Pentagon officials that keeping the required records “is the solemn responsibility and legal obligation of all federal employees, civilians and members of the military.”

The government mobile devices of former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, former Pentagon chief of staff Kash Patel and former Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy were cleared in the days following the end of former President Donald Trump’s term in the White House.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to know if lost phone records are related to the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol.

“I don’t know if the failure to preserve these vital government texts from January 6 was the result of malice, appalling incompetence, or outdated records management policies, but we must find out,” Senator Richard J. said. Illinois Democrat Durbin.

Following Ms Hicks’ statement on Wednesday, a Pentagon spokesman said the Department of Defense will be transparent to Congress and the public regarding future records retrieval and management.

DoD “users must retain text messages that comply with federal records,” the spokesman said.

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