TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2022
The Post's gorilla dust: Did the Secret Service lose / purge / delete text messages which would be relevant to the January 6 committee's probe of the Capitol riot?
This was the day we were supposed to find out. We've just read the Washington Post's first report on what has been learned, and we don't have the slightest idea what the Post's report is reporting.
Perhaps a clearer account will emerge. For now, we're thoroughly stumped. Here are some murky particulars in the report, as presented by Leonnig and Sacchetti:
We'll start with some basic background. Midway through their new report, the reporters describe what the Secret Service said last week:
LEONNIG AND SACCHETTI (7/19/22): Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi has said that the agency did not maliciously delete text messages and that the Secret Service had lost some data because of a previously planned agencywide replacement of staff telephones. The replacement began a month before the Office of Inspector General made his request, he said last week.
Guglielmi acknowledged that some data on the phones had been lost in the changeover but emphasized that “none of the texts” the OIG was seeking were missing.
According to Guglielmi's statement last week, the Secret Service did lose some data during the agency-wide replacement of telephones. However, he also said that none of the material that was missing was relevant to the January 6 probe.
(That's the type of material the Inspector General has been seeking.)
No relevant messages were lost. That was the agency's claim last week. Is the agency still making that claim today?
We've read the Post's report with care, and we can't exactly tell you. Starting with its headline, the Post's report may seem to make it sound that way. But after reading the report with care, we aren't exactly sure.
Did agents working with Trump and Pence lose any text messages from the relevant dates? Presumably, that's the relevant question—and we can't see that the question has been answered in the Post's report. A fair amount of gorilla dust is perhaps creating "a haze which makes clear vision impossible," if we may quote the later Wittgenstein in a different context.
You can give it a try yourself. Warning! We advise you to read the Post's report with care.