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On Tuesday, Biden’s inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that he regularly deletes text messages from his government phone. This practice potentially violates government record-keeping laws.

According to The Hill, Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, who has faced criticism for not promptly informing Congress about the loss of Secret Service text messages related to January 6, was questioned about his own practices regarding record preservation.

During his appearance before the House Oversight Committee, Inspector General Joseph Cuffari affirmed that he deletes text messages from his phone in response to a question posed by Representative Glenn Ivey.

Cuffari acknowledged that deleting text messages is his regular practice, confirming this when asked by Ivey if he does it consistently.

The discussion between Cuffari and Ivey became combative as they debated the importance of retaining phone records.

Cuffari asserted that he does not utilize his government cellphone for official purposes. However, he objected when Ivey inquired whether the deleted messages were connected to personal matters.

“I did not consider those to be federal records and therefore I deleted them,” Cuffari explained. “It’s a clearly defined statute that places requirements on what a federal record actually is.”

The act of deleting text messages could potentially contravene not only the policy of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) but also federal laws concerning the preservation of records.

According to the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group that has advocated for the dismissal of Cuffari, a 2014 policy within the Department of Homeland Security mandates employees to retain text messages on their government-issued phones.

The Democratic members of the committee focused their attention on various allegations against Cuffari, including the handling of the Secret Service’s January 6 incident and accusations of suppressing a report on sexual harassment within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the leading Democrat on the panel and a former member of the committee that investigated the January 6, 2021, attack, questioned Cuffari regarding the delay in informing Congress about the missing Secret Service messages. Raskin inquired why Cuffari did not promptly alert Congress to this issue, particularly considering the agency’s explanation that the messages were lost during a software transition.