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Homeland Security to Stop Clearing Cell Phones – for Now

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security officials said they would no longer delete data on cell phones from top officials and political appointees before backing them up on external servers.

The directive, announced in a memo obtained by CNN, is temporary and comes in response to the Secret Service and top former DHS officials clearing their devices. 

Under the directive, emails, social media messengers, instant messages, and text messages would be preserved. 

“DHS agencies and offices are directed to preserve either the actual mobile devices (and accompanying access information) or complete fully accessible backups of all device content for all members of the Senior Executive Service or equivalent and political appointees, whenever such an employee departs or would have their device replaced or wiped for any reason,” Chief Information Officer Eric Hysen and General Counsel Jonathan Meyer wrote in the memo.

The agencies have come under fire for deleting the messages around the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. 

A House committee investigating the insurrection was hoping the messages would provide more information about former President Trump’s actions on the day of the riot. 


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