The Secret Service is wrongfully withholding records of its communications with the Oath Keepers ahead of January 6, according to a new lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
On October 14, 2022, it was reported that a Secret Service agent spoke with Stewart Rhodes and other members of the Oath Keepers on multiple phone calls in the days before the attack on the Capitol. On October 21, CREW requested all Secret Service communications with the far-right militia group in the months leading up to the insurrection. The Secret Service confirmed receipt of the request but has failed to release the requested records.
The records requested include Secret Service communications with leading members of the Oath Keepers such as Rhodes and Wendy Rogers. Rhodes, among several other members of the Oath Keepers, has since been convicted of seditious conspiracy for his role in the insurrection.
The requested records would reveal the extent to which the Secret Service was in direct contact with the paramilitary group leading up to the insurrection—a group that played a central role in the violence that day. In light of the Secret Service’s repeated failures to adequately prepare for January 6 and apparently illegal attempts to delete other communications around the insurrection, it’s especially crucial for the agency’s communications with these extremists to be made public as soon as possible.