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House Jan. 6 Committee deleted more than 100 encrypted files days before GOP took majority: sources

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EXCLUSIVE: The former House Select Committee on Jan. 6 deleted more than 100 encrypted files from its probe just days before Republicans took over the majority in the House of Representatives, Fox News Digital has learned.

The House Administration Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee is leading an investigation into Jan. 6, 2021, led by Chairman Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. The panel is investigating the security failures on that day, as well as the ‘actions’ of the former select committee investigating the Capitol riot.

Loudermilk, last week, told Fox News Digital his investigation has entered a ‘new phase’ with renewed support from House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who has committed additional resources to the panel’s investigation.

Sources familiar with Loudermilk’s investigation told Fox News Digital that, per House rules, the former select committee, which was chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., was required to turn over all documents from its investigation to the new, GOP-led panel, after Republicans secured the majority of the House of Representatives following the 2022 midterm elections.

Sources told Fox News Digital that Thompson had told Loudermilk that the select committee would turn over four terabytes of archived data, but that the new committee only received approximately two terabytes of data.

Fox News Digital has learned that Loudermilk’s committee hired a digital forensics team to scrape hard drives to determine what information they were not given.

The forensics team, according to sources familiar with their search, determined that 117 files were both deleted and encrypted. Sources said those files were deleted on Jan. 1, 2023 – just days before Thompson’s team was required to transfer the data to the new committee.

Fox News Digital has learned the forensics team has recovered all 117 deleted and encrypted files. Now, Loudermilk is demanding answers and passwords to access the data. 

Fox News Digital exclusively obtained a letter Loudermilk sent to Thompson, requesting access to recovered digital files by his forensic team.

‘As you acknowledged in your July 7, 2023 letter, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (Select Committee) did not archive all Committee records as required by House Rules,’ Loudermilk wrote. ‘You wrote that you sent specific transcribed interviews and depositions to the White House and Department of Homeland Security but did not archive them with the Clerk of the House.’

Loudermilk added that Thompson also ‘claimed that you turned over 4-terabytes of digital files, but the hard drives archived by the Select Committee with the Clerk of the House contain less than 3- terabytes of data.’

Loudermilk explained that after a forensic analysis of the data and archived hard drives, he was able to recover ‘numerous digital records from hard drives archived by the Select Committee.’

‘One recovered file disclosed the identity of an individual whose testimony was not archived by the Select Committee,’ Loudermilk wrote. ‘Further, we found that most of the recovered files are password-protected, preventing us from determining what they contain.’

Loudermilk asked that Thompson provide him ‘a list of passwords for all password-protected files created by the Select Committee’ so that his committee can ‘access these files and ensure they are properly archived.’

Meanwhile, Loudermilk also penned letters to White House general counsel and the general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security, requesting ‘unedited and unredacted transcripts’ of White House and DHS testimony to the former select committee. 

Loudermilk’s committee knows the transcripts of these interviews exist, but said they were not turned over by the Thompson-led committee. 

Loudermilk demanded the White House and DHS comply with his request by Jan. 24.

‘It’s obvious that Pelosi’s Select Committee went to great lengths to prevent Americans from seeing certain documents produced in their investigation. It also appears that Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney intended to obstruct our Subcommittee by failing to preserve critical information and videos as required by House rules,’ Loudermilk told Fox News Digital. 

‘The American people deserve to know the full truth, and Speaker Johnson has empowered me to use all tools necessary to recover these documents to get the truth, and I will.’

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