Secret Service director delays retirement amid 1/6 scrutiny
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Service Director James Murray is delaying his retirement as the agency deals with an inspector general’s investigation and congressional inquiries related to missing text messages around the time of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Murray, who was slated to retire this weekend, will remain in his role “for the betterment of the agency” and to see the agency through the investigations, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Thursday.
Murray, a 27-year veteran of the Secret Service, had taken a position with Snap, the social media company best known for its app, Snapchat.
The delay in Murray’s retirement comes as the agency has faced increasing criticism after admitting that text messages from around the time of the attack on the U.S. Capitol were deleted.
The agency has said the messages were purged when its phones were migrated to a new system in the weeks after the 2021 attack. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., a member of the House panel investigating the attack, has said the Secret Service told the committee that it left it up to individual agents to decide what electronic records to keep and what to delete during the process.
The nine-member House Jan. 6 panel has taken a recent, renewed interest in the Secret Service following the dramatic testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson about Trump’s actions on the day of the insurrection.
The Secret Service has said all procedures were followed and pledged “full cooperation” with all of the reviews and investigations, including a criminal investigation by the Homeland Security inspector general.
Guglielmi has said the Secret Service had started to reset its mobile devices to factory settings in January 2021 “as part of a pre-planned, three-month system migration.” In that process, some data was lost. He has said the agency has also turned over thousands of emails and other records to the committee and agents have also provided testimony.
Murray’s decision to stay on was completely his own decision and he informed both the White House and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Guglielmi said. He’s expected to stay on at least for several more weeks until the Biden administration names a new director for the agency.
Murray notified senior leaders at the agency and sent a wider email to the workforce to tell them about his plans to stay on and lead the agency through a transition to a new director, once someone is selected, Guglielmi said.
Murray told his senior staff members he is “not the kind of guy to throw in the towel,” Guglielmi said.