Connect with us


First on CNN: DHS will stop wiping phones without backup



1659680435 large

The steps were announced in a memorandum sent to department leaders on Thursday.

The memo stressed that the items to be retained include emails, social media messages, instant messages and text messages.

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

Homeland Security will have a working group review Regarding best practice in federal and private sector organizations and department training for employees, options to automate the backup of text messages and chats, the possibility to restrict electronic messages, and department policies for retaining electronic messages providing recommendations.

“As technology continues to evolve rapidly, the Working Group will ensure that DHS continues to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and guidance to fully meet the expectations of Congress and our other oversight entities, other key stakeholders, and the American public. Chief Information Officer Eric Heisson and General Counsel Jonathan Meyer wrote in a memorandum to DHS leaders.

Department officials familiar with how the changes will be implemented by the agency told CNN that under current policy, text messages related to agency business must be retained if there is no other record of the information.

The 2018 DHS directive regarding text message retention notes that not all text messages are considered official federal records and “any communication in which an agency decision or commitment is made or where an action is taken that would not otherwise be documented.” Yes, need to be caught.”

But for almost all department employees, email is maintained automatically and for a long time. And for high-level employees, such as political appointees and top deputies, the record retention rules are more stringent than for regular employees.

For example, all emails from people in top posts are protected. But it was left to the individuals to decide whether or not to preserve the text messages. So DHS is now looking for automatic retention rather than shifting that responsibility from person to person. The working group will focus on finding alternatives to maintain those communications as possibly automatically.

Officials noted that the technology surrounding texting differs from email, largely due to systems such as encrypted IMessage, which presents a challenge in automatically capturing communications.

Officials also told CNN that DHS is exploring how to ban text messages or other chats. Secret Service director James Murray issued a memo to employees on Wednesday indicating that texting may be disabled on that agency’s mobile phone.

Pentagon issues memo to remind senior leaders to maintain federal records, including text messages

The DHS memo was issued a day after Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks instructed Defense Department leaders that “users of DoD mobile devices that, under existing DoD directives, qualify DoD users as federal records, text The messages need to be maintained,” Acting Press Secretary Todd Bressell said in a statement Thursday.

American Oversight, a third-party watchdog organization, requested cell phone records from top DoD officials who were in office at the time of the January 6 Capitol attack, including former Defense Secretary Chris Miller, former Chief of Staff Kash Patel and the military. Former Secretary was involved. Ryan McCarthy. According to court documents, when he resigned from his posts in late January 2021, his cell phone records were erased.

“Maintaining records as required by the Federal Records Act is a serious responsibility and legal obligation for all federal employees, civilian and military,” Hicks said in the memo. “DOD personnel are reminded that … users should retain text messages that qualify as records under the Federal Records Act.”

The memo further established that “effective immediately” all mobile device service providers in DoD “will capture and save resident data on DoD-provisioned mobile devices when users turn on the device.”

Hicks directed the DoD’s chief information officer and DoD general counsel to “assess DoD policies and procedures” to ensure compliance with the Federal Records Act. The CIO and General Counsel are required to report back to Hicks in 30 days “along with any other recommended action.”

“The department will be transparent with Congress and the public on records retrieval and management,” Bresley said in the statement.

A separate defense official told CNN that the cell phones of former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and former Under Secretary of the Army James McPherson were “not properly stored”. “There was no nefarious intent,” said the officer, behind the records not being archived.

Separately, the Chief of the Army Staff, General James McConville and the Director of the Army, General Walter Piatt, changed their phones in the spring of 2021 as part of standard protocol.

“All the army officers did exactly what they were asked to do,” the officer said.

Miller, Patel and McCarthy have all been seen as key witnesses to understanding the government’s response to the January 6 Capitol attack and Trump’s response to the breach. There is no suggestion that the authorities themselves may have erased the record.

American Oversight is now calling for a “cross-agency investigation” by the Justice Department to investigate the destruction of the material.

“It is surprising to believe that the agency did not understand the importance of preserving its records – especially [with regards] Heather Sawyer, executive director of American Oversight, told CNN what the top executives would have captured: what they were doing, when they were doing it, why they were doing it, that day.

Explanation: This story has been updated to reflect that the wiping of mobile devices of high-level DHS officials is temporary. The story has been updated with additional details.




Spread the love