The January 6th committee has asked the US Secret Service for all accounts of its communications with the far-right group, Oath Keepers, leading up to and on January 6, 2021, according to NBC News. A Secret Service spokesperson has confirmed that this order was issued after the agency submitted a preliminary report of its communications with the Oath Keepers in 2020.
The spokesperson further elaborated that the order followed a communication over the telephone between the Secret Service and a member of the committee’s staff. According to the agency, an agent working for the protective intelligence division had frequent contacts with Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right group before former president Donald Trump’s rallies. However, such contacts were a part of regular procedure to make the group’s members aware of security protocols to be followed.
“They reached out concerning logistics about demonstration areas and rules for attending presidential events. This is common activity between organized groups and advance agents,” he said.
The Secret Service’s claims were further confirmed by Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director for the FBI’s counterintelligence and presently an NBC News analyst, who said, “It’s common, prior to events, for law enforcement to talk to potential protest groups, or with groups acting in some security role. But regular contact with a militia type group like Oath Keepers, especially if treating them as a legitimate security partner, raises lots of concerns.”
Regarding the Jan 6th committee’s inquire about the communications, Anthony Guglielmi, the Secret Service spokesperson, said, “Following the (Oath Keepers) trial, the committee reached out to the Secret Service and a verbal briefing as provided to staff, which was specific to the comments made at trial”. He further added, “Today, the committee has followed up with a formal inquiry for records regarding that and January 6, which we will provide.”