Congress calls on the Secret Service to report on contacts with oath keepers until January 6, 2021

The House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol uprising has asked the Secret Service for tapes of all communication between the far-right group Oath Keepers and Secret Service agents before and on the day of the attack, after a preliminary agency tally indicated multiple contacts in 2020, according to a Secret Service spokesperson.

The spokesperson said the Congressional request follows a brief telephone briefing from the Secret Service to committee staff, in which the agency said an agent of its protective intelligence division had “numerous” contacts with Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oathkeepers and other members of the group prior to Trump’s fall 2020 rallies, but that they were all part of standard practice to brief the group on safety protocols to follow.

That initial briefing was prompted by federal trial testimony in which the former head of the North Carolina Oath Keepers said Rhodes was in contact with a member of the Secret Service at the time of a rally in September 2020.

“After the (Oath Keepers) trial, the committee contacted the Secret Service and provided a verbal briefing to staff, which was specific to the comments made during the trial,” said Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. “Today the committee continued with a formal investigation for records regarding this and January 6, which we will provide.”

The Jan. 6 committee requested all records of communications between the Secret Service and the Oathkeepers, including the days surrounding Jan. 6, 2021, after an NBC News investigation into the level of information provided by the Secret Service.

The Washington Post first reported that an agent from the Protective Intelligence Division was in communication with the Oathkeepers prior to January 6, 2021.

The Secret Service discovered that several members of the organization, not just Rhodes, spoke to an agent from the Protective Intelligence Division before Trump’s rallies, with the most recent conversation taking place before a December 12, 2020 rally. , said Guglielmi.

Guglielmi also said initial research showed that communications are part of common practices that allow officers to tell protesters where they can and cannot be at an event and what items they are prohibited from bringing.

“They contacted logistics regarding protest areas and rules for attending presidential events. This is common activity between organized groups and advanced agents,” Guglielmi said.

Two Secret Service officials told NBC News that once the Oath Keepers had the phone number of the agency’s Protective Intelligence Service member, they made numerous calls directly to that agent.

Former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi, now an NBC News analyst, said: “It is common, before events, for law enforcement to talk to potential protest groups or groups acting in a security role. But regular contact with a militia-type group like Oath Keepers, especially if it treats them as a legitimate security partner, raises many concerns.

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