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The Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has issued orders to 35 social media and communications companies to preserve records, as the panel continues to expand its probe into the deadly riot.
The companies include telecom giants AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, as well as other platforms where communications tied to the siege may have taken place in the months leading up to January. The House committee is targeting the records of individuals who have been charged with crimes related to the attack, and those who participated in a rally preceding the riot or in its potential planning.
Monday’s orders follow the committee’s requests last week to federal agencies and other preservation orders to social media companies in its first wave of document demands since the panel was formed and held its first hearing.
“The Select Committee today sent letters to 35 private-sector entities, including telecommunications, email, and social media companies, instructing them to preserve records which may be relevant to the Select Committee’s investigation,” a select committee spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “The Select Committee is at this point gathering facts, not alleging wrongdoing by any individual.”
The letters to individual companies seek the preservation of records between April 1, 2020, and Jan. 31, 2021. The letters say there are attached lists of individuals whose records are sought. Those lists were not released publicly.
Earlier on Monday, CNN first reported that the committee asked telecom companies to preserve phone records of certain congressional members, including GOP Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar of Arizona.
A committee spokesman and several aides declined to confirm the list of names to NPR, beyond the letters’ general references to those targeted in the request.
The requests include those “charged with crimes associated with the attack; individuals who were listed on permit applications or were otherwise involved in organizing, funding, or speaking at the January 5, 2021, or January 6, 2021, rallies in the District of Columbia,” the letter to several telecom companies reads.
They also include the records of those “objecting to the certification of the electoral college votes; and individuals potentially involved with discussions of plans to challenge, delay, or interfere with the January 6, 2021, certification or otherwise attempt to overturn election results, in the days preceding and up through the attack.”
Of the 35 preservation orders issued on Monday, telecom firms face the more complex demands. The companies were asked to preserve certain cell site locations to identify from where calls were made, records for incoming and outgoing calls, and text message content.
“As the Select Committee continues its work, we anticipate delivering to you document requests for more specific categories of information,” a letter from the panel’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., reads to AT&T President John Stankey. “Your immediate efforts to identify and preserve these documents is therefore essential.”