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After the committee’s last public meeting last month, it released a trove of official records, testimonies, transcripts, and other information that it collected as part of its 18-month investigation into the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. One of those documents was a spreadsheet containing nearly 2,000 Social Security numbers of people who visited the White House in December 2020.
Among the Social Security numbers on the list, since removed from January 6 files, was information associated with at least three Trump cabinet members, as well as some Republican governors and numerous officials and allies, according to The Washington Post. Those people whose information was on the spreadsheet are now at an “elevated risk” to be victims of identity theft-related crimes, Identity Theft Resource Center COO James Lee said.
The committee appears to have not immediately notified officials of the leak. Ian Fury, a spokesman of South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem, whose information was on the removed document, said, “To my knowledge, we were not notified. The governor was not notified.”
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, whose information was also on the sheet, told the Post: “Whether it was a careless and sloppy handling of records or a deliberate disregard of decorum, either scenario is a perfunctory and callous display of government and a frightening reminder of the current state in Washington. … President Reagan was a savant indeed — the nine most frightening words to hear are ‘I am from the government and here to help.’”
The committee said that all information released to the public was first reviewed for sensitive personal information and that any release of sensitive information such as Social Security numbers was a mistake.
The January 6 Committee, which was stacked with Democratic lawmakers and included two former GOP lawmakers, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, investigated the January 6 riot at the Capitol with an emphasis on former President Donald Trump’s role in the chaotic event. On December 19, at its last public hearing, the committee voted to recommend the Department of Justice charge the former president over the riot.
Trump “lost the 2020 election and knew it, but he choose to try and stay in office through a multi-part scheme to overturn the results and block the transfer of power,” committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said. “In the end, he summoned a mob to Washington and, knowing they were armed and angry, pointed them to the Capitol and told them to ‘fight like hell.’ There’s no doubt about this.”
The committee voted to recommend Trump be charged with obstructing an official proceeding, conspiring to defraud the United States, conspiring to make false statements to the federal government, and inciting an insurrection.
Attorney General Merrick Garland tapped former war crimes prosecutor Jack Smith, who previously worked at the international criminal court at The Hague, as special counsel to take over two Department of Justice probes into Trump over the January 6 riot and a cache of classified documents Trump allegedly improperly stored at Mar-a-Lago.