The United States Department of Defense and the US Army's court filings show that some senior Trump administration members, including former Pentagon official and longtime House Intelligence Committee aide Kashyap "Kash" Patel, had the text messages from their phones deleted. These deleted messages could show the happenings prior to and leading up to the Jan. 6 attacks on the US Capitol.
On 2 Aug, 2022, the Department of Defense lawyers confirmed that "tied to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by American Oversight, a government watchdog group" has been seeking Jan. 6-related phone records from officials including Patel, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, and former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, according to a report by Bloomberg.
According to the court filings, these three officials were instrumental in getting a better understanding of the government's response to the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill attacks in addition to former US President Donald Trump's response to the unfolding of the riots.
During the attacks on the US Capitol , Patel was serving as Chief of Staff to Miller after Trump appointed Miller to replace Mark T. Esper as the top Pentagon official.
Patel was responsible for championing the secretary's mission at the department in his role. He was also responsible for advising the secretary and his executive staff on all matters concerning the department's operations.
Patel was in constant contact with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on the day of the riots. He was also involved "in discussions among senior Pentagon officials before and during the attack regarding security at the Capitol," according to documents provided by the Defense Department.
Patel is a native of New York and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Richmond prior to returning to New York to complete his law degree in addition to a Certificate in International Law from University College London Faculty of Laws in the United Kingdom.
Prior to his appoint at the Pentagon, Patel was the deputy assistant to the president and senior director for Counterterrorism (CT) at the National Security Council (NSC). According to his Department of Defense profile, Patel also served as the principal deputy to the Acting Director of National Intelligence, "where he oversaw the operations of all 17 intelligence community agencies and provided the president's daily briefing.
A day after the Jan. 6 capitol attacks, Patel issued a statement denying Trump's reluctance to deploy the National Guard to the Capitol during the attacks.
Patel said he talked "multiple times this week about the request for National Guard personnel in D.C. During these conversations, the president conveyed to the acting secretary that he should take any necessary steps to support civilian law enforcement requests in securing the Capitol and federal buildings."
Investigations Related To Ukraine
Patel went from being a less-known Capitol Hill staffer to one of the most important players in the American national security set-up.
In October 2019, Patel was accused of carrying out secret back channel talks to Trump on Ukraine issues. Trump's former top Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, spoke with the impeachment investigators that she had heard that Trump though Patel was his Ukraine director. He was accused to slipping Ukraine-related "materials" to the Trump away from the regular National Security Council (NSC) channels.
However, Patel denied these accusations of having discussed Ukraine with the president.
(With inputs from Bloomberg, CNN, American Kahani)