Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials only archived 86 text messages out of 3.1 million agency employees sent and received in 2015, according to a federal watchdog’s report made public Wednesday by House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith.
The EPA Office of Inspector General (IG) released the report requested by the Texas Republican, which described enormous text message retention problems within the EPA. One unnamed senior official configured his phone to automatically delete texts after 30 days.
The IG claimed EPA officials never “intentionally” violated the Federal Records Act and did not include the low number of archived texts in the body of its report, relaying it instead to congressional staff.
Multiple federal laws and regulations require that officials preserve all documents — including email and text messages — created in the course of conducting official business of the U.S. government.
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