It sure doesn't look good
It certainly does seem suspicious.
They have records retention schedules and by 2020, presumably, the technology, at hand, to capture text messages for retention purposes, so it’s hard to explain the loss. Much smaller entities have, and for liability purposes, have to have disaster plans that address the recovery of records. So it seems like a few of the easiest explanations are: Purposeful destruction; inadvertent destruction caused by reckless disregard for laws/policies/norms; or a major IT screw-up caused by negligence/gross negligence. It all looks bad.
But maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton used poorly secured IT infrastructure that was outside of the government’s secure system to conduct state business. I was shocked by that because, again, much more modest entities address this through policies that can be summed up as “don’t do that.” But yet it happened, and it didn’t seem like the error was based on anything more nefarious than bad judgment, which is relatable.
In the Trump era, I don’t think people closely affiliated with Trump (real Trumpists who are in the cult of Trump) have earned the benefit of the doubt, so the secret service thing deserves a lot of scrutiny.
If it was due to “systemwide” reset, there ought to be no difference in the extent, types, and patterns of deletions between agents in the Presidential and VP details and other USSS agents and officials. Seems like that might be worth assessing.
Hopefully DOJ will also be doing a parallel investigation as it doesn’t sound like DHS can be trusted to do the job right.