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Secret Service Officer At Center Of Explosive Jan. 6 Testimony Withdraws From Agency

A top Secret Service official who held a political post in the Trump White House left the agency on Monday to work in the private sector.

Tony Ornato, who was deputy director of the Secret Service, said his departure was planned more than a year ago, before explosive testimony before Congress this summer about former President Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 6.

“I retired today to pursue a career in the private sector,” Ornato told NBC News. “I retired from the US Secret Service after more than 25 years of faithful service to my country, including serving the last five presidents. I planned to retire for a long time and have been planning this transition for over a year.” .

Secret Service Special Agent Kevin Helgert said Ornato retired “in good standing.”

Ornato led Trump’s protection detail and made the unusual move to a political position as White House deputy chief of staff for operations in 2019 before returning to the Secret Service to help oversee his training office.

Ornato became a key figure in the House of Representatives’ January 6 committee investigation into the insurrection when former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson proved in a public hearing that Ornato had described to her an incident inside the armored van transporting Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. Hutchinson Said Ornato described how Trump lunged at the driver and insisted they go to the Capitol, where his supporters were gathering. Hutchinson’s account has been disputed by some people familiar with the matter.

His departure from the Secret Services comes amid other high-level changes at the agency. James Murray announced his retirement as director last month, before the uproar in Congress over the missing Jan. 6 Secret Service text messages was made public. President Joe Biden last week named Kim Cheatle as Murray’s successor.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, a member of the Jan. 6 committee, said in an interview Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that the panel was looking into the missing text messages and could likely “find answers to that” by the time it resumes public hearings next month.

Ornato has already tested the Chamber panel behind closed doors, according to an attendee.


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