The Department of Justice Inspector General released a report today showing thousands of text messages sent by fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page were not properly preserved and presented a “gap” in investigating their misconduct at the Bureau.
However, the IG did recover “thousands of text messages” within the gap period. The interesting new information ivolves what happened to the phones that were issued to Strrzok and Page for their work with Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel.
Those phones were “reset” to factory condition in July, 2017, leading many people to question exactly why that occurred with such efficiency when the FBI couldn’t perform the most basic investigative procedures concerning the missing texts.
The Bureau claims there were ‘bugs’ in their data collection system. (yeah, right)
“The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General initiated this investigation upon being notified of a gap in text message data collection during the period December 15, 2016 through May 17, 2017, from Federal Bureau of Investigation mobile devices assigned to FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page relevant to a matter being investigated by the OIG’s Oversight and Review Division.
“Specifically, the OIG’s Cyber Investigations Office was asked to attempt recovery of these missing text message for the referenced period from FBI issued mobile devices issued to Strzok and Page,” the report states.
“In view of the content of many of the text messages between Strzok and Page, the OIG also asked the Special Counsel’s Office to provide the OIG the DOJ issues iPhones that had been assigned to Strzok and Page during their respective assignments to the SCO.”
The IG also recovered “hundreds of other text messages outside the gap period that had not been produced by the FBI due to technical problems with its text message collection tool.”
The time period in question is after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, and the time period leading up to the appointment of the Special Counsel.
Page worked on the Special Counsel investigation until July 2017, and used the same phone during that time period, and the same is true for Strzok, who also worked for Mueller and had the same phone.
DOJ maintains that wiping the phones of all data and resetting them to factory condition was simply standard procedure.
Text messages prior to the election show Strzok and Page repeatedly discussing how to “stop” then candidate Trump from becoming President, and mention an ‘insurance policy’ in conjunction with that goal.
The OIG did not produce the content of the text messages in its report.
“The OIG forensically recovered thousands of text messages from FBI mobile devices issued to Strzok and Page through its multiple extraction efforts. Approximately 9,311 text messages were recovered from Strzok’s S5 [Samsung],” the report states. “Approximately 10,760 text messages were recovered from Page’s S5.”
In a frustrating part of the report, the IG found no “discernible patterns” regarding the content of text messages, but of course, the IG was not able to recover any possible communications between the pair of Trump-haters conducted with the Special Counsel phones.
Strzok, who was a senior counterintelligence agent, was removed from Mueller’s team after the texts were revealed and was fired from the FBI earlier this year.
The FBI disclaimed responsibility by responding that it “believes that no single root cause exists, but rather that several contributing factors, independently or in combination with other factors, may affect collection capability.”
“The FBI accepts the fact that not all texts between Ms. Page and Mr. Strozk were collected by the FBl’s text collection tool but appreciates and agrees with the OIG’s conclusion and explanation that the content of text messages exchanged between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page did not appear to be a factor in their collection, or lack thereof,” the FBI response reads.
The entire investigation seems, to many people, like a concerted effort to cover up any and all nefarious behavior conducted by the Justice Department and FBI during the time period right before and after Donald Trump was elected president.
Short version: Mueller’s Office scrubbed clean both Strzok and Page’s phones. Reset to factory settings. SCO also didn’t know who handled Page’s device after she left in July 2017. SCO records officer said she doesn’t recall whether there were ANY texts on Strzok’s phone… https://t.co/xl2zOdtrkr
— Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) December 13, 2018