CONFUSION: FBI Claims Five Months Of Strzok-Page Texts Missing — Yet DOJ IG Says He Received Them In August
Additional text messages sent and received by disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok have been handed over to Congress, reports the Associated Press. In yet another twist to the Strzok saga, the FBI failed to hand over a block of the agent’s text messages between Dec. 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017 because they have gone missing.
Or did they go missing?
But the department also said in a letter to lawmakers that its record of messages sent to and from the agent, Peter Strzok, was incomplete because the FBI, for technical reasons, had been unable to preserve and retrieve about five months’ worth of communications. New text messages highlighted in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray by Sen. Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, are from the spring and summer of 2016 and involve discussion of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. […]
In addition to the communications already made public, the Justice Department on Friday provided Johnson’s committee with 384 pages of text messages, according to a letter from the Wisconsin lawmaker that was obtained by The Associated Press.
But, according to the letter, the FBI told the department that its system for retaining text messages sent and received on bureau phones had failed to preserve communications between Strzok and Page over a five-month period between Dec. 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017. May 17 was the date that Mueller was appointed as special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation.
According to Johnson’s letter, the Bureau told Stephen Boyd, the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs, that due to FBI-provided Samsung 5 mobile phones with software upgrades that “conflicted,” with “collection capabilities,” the text messages were not recorded.
However, according to the Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross, the FBI claimed it the reportedly missing text messages to Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz on August 10th, 2017.
Strzok, who then served as the FBI’s No. 2 counterintelligence official, conducted many of the biggest interviews in the investigation, including with Clinton and her top aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.
“After finding a number of politically-oriented text messages between Page and Strzok, the OIG sought from the FBI all text messages between Strzok and Page from their FBI-issued phones through November 30, 2016, which covered the entire period of the Clinton e-mail server investigation,” Horowitz wrote to Grassley and Johnson on Wednesday.
The FBI handed over those messages on July 20, 2017. After reviewing those exchanges, Horowitz expanded the investigation to include all of the text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page from Nov. 30, 2016 to July 28, 2017.
Horowitz’s office received those messages on Aug. 10.
Here is a screenshot from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitiz’s letter to Grassley and Johnson confirming the FBI successfully sent over Page and Strzok’s text messages.
Below is the full letter:
On December 13th, Horowitz confirmed to Johnson and Grassley that the text messages were received. However, just over a year later, Johnson, citing Boyd, said the FBI never handed over the text messages.
The conflicting reports raise new questions about verification processes used by the Justice Department and FBI. Horowitz may have told Senate investigators that he received something, but had not verified they were indeed the text messages he requested.
Conversely, did the FBI knowingly or unknowingly send the wrong documents to Horowtiz, only for Inspector General’s Office to realize they were in possession of the incorrect documents?
“Have had a couple of questions on this — I’m told that DOJ’s inspector general *does not* have the missing Strzok-Page text messages,” the Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross tweeted late Sunday evening.