Yesterday it was reported that the FBI failed to preserve five months of text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
While this may be true, the Inspector General should already have these texts.
Breaking: FBI notifies Congress that certain FBI text message evidence Is missing in the Congressional oversight probe into FBI handling of Hillary Clinton email investigation.
— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) January 21, 2018
BREAKING: FBI ‘failed to preserve’ five months of text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. From Dec. 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017, the day that Mueller was picked as special counsel. https://t.co/NZvQ06Q2Ja @dailycaller
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) January 21, 2018
Inspector General Michael Horowitz already stated he had these texts in his possession. I note this in a December 15, 2017 article.
We know this because of a timeline IG Horowitz laid out in a December 13, 2017 response to a letter from Senators Johnson and Grassley. Grassley and Johnson were specifically asking for more information regarding the timeline, and means of discovery, of the texts sent by demoted FBI Agent Strzok.
1. When and how did OIG become aware of the text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page?
In gathering evidence for the OIG’s ongoing 2016 election review, we requested, consistent with standard practice, that the FBI produce text messages from the FBI-issued phones of certain FBI employees involved in the Clinton e-mail investigation based on search terms we provided. 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. The FBI produced these text messages on July 20, 2017. Following our review of those text messages, the OIG expanded our request to the FBI to include all text messages between Strzok and Page from November 30, 2016, through the date of the document request, which was July 28, 2017. The OIG received these additional messages on August 10, 2017.
2. When and how did OIG notify the Special Counsel Robert Mueller of the text messages?
On July 27, 2017, upon our identification of many of the political text messages, the Inspector General met with the Deputy Attorney General and the Special Counsel to inform them of the texts that we had discovered, and provided them with a significant number of the texts, so that they could take any management action they deemed appropriate.
We know this:
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.
The FBI produced these text messages on July 20, 2017.
The OIG expanded our request to the FBI to include ALL text messages between Strzok and Page from November 30, 2016, through the date of the document request, which was July 28, 2017.
The OIG received these additional messages on August 10, 2017.
The OIG provided “a significant number of the texts” to the Deputy Attorney General and the Special Counsel.
There appears to be no “date gap” created by the Inspector General’s request. According to his letter he should have ALL texts in his possession.
From the information available, it’s difficult to tell if this is nothing more than semantics – and perhaps a foolish effort by the FBI – or if something deeper occurred.
The Inspector General sought all text messages between Strzok and Page through November 30, 2016. He then expanded his request to include all texts through July 28, 2017.
The Inspector General stated that he received all the requested texts.
Unless IG Horowitz discovered the FBI had failed to fully produce all the requested texts (i.e. the FBI delivered a partial batch while claiming it was complete) the Inspector General should have them all in his possession.
Here’s what I don’t understand:
Why would the FBI fail to preserve texts they know are already in the possession of the Inspector General. It gains them nothing and provides further indication of wrongdoing.
Did the FBI destroy the texts because they failed to deliver the complete amount of texts requested by the IG. In this case the data loss is real. And criminal.
Did the FBI deliver what they believed to be all texts to IG Horowitz – only to later discover they failed to fully capture all texts.
Did the FBI deliver all texts they had – while acknowledging to Horowitz that some had been lost. If so, why did Horowitz say he received “all texts”.
Was the failure to preserve the texts truly accidental (I doubt that).
If Horowitz has all the texts, why didn’t the FBI simply state this.
I’m not yet sure what to make of this, but my hope is this proves to be nothing more than a game of semantics from an investigative point of view.
Meaning, the FBI did fail to preserve the texts but a duplicate batch resides in the Inspector General’s possession.
The Inspector General’s letter indicates he has the complete text record set.
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