According to a new comprehensive report from the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, technical failure was not the only thing keeping the anti-Trump text messages of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page away from prying eyes. The report confirms that both phones were wiped clean by an unknown FBI official shortly after Strzok was let go from Robert Mueller’s special counsel team. The report raises new questions about what steps certain individuals within the FBI took to hide the obvious and damaging bias of one of their top agents.
With assistance from the Department of Defense, wrote the IG, internal investigators were able to recover thousands of text messages written by Page and Strzok. But when the Inspector General wanted to look at the phones themselves, they found that they had been wiped thoroughly by an unknown FBI staffer, who claimed there was nothing of note in the messages. Strzok’s phone had actually been reassigned to another agent.
From Fox News:
The records officer at the special counsel told the IG that “as part of the office’s records retention procedure, the officer reviewed Strzok’s DOJ issued iPhone” on September 6, 2017 and “determined it contained no substantive text messages” before it was wiped completely — just weeks after Strzok was fired from Mueller’s team for anti-Trump bias and sending anti-Trump text messages.
The officer wrote a note in an official log after reviewing Strzok’s phone: “No substantive texts, notes or reminders.” But the officer told the IG that she did “not recall whether there were any text messages on Strzok’s phone,” although “she made an identical log entry for an iPhone she reviewed from another employee on the same day that she specifically recalled having no text messages.”
While it is apparently protocol for the FBI to reset these phones before they are given to new agents, nothing in the report explains precisely why officials found nothing of note when reviewing the messages before deletion. It would be very interesting to put those officials – whomever they may be – on the stand in front of Congress, so they could justify deleting messages such as the early August exchange between the two lovers.
In that one, Page asks Strzok: “He’s not ever going to become president, right?”
And Strzok, infamously, answers: “No, no he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
Seems like a message worth keeping around. But then again, we’re not part of a vast effort to cover up a crooked investigation into an American presidential candidate, so what do we know?