On Sunday the FBI revealed that it had “lost” five months of text messages between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page last August. But now it appears they could have been “lost” on purpose as part of a deep state cover job.
The FBI said it could not hand over text messages between the two agents dated between Dec. 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017 because of “misconfiguration issues,” the Associated Press reported.
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.
The explanation for the gap was “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities.”
In Johnson’s letter to Wray, he asks whether the FBI has any records of communications between Strzok and Page during that five-month window and whether the FBI had searched their non-FBI phones for additional messages. He also asks for the “scope and scale” of any other records from the Clinton investigation that have been lost.
One of the messages references a change in language to Comey’s statement closing out the email case involving Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent in the 2016 presidential election. While an earlier draft of the statement said Clinton and President Barack Obama had an email exchange while Clinton was “on the territory” of a hostile adversary, the reference to Obama was at first changed to “senior government official” and then omitted entirely in the final version.
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But on Dec. 13, 2017 it was reported, by The Daily Caller, that the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz received the supposed “missing” text messages on August 10th, 2017.
“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 Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson on Dec. 13.
According to The Caller:
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.
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The Inspector General’s Dec. 13, 217 letter to Sens. Grassley and Johnson confirmed he received the now “lost” text messages.
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 email 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.
That letter was written barely more than a month ago and made no mention of missing text messages.
Did Horowitz not notice a major block of missing messages? Did he not think it was important to tell the senators? Or did they go missing after he received them, which would contradict what is being said now?
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