Did FBI lie when it said the 'missing' text were not retrievable?
The Inspector General has recovered the Samsung 5 cellphones of two embattled FBI agents at the center of ongoing Department of Justice and Congressional investigations. The two agents are under scrutiny for their involvement in the Special Counsel’s investigation into President Trump and alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 election. The DOJ’s Inspector general is now retrieving some of the missing five months of crucial text messages exchanged between the pair of FBI agents using forensic experts to track ‘ghost texts,’ left behind even after they are deleted from the devices, former and current law enforcement officials told this reporter.While I am no tech expert I knew that from my own experience with Samsung phones. I suspect the FBI was just grasping for an excuse to avoid more embarrassing texts messages that show how biased and flawed the agency has handled not only its dealing with Trump but also in letting Clinton off for egregious mishandling of classified material.
The DOJ informed the Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson on Jan. 19, that a “technical glitch” failed to retain the text messages between FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his colleague FBI attorney Lisa Page from December 2016 and May 2017. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was also informed by the FBI that the text messages could not be retrieved because of the technical problems that occurred when the bureau switched from the Samsung 5 phones to the Samsung 7 phones. But Horowitz’s investigation last week into the missing text messages led to the request for the cellphones, which allowed the Inspector General’s team the ability to begin retrieving texts.
Attorney General Jeff Session’s revealed last week that Strzok and Page had exchanged more than 50,000 text messages and Congressional committees are investigating whether the apparent bias of the agents against President Trump altered the investigation into the President and his campaign. Strzok and Page were part of the Special Counsel’s office for a short period of time. Strzok, who was involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send classified information, was removed from his role in the Special Counsel’s Office after the Horowitz uncovered the biased text messages.
“The OIG has been investigating this matter and, this week, succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages from the FBI devices, including text messages from Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page that were sent or received between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017,” DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz stated in a letter to Sen. Ron Johnson, Republican chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A former FBI special agent, who worked extensively on counterterrorism related cases, stated they were “dumbfounded” by the FBI’s original excuse that the text messages were irretrievable.
“Even though the servers ‘lost’ the text messages of Strzok they would still be on his actual device, even if he deleted them,” stated the former FBI special agent, who asked to speak on background due to the sensitivity of the case. “That’s how we catch bad guys, we forensically search their phones. Nothing disappears off the device, nothing… unless they take a hammer to it or microwave it. The question is, the FBI knows this, so why did the bureau say they couldn’t retrieve them – why did they mislead Congress.”