OH… This might be the thing that bites Strzok and Page, in all of the talk of their anti-Trump chatter.
According to a new report, some of the text messages shared between the two suggest that they were looking into ways to get around the rule for archiving their messages, rules they say no one during the Obama administration were really following, except them.
In new texts between the two released Thursday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Page wrote that she was to get an Apple iPhone, likely from the FBI’s IT director.
Texted Strzok: “Hot damn. I’m happy to pilot that…we get around our security/monitoring issues?”
Page: “No, he’s proposing that we just stop following them. Apparently the requirement to capture texts came from omb, but we’re the only org (I’m told) who is following that rule. His point is, if no one else is doing it why should we.”
The next question is if these were government-issued phones or private phones they were referencing.
Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson, in a letter dated January 31 to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said, “According to text messages produced to the committee, Ms. Page and Mr. Strzok make references to communicating with other FBI employees via text message, phone call, email and voicemail. Additional text messages suggest that FBI officials used non-official email accounts and messaging programs to communicate about official business.”
Shades of Hillary Clinton?
Hillary Clinton used BleachBit and hammers to hide the classified emails from her private servers. A technical glitch reportedly wiped away thousands of texts shared between Strzok and Page, but the Justice Inspector General’s office found a way to recover many of those texts.
It’s possible that the conversations between Strzok and Page, regarding hiding their messages had more to do with their illicit affair than any plot to target Trump’s campaign.
It was enough, however, to cause Senator Johnson some worry.
In his letter laying out the issue, he demanded texts, emails, iPhone messages and voicemails dating back to January 1, 2015 and related to the Clinton and Russia probe, from 16 current and former officials, including the FBI IT chief, Page, Strzok, former FBI Director James Comey, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who left the agency this week.
McCabe was mentioned in the new texts as somebody, according to Page, “had a terrible time with his phone [redacted] which made him concerned for our folks all over the place.”
She added about her Samsung phone, “These phones suck as much as they do because of the program we use to capture texts, full stop.”
At least that suggests that they were aware and dissatisfied with the technical aspects of the phone.
No doubt this will come up again, as the multiple investigations, both into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the counter-investigations into possible bias against Trump roll on.