by WorldTribune Staff, December 14, 2018
All text messages of anti-Trump FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were wiped from the iPhones they were issued while working for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, according to a report by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (OIG).
The OIG said it initiated an investigation upon being notified of a gap in Strzok-Page text message data collection for the period Dec. 15, 2016, through May 17, 2017.
Strzok and Page were dismissed from the special counsel office after their anti-Trump text messages emerged.
“In view of the content of many of the text messages between Strzok and Page,” the special counsel’s office was asked to provide to the OIG the iPhones that had been assigned to Strzok and Page during their respective assignments to Mueller’s office, the OIG’s report said.
The records officer for the Mueller investigation told the OIG that when Strzok returned his DOJ-issued iPhone, the records officer had determined it “contained no substantive text messages.”
Mueller’s office also claimed it “was unable to locate the iPhone previously assigned to Page.” When the phone was found, it had all of its data deleted.
The OIG report said that both Strzok’s and Page’s iPhones were re-issued to other FBI agents and when they were turned in had been “reset to factory settings.”
“The OIG reviewed DOJ memoranda and FBI policy relating to retention of substantive electronic communications. These policies require individual employees to take steps to ensure preservation of such electronic communications relating to a criminal or civil investigation,” the report said. “The FBI policy informs its employees to contact the FBl’s Enterprise Security Operations Center (ESOC) if they need to access electronic communications that the individual has not preserved, such as text messages and email messages. According to FBI’s Office of General Counsel, ESOC has in place a process for the collection of text messages. However, the OIG determined that the FBI does not currently have a specific policy directive mandating that FBI, through ESOC or otherwise, collect text messages sent and received by FBI employees using their FBI issued mobile devices.”
Meanwhile, a federal judge said in a memo that Hillary Clinton and her State Department “colluded” to keep her missing emails secret from the public and courts.
In the memo, Senior District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth called the Clinton email affair “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
Lamberth demanded that the State Department and Department of Justice work with Judicial Watch, which has sued in the case, to develop an evidence seeking schedule into whether Clinton sought to avoid the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a private email system in her New York home.
Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit is related to the Benghazi terrorist attack.
“… the Court orders the parties to meet and confer to plan discovery into (a) whether Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA; (b) whether the State Department’s attempts to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and (c) whether State has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s requests.
“… his [President Barack Obama’s] State and Justice Departments fell far short. So far short that the court questions, even now, whether they are acting in good faith. Did Hillary Clinton use her private email as Secretary of State to thwart this lofty goal [Obama announced standard for transparency]? Was the State Department’s attempt to settle this FOIA case in 2014 an effort to avoid searching – and disclosing the existence of – Clinton’s missing emails? And has State ever adequately searched for records in this case?
“At best, State’s attempt to pass-off its deficient search as legally adequate during settlement negotiations was negligence born out of incompetence. At worst, career employees in the State and Justice Departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.”