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June 07, 2018

Adam Schiff Says He Loved the FBI. The FBI Definitely Didn't Love Him Back.



Eric Felten reads through the Strzok-Page texts and finds them dripping with contempt, and worse, for Congress and its "laws" and "oversight authority."

The whole thing is worth your time. But here's a little of it.

They don't just disdain Congress, they despise it. Is their attitude common in the bureau? It's unlikely Page and Strzok were radical outliers. Both rose to senior positions of authority. Both were trusted with roles in the most sensitive and consequential investigations in recent times--the Hillary Clinton classified email case, the secret counterintelligence inquiry into team Trump, and Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation. Having been two of the most important players in the bureau, their approach to their work can be assumed to reflect the culture of the organization.

...

About a week after Comeyís press conference, Strzok wrote to Page that he was "Worried about work." He was worried about "How much we decide to release, the prospect of second guessing." Itís one thing if the second-guessing came from DoJ's inspector general, but Strzok wasn't about to be overseen by lawmakers: "The IG doing that bugs me;" Strzok texted, "Congress doing so infuriates me."

He was doubly worried because, that day, Chaffetz and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte had sent a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia asking that Hillary Clinton be investigated, and perhaps prosecuted, for perjury. For Strzok, the referral was yet another reason to withhold information requested by Congress: "You read the referral yet?" Strzok asks Page. "We really want to drop the LHM [a summary of an investigation called a Letterhead Memorandum] and 302s [FBI interview notes] into that environment?"

Page called the requests from the Hill, "insulting" and Strzok declared "I just have no faith in Congress to respect our investigative information. The LHM and no more. Not even senior peopleís 302, unless what weíd release via foia [the Freedom of Information Act]."

Even when the FBI was cornered into making documents available, they did their best to hobble efforts to read them. Here's Peter Strzok texting Lisa Page on August 16, 2016, the day the FBI finally turned over a single heavily redacted copy of the 302 notes of Hillary Clintonís FBI interview: "I'm strongly opposed to making any more copies for Congress. We limited on purpose, After careful consideration. If they let any particular committee get the copy, tough. Let them sort it out."

...

Come September 10, 2016, two and a half weeks from when then FBI director Comey would testify before the House Judiciary Committee, Strzok was starting to get concerned about what he had withheld from lawmakers. In particular, there were agent summaries of interviews with witnesses that had been requested, but were never provided to the hill: "thing is, there are VERY inflammatory things in the 302s we didnít turn over to Congress (because they weren't relevant to understanding the focus of the investigation) that are going to come out in FOIA and absolutely inflame CongressÖ"

When a prosecutor wants to withhold something explosive, and claims it's not "relevant," you can bet that it's relevant and he knows it.

Perhaps [the FBI is] taking so much time to respond [to Congressional subpeonas for information] because they want to be extra careful to get things right. Or perhaps there are some in the bureauís headquarters staff who are still slow-walking congressional requests because they share the self-satisfied prejudices of Page and Strzok.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 02:32 PM

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