The supposed “technical glitch” that caused months’ worth of text messages between anti-Trump FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page to go missing has now purportedly affected thousands of FBI cellphones.
This latest development comes as officials recently learned that five months of text messages between Strzok and Page from December 14, 2016 through May 17, 2017 were lost at a time when investigators were in the process of discovering damning texts that showed a clear anti-Trump bias within the FBI, Fox News reported.
Department of Justice (DOJ) officials told Fox News that “the glitch affected the phones of ‘nearly’ 10 percent of the FBI’s 35,000 employees.”
The same officials said that they are in the process of trying to recover the physical cellphones affected by the glitch and are also “taking steps” to attempt to recover the missing text messages from the cellphone companies. Fox News further reports:
Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have sent a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz noting that the IG’s office said on Dec. 13 that it had all the messages between Strzok and Page between Nov. 30, 2016 and July 28, 2017.
Lawmakers later learned of the five-month gap.
The lawmakers want the IG’s office to “reconcile” those two points.
The Washington Examiner pointed out a critical detail in the disappearance of the text messages, the conflicting accounts of what happened from the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s Office:
“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,” [Michael E. Horowitz, Justice inspector general] wrote to [Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)].
But last week, the IG’s office changed its story. “The department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI motile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page from December 14, 2016 to approximately to May 17, 2017,” the office wrote.
CBS News Justice Department reporter Paula Reid added that the DOJ confirmed that the period of time the phones were affected ranges from June 2016 through May 2017.
Nearly all of the groundwork that laid the foundation for the Russia investigation took place between June 2016 and May 2017. The first dossier report from former British spy Christopher Steele was on June 20 and the FBI began its investigation in late July. The five-month period of missing texts between Strzok and Page ends on May 17, 2017, the same day that Robert Mueller was appointed the special counsel in the Russia investigation. Of the texts that investigators have reviewed between Strzok and Page, many raise questions about serious political bias within the FBI as the two communicated about an “insurance policy” in case Trump won and a “secret society” within the FBI.