A top FBI official accused Trump-hating former agent Peter Strzok of doing long-term damage to the bureau’s reputation with a “sustained pattern of bad judgment” and “selfishness” in the newly released draft of the 2018 letter firing him.
David Bowdich, who was deputy director of the bureau when he penned the brutally harsh draft of the dismissal letter, told Strzok the damage he caused to the bureau would last for years. He referred specifically to Strzok’s use of “an FBI device,” an apparent reference to the shocking text messages sent on bureau cell phones between Strzok and his paramour, Lisa Page, in which vowed to stop former President Trump from being elected in 2016.
“While there is no doubt your 21 years of service to the organization cannot and should not be erased, it is difficult to fathom the repeated, sustained errors of judgment you made while serving as the lead agent in two of the most high profile investigations in the country,” Bowdich wrote in the August 8, 2018 letter. “Though the Office of the Inspector General found no evidence of bias impacted any of your or the FBI’s investigative actions or decisions, your sustained pattern of bad judgment in the use of an FBI device has called into question for many of the decisions made during both the Clinton e-mail investigation and the initial states of the Russian Collusion investigation.”
“In short, your repeated selfishness has called into question the credibility of the entire FBI.”
Strzok's dismissal letter was published today:
"In my 23 years in the FBI, I have not seen a more impactful series of missteps that has called into question the entire organization and more thoroughly damaged the FBI’s reputation."
— Hans Mahncke (@HansMahncke) September 30, 2022
The draft letter was an attachment in a DOJ response in Strzok’s wide-ranging federal lawsuit alleging violation of his right to privacy and wrongful termination. Strzok’s attorneys deposed Bowdich and are now trying to depose Trump and FBI Director Christopher Wray in a bid to show his firing was political. The DOJ attached the draft letter to rebut the idea that Strzok’s firing was for political reasons.
Bowdich has since left the bureau and is vice president of global security for Disney. Strzok, despite being humiliated by the exposure of his emails, extramarital affair, and repeated bungling of investigations, has written a book and frequently appears on hard-left cable news channel MSNBC to defend the FBI against accusations of political bias.
Strzok served as deputy assistant director of the bureau’s counterintelligence division, leading the investigation into phony Trump-Russia collusion claims and before that, the probe of Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a personal email server to send and receive classified documents.
Strzok was first fired from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and then from the bureau after the Department of Justice’s inspector general in 2017 turned up the damning emails exchanged between him and Page. In them, the pair expressed contempt for Trump and his supporters and Strzok hinted at plans to derail his campaign.
Bowdich claimed Inspector General Michael Horowitz found no evidence that political bias affected FBI investigations involving Strzok, but said the public perception was otherwise.
“In my 23 years in the FBI, I have not seen a more impactful series of missteps which called into question the entire organization and more thoroughly damaged the reputation of the organization,” wrote Bowdich. “In our role as FBI employees we sometimes make unpopular decisions, but the public should be able to examine our work and not have to question motives.”
The two-page letter ends with a blistering reference to Strzok’s failure as a public servant.
“As Deputy Assistant Director, you were expected to be a leader who was beyond reproach and set an example for not only our direct subordinates, but others throughout the organization who watched and observed your behaviors and actions,” Bowdich wrote. “You failed to do so repeatedly and put your own interests [above] the interests of the organization. Though it pains me to do so, it is for this reason that I am dismissing you from the rolls of the FBI.”
In addition to the texts ending Strzok’s career, they appear to have wrecked his personal life. In one exchange the DOJ revealed in response to Strzok’s wrongful termination suit, the pair discuss Strzok’s wife seeing their correspondence.
“My wife has my phone,” Strzok wrote.
“Your wife left me a VM,” Page replied. “Am I supposed to respond? She thinks we’re having an affair. Should I call and correct her understanding? Leave this to you to address?”
“I don’t know,” Strzok wrote. “I said we were close friends and nothing more. She knows I sent you flowers. I said you were having a tough week.”