Ah, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The FBI’s favorite lovebirds. It’s such a shame that their fairytale romance was spoiled by a bunch of right-wing conspiracy theorists, the fact that they sent a bunch of politically inflammatory texts regarding individuals they were investigating and the fact that they were both were married to other people. True love really is dead.
However, if you want to see the dying embers of that ill-starred fling, I have some good news: over 20,000 more “lost” texts from them have been uncovered thus far. So, if they’re ever declassified, you can see even more of Strzok and Page than you’ve already seen. The amour. The chills. The incessant calls to “stop” Trump.
So, as you may have already heard, a lot of messages between Strzok and Page weren’t preserved properly — specifically, those between the end of the 2016 election and Robert Mueller’s special counsel. Strzok, as you also may have heard, was part of that special counsel investigation until the agent was taken off and buried in human resources after his texts with Page about Trump (and how much they mutually loathed him) were discovered.
A partially redacted report by the Office of the Inspector General released on Thursday revealed the results of their investigation into the missing messages — namely, 20,071 new texts.
“The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General initiated this investigation upon being notified of a gap in text message data collection during the period December 15, 2016 through May 17, 2017, from Federal Bureau of Investigation mobile devices assigned to FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page relevant to a matter being investigated by the OIG’s Oversight and Review Division,” the report read.
“Specifically, the OIG’s Cyber Investigations Office was asked to attempt recovery of these missing text message for the referenced period from FBI issued mobile devices issued to Strzok and Page.
“In view of the content of many of the text messages between Strzok and Page, the OIG also asked the Special Counsel’s Office to provide the OIG the DOJ issues iPhones that had been assigned to Strzok and Page during their respective assignments to the SCO (Special Counsel’s Office).”
The investigation, according to the report, involved tracking down the phones used by both Strzok and Page during the period.
“The OIG asked the FBI Inspection Division to locate the FBI issued Samsung Galaxy S5 devices formerly assigned to the subject employees and to obtain from the same individuals their assigned FBI issued Samsung Galaxy S7 devices,” the report read.
“The FBI provided these four devices to the OIG in late January 2018. CYBER utilized digital forensic tools to obtain data extractions from the four FBI issued mobile devices.
“To ensure the thoroughness of text message recovery efforts, OIG also consulted with the Department of Defense, conducted additional quality assurance steps and hired a Subject Matter Expert.
“The result of these steps was the recovery of thousands of text messages within the period of the missing text messages, December 15, 2016 through May 17, 2017, as well as hundreds of other text messages outside the gap time period that had not been produced by the FBI due to technical problems with its text message collection tool.”
I feel almost like giving that trademark Peter Strzok grin at that bit of information:
And that grin only gets more Damien-like when we see just how big of a trove of texts this produced: “The OIG forensically recovered thousands of text messages from FBI mobile devices issued to Strzok and Page through its multiple extraction efforts.
“Approximately 9,311 text messages were recovered from Strzok’s S5 (Samsung),” the report read. “Approximately 10,760 text messages were recovered from Page’s S5.”
That’s a grand total of 20,071, for those of you without a calculator handy.
Now, what do these messages contain? We don’t really know at this point. For all we know, Strzok and Page stopped talking about Trump on Dec. 15, 2016. Maybe they decided it was time to start taking their job seriously and throw partisanship out the window. And maybe I’m Ross Perot.
The report says that what they found “included some political content, some work-related content, and some personal content.” Nevertheless, the OIG couldn’t find any “discernable (sic) patterns regarding the content of text messages missed by the collection tool but captured by enterprise.db, or captured by the collection tool but not found in the enterprise.db database.”
However, the important part was that “some political content” and how it might connect to that “work-related content.” If it’s anything like what we’ve seen already, we can prepare for yet more fireworks involving the Heloise and Abelard of the FBI.
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