Text messages can tell investigators a lot about a suspected crime … but sometimes, it’s the messages that aren’t there that provide important clues.
Officials are now asking hard questions about the FBI and its employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who held apparent bias against Donald Trump but were still closely involved in investigations that impacted the 2016 election.
In the latest twist to a growing scandal within the Obama-era Department of Justice, Inspector General Michael Horowitz is now probing whether the FBI or DOJ purposely deleted incriminating text messages that showed bias or incompetence.
According to Fox News, major “gaps” have been found in the messages exchanged by Strzok and Page, two FBI employees who held strong bias for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and against Trump.
Strzok in particular was closely involved in both the Clinton email server instigation and the early inquiry into Trump’s unproven Russian connections. The messages previously uncovered raise the possibility of widespread political favoritism and possible plans by FBI personnel to undermine Trump.
“The latest batch of text messages between the two officials, who once served on the Russia probe and have come under scrutiny for exchanging anti-Trump and other politically charged texts, was turned over to Congress last week,” explained Fox.
“The texts show numerous messages in a row sent to Page from Strzok’s phone, on different dates, without a response from Page,” continued the report.
Many of the gaps in the messages are so dramatic, conversations are cut off in mid-sentence and the replies are completely missing.
One such message form Strzok reads: “They think he is unstable, that he can be manipul.”
“Super. I’m not reading tonight, I’m going to try t,” says the reply, clearly truncated.
“Another example is Strzok texting Page, ‘So please don’t share with Andy [McCabe] yet, I wonder if they’ve al,'” reported Fox News.
“It continues, ‘And both bill and I have an utter lack of faith in.’ Page responds, ‘GOD HAVE I MENTIONED HOW FRUSTRATING AND AWFUL MY,'” continued the report.
The question that the inspector general must now answer is whether these gaps are deliberate deletions or part of a technical glitch that occurred when officials tried to recover messages from Strzok and Page’s phones.
Of course, even that data recovery would have been unnecessary if the FBI hadn’t supposedly “lost” the messages to begin with. It isn’t the first time that suspicious gaps in the record have appeared, either.
“Lawmakers on Capitol Hill complained about an apparent gap in records between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017 — key dates covering the presidential transition, the early days of the Trump administration, the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” explained Fox.
It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that there is either deception or incompetence at work. Both are appalling — after all, the FBI is supposed to be the pinnacle of professionalism and impartiality, yet a growing stack of evidence suggests that its people were more busy choosing favorites and ranting about how they could stop the president-elect.
Mistakes and glitches do happen, of course. But at what point do these gaps and delays stretch the limits of credibility?
There’s a saying made famous by Ian Fleming: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”
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