A series of damning new text messages released Wednesday prove that former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok colluded with the New York Times and Washington Post by leaking stories they published about the FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and President Trump’s campaign during the spring of 2017.
The text messages prove that Strzok, along with his girlfriend, former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, had been in contact with top reporters from both newspapers and were working with them to create news stories to damage the reputation of President Trump. Strzok specifically mentioned two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times writer Michael Schmidt in his text message to Page.
In one message, texted to Page on April 14, 2017, Strzok wrote, “Also, apparently Times is angry with us about the WP (Washington Post) scoop and earlier discussion we had about the Schmidt piece that had so many inaccuracies. Too much to detail here, but I told Mike (redacted) and Andy they need to understand we were absolutely dealing in good faith with them. The FISA one, coupled with the Guardian piece from yesterday.”
With agency whistleblowers on edge and President Trump warning that news leaks are criminal acts, the Congressional Research Service on Feb. 22 sent Congress one of its “legal sidebars” reviewing past approaches to distinguishing between illegal and legal contact with the media.
The gist: numerous federal employees have been prosecuted for leaking classified material, and Peter Strzok faces up to 10 years in prison.
The content of the bombshell text messages also directly contradict the claims of Peter Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, after it was revealed earlier this week that Strzok and Page discussed a “media leak strategy” in some of their text messages. Strzok’s attorney Goelman claimed, “the term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media.”
Goelman’s statement came after President Trump tweeted about the newly revealed text messages and North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asking him to investigate the text from Strzok regarding the “media leak strategy.”
Sara Carter reports: According to several U.S. officials who spoke to this news outlet, “Mike” mentioned in Strzok’s text message is Mike Kortan, the former FBI assistant director for public affairs who retired in February. “Andy” was in reference to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. McCabe was fired earlier this year after it was revealed in DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report that said he lied to investigators and leaked information to the media.
On April 11, 2017, The Washington Post broke a story titled “FBI Obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump advisor Carter Page,” which contained detailed information that the FBI had obtained a secret court order to monitor Page, a short-term Trump campaign volunteer, in October 2016. The story, written by Ellen Nakashima, Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous referred to unnamed U.S. law enforcement and other U.S. officials who told The Washington Post that the FBI and Department of Justice obtained the warrant on Page after “convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.”
However, in April 2017, former FBI Director James Comey had signed the third renewal on Page, according to reports. In June, Rosenstein would sign off on the fourth FISA warrant renewal application to allow the FBI to continue monitoring all of Page’s communications, which ended in September 2017, after the renewal expired.
“It may constitute a waiver of any reason for secrecy provisions that are part of a warrant application,” said criminal and civil rights attorney, David Schoen. “Under the rules of the FISA court, their disclosure to a third party should have been revealed to the FISA court. It’s a material fact that should be disclosed under the FISA court rules and besides all that it would certainly violate FBI rules. The question is why was he doing that? Why was he leaking it?”
Schoen believes there is no reason the FISAs should not be declassified considering they were willing to leak the information to the Washington Post.
The Washington Post story also suggested that the FISA warrant on Page “is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump associate was in touch with Russian agents.”
Page, who has denied any wrongdoing and has never been taken into custody for the claims made by the FBI, said his life was turned upside down when his name was leaked to the media. He said he has also received death threats and his reputation was tarnished after former British spy Christopher Steele leaked parts of his unverified anti-Trump dossier to the media.
“Like I’ve said all along this is a complete joke,” Page told SaraACarter.com. “It’s not about me, they are just trying to undercut the Trump administration’s accomplishments.”