Monday, January 22, 2018

The Dog Ate the FBI's Homework

FBI ‘Failed To Preserve’ Five Months Of Text Messages Between Anti-Trump FBI Agents
The FBI “failed to preserve” five months worth of text messages exchanged between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the two FBI employees who made pro-Clinton and anti-Trump comments while working on the Clinton email and the Russia collusion investigations.

The disclosure was made Friday in a letter sent by the Justice Department to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).

“The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page,” Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs at the Justice Department, wrote to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of HSGAC.

He said that texts are missing for the period between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.

Boyd attributed the failure to “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities.”

“The result was that data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected,” Boyd wrote.

Strzok and Page were significant players in the Clinton and Trump investigations. As deputy chief of counterintelligence, Strzok oversaw the Trump investigation when it was opened in July 2016. Weeks earlier, he had wrapped up his work as one of the top investigators on the Clinton email probe.

Both worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation until July 2017.
I'm inclined to give the FBI credit as being merely stupid instead of malicious in this particular goof, since some of the material revealed are pretty damning, like the fact that Strzok and Page apparently knew and commented on Comey's plan to exonerate Hillary even prior to her interview by the FBI. Surely, if there were a plot to hide this apparent collusion, they would have deep-sixed this text as well.

Still, this is evidence of lack of care with legal US archives, even after the revelation the Lois Lerner was using the fact that texts were not being properly archived in her attack on Tea Party non-profits.

Somebody needs to be fired, and not a lowly IT guy (it won't be a girl). It's like the Navy firing the Captains or even higher officers when their ships collides with a slow moving, non-maneuverable  cargo ship. It's the fault of the chain of command not making sure that their charges have the ability, and the will to enforce the rules.

If a company under investigation by the FBI reported that 5 months of records during a critical period were found to be missing due to a archival error, that they would meekly accept that? No, they would charge someone with something, and make their life miserable, just on principle.

But maybe, just maybe, I'm insufficiently cynical: The FBI didn’t come up with a lame excuse because that’s all they could come up with. They came up with a lame excuse because they think that’s all they need.

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