A Republican lawmaker suspects that former FBI official Peter Strzok is the unnamed serial leaker referred to in an investigative summary released on May 29 by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Georgia) substantiated his suspicion in a letter (pdf) to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, whose office released a summary showing that someone with the same title as Strzok–deputy assistant director (DAD)–leaked sealed court information in violation of federal law, maintained contacts with dozens of reporters, and accepted a gift from a reporter in violation of FBI policy and federal statutes.
“While the DAD is not named in the Summary, there are several indications the DAD in question is former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok,” Collins wrote.
He points out that Horowitz’s report on the Clinton-email investigation, dubbed the Midyear investigation by the FBI, shows that Strzok forwarded an email from his FBI account to his personal account about a proposed search warrant the Clinton-email investigators were seeking on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. That email included information that was filed under seal with a federal court in the Southern District of New York, according to the report.
Collins also notes that “no other Deputy Assistant Director was in the chain of command of the Midyear investigation, the main subject of the 2018 report.” The congressman then asks if the DAD referred to in the report is, in fact, Strzok, whether Strzok was referred for prosecution to the DOJ and why the DOJ declined the prosecution. Collins inquired if the relevant court has been notified that the DAD illegally disclosed sealed information and what action the court took in response.
Collins also asked Horowitz for an update on the investigation on alleged leaks by former FBI Director James Comey.
In a separate letter (pdf) to Attorney General William Barr, Collins requested an update into the leak investigations of former FBI General Counsel James Baker and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Collins also asked Barr to report on how many leak investigations the bureau is currently undertaking.
According to text messages between Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, on Oct. 24 to 28, 2016, Page was communicating with Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett.
Barrett went on to publish an article on Oct. 30, 2016, which triggered a leak investigation by the FBI that was handed off to the DOJ inspector general. That leak investigation determined that then-FBI Deputy Director McCabe authorized Page to leak to Barrett.
McCabe went on to lie three times under oath about authorizing the leak, according to the inspector general’s report (pdf) released in February 2018.
The bureau fired McCabe in March 2018 based on the findings of that report; Page left the bureau in May 2018; Strzok was fired in August 2018. Trump fired Comey in May 2017.
Over the course of the inquiry into the handling of the Clinton-email investigation, the DOJ inspector general identified dozens of FBI employees who had unauthorized contacts with media, according to the watchdog’s final report (pdf) released in June 2018.
“We have profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered during our review,” the inspector general’s report stated.
Strzok concurrently led the Clinton-email investigation and the probe into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The inspector general is expected to soon release a report on the inquiry into potential surveillance abuses carried out against the Trump campaign during the Russia investigation.