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.
The Justice Department acknowledged in a statement on Thursday night that copies of private text messages exchanged between two former special counsel investigators were disclosed to certain members of the media before they were given to Congress, even though those disclosures “were not authorized.”
DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told Politico that the text messages exchanged between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were given to key members of the House Judiciary Committee the night before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s public testimony on Wednesday.
The DOJ’s Public Affairs division shared the same messages with a group of reporters after they were shared with the lawmakers, Flores said. But some members of the media “had already received copies.”
“As we understand now, some members of the media had already received copies of the texts before that — but those disclosures were not authorized by the department,” she said.