Members of the FBI and Justice Department’s top brass at their Washington D.C.headquarters and other field offices are now using burner phones to stay under the radar of federal investigators and lawmakers, according to FBI insiders.
The shocking revelations come on the heels of news that the FBI deleted thousands of text messages between anti-Trump FBI agents before investigators could review their content.
While that is disturbing on one level, FBI and DOJ hierarchy employing the telecom habits of drug cartel bosses reaches a new low for the once-heralded federal law enforcement agency and the DOJ. And breaks federal laws as well.
Intel points to top FBI and DOJ officials communicating via:
- Burner or disposable smart phones purchased with cash and charged with cash or money order
- Encrypted phone and web apps, including SIGNAL employed for anonymous texting
- Phones issued in the name of a spouse or family member, conceivably out of reach of federal subpoenas
Use of such telecom devices as part of official government business violates a host of federal laws, insiders said.
But that hasn’t slowed their use by top law enforcement personnel in the United States.
With many key personnel in the FBI currently under the microscope of the Inspector General — for potential criminal violations — top FBI and DOJ officials are communicating on disposable phones via text, voice and internet access to encrypted texting apps, FBI insiders confirm.
“The IG is aware of this,” one FBI insider said. “They have been up on these guys for a long time.”
The FBI source’s comments reflect the fact that the Inspector General has had court-approved wiretaps running on key members in the FBI and DOJ linked to an assortment of public scandals.
One of the main reasons why the Inspector General’s report of its investigation of the FBI has been delayed is because investigators keep getting wiretap intelligence on the key players, the FBI official said.
“It is OK to publicize this now, because they have dug themselves a very big hole,” the FBI source said. “They have switched to burners.”
Multiple FBI and federal law enforcement sources disclosed earlier that the IG was running wiretaps on FBI and DOJ officials to True Pundit but requested an embargo on publishing the information which would interfere with the investigation. True Pundit agreed to withhold until given the green light to publish.
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.