Where Are the Rest of the FBI Text Messages?

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From what the American public has seen so far, the text messages exchanged between FBI Agent Peter Strzok and Lisa Page represent one of our clearest glimpses yet of the corruption and bias lurking within the U.S. intelligence community. From blunt messages like “f*ck Trump” to bizarre, conspiratorial messages that hint at a “secret society” of officials opposed to the Trump presidency, these texts have shaken the country’s faith in our top law enforcement agency. Even conservatives and moderates who previously thought all of this talk about a “deep state conspiracy” was so much Trumpian fantasy are being forced to acknowledge there may be something to the theory after all. And when the Justice Department revealed that five months’ worth of the messages had gone missing? Well, now you’re asking us to believe the incredible.

Congress has likely only seen a small fraction of the total texts between these two living blemishes on the FBI, and there is no certainty that Republican lawmakers (or the public) will ever see more. The DOJ claims to be in the midst of retrieving the “lost” messages, but it remains to be seen if they will ever complete that particular search. It strikes us as extremely interesting that messages declared “lost” one day can suddenly be “re-discovered” after a public outcry. You’re telling us that the FBI and the Justice Department aren’t playing games? We need transparency and we need it pronto.

Beyond the so-called “missing” text messages, the Justice Department has actually only handed over a small fraction of the available remaining messages. 7,000, according to the official count. That’s in comparison to a total of more than 50,000 messages sent between the two (!). And according to Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, that may be all the DOJ is willing to hand over to Congress. In a letter to investigators, Boyd said that the rest of the messages were, essentially, none of their beeswax.

“The department is not providing text messages that were purely personal in nature,” Boyd wrote. “Furthermore, the department has redacted from some work-related text messages portions that were purely personal. The department’s aim in withholding purely personal text messages and redacting personal portions of work-related text messages was primarily to facilitate the committee’s access to potentially relevant text messages without having to cull through large quantities of material unrelated to either the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server or the investigation into Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”

That’s very thoughtful, but we’re confident that lawmakers have the resources necessary to comb through these messages and distinguish for themselves what is relevant and what isn’t. Frankly, this hearkens back to the State Department’s justification for allowing Hillary Clinton and her team of lawyers to decide what was and wasn’t worth turning over. Sorry, but when you’re using phones paid for by the federal government, you’re on the public record. You don’t now get to decide to protect your personal privacy – especially not when you’ve been caught with your hand in the Traitor’s Cookie Jar.