Judicial Watch: New Emails Reveal FBI Official Peter Strzok Insisted on Retaining Declassification and other Authorities for Mueller Special Counsel Assignment
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 14 pages of FBI documents concerning the assignment of former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s operation, showing that Strzok insisted on retaining his FBI security clearance before moving to the Mueller team and confirming that Strzok played a pivotal role in the flawed Hillary Clinton email investigation.
The records were received in response to a December 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that was filed after the FBI failed to respond to an August 17, 2017, FOIA request (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (No. 1:17-cv-02682)). Judicial Watch seeks:
- All records regarding the assignment of FBI Supervisor Peter Strzok to the special counsel’s investigation led by former Director Robert Mueller.
- All records related to the reassignment of FBI Supervisor Peter Strzok from the special counsel’s investigation to another position within the FBI.
- This request includes, but is not limited to, any and all forms SF-50 and/or SF-52, as well as any and all related records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the FBI and any other individual or entity.
A series of emails reveal Strzok’s insistence that he retain all the authorities he held as a deputy assistant director (DAD) in the counterintelligence division (CD), including his security clearance, after his reassignment to the special counsel’s office. In a July 13, 2017 email to numerous FBI officials, some of whom are redacted, Strzok says:
Broadly, I need to be able to act at least in the capacity of my old CD DAD job – approve NSLs [national security letters], conduct [redacted] declassify information, [redacted] agent travel, requisitions, etc. Of those, the most problematic and one of the most essential is declassification authority.
In response, FBI assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division William Priestap assures Strzok he will remain free to act just as he did while a deputy assistant director of the counterintelligence division and, further, that he will remain on the FBI’s books as a “floating DAD:”
In answer to your initial question, while assigned to the Special Counsel’s office, you will retain your CD DAD authorities, to include declassification authority.
Since you will take your non-transferrable declassification authority with you, CD will work to obtain another declassification authority slot for the DAD who is chosen to replace you.
Assuming the 7th floor approves, you will remain on CD’s books as a fourth (floating) DAD. When you move on from your DAD position, your DAD slot will revert back to HRD.
“These new emails show anti-Trump FBI official Peter Strzok’s ‘assignment’ gave the Mueller Special Counsel operation special authorities to target President Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We know Strzok can’t be trusted and the Special Counsel should tell us if Strzok abused his special authorities to target President Trump.”
Strzok was reportedly removed from the Mueller investigative team in August 2017 and reassigned to a human resources position after it was discovered that he and another FBI lawyer, Lisa Page exchanged text messages during the Clinton investigation and campaign season that raise serious about his anti-Trump/pro-Clinton bias. They were also engaged in an extramarital affair.
Strzok oversaw the FBI’s interviews of former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn. He changed former FBI Director James Comey’s language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her illicit email server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.” He also played a lead role in the FBI’s interview of Clinton and is suspected of being responsible for using the unverified dossier to obtain a FISA warrant in order to spy on President Trump’s campaign.