Due to the recent deluge of FBI news, this update on former FBI agent and self-appointed Trump nemesis Peter Strzok had to wait a few days. Strzok, you ask?? Yes, he’s been back in the news again lately because of his ongoing lawsuit against the Bureau to get his job back, WITH back pay. However, the just-released termination letter sent to him in August 2018 by then-Deputy Director David Bowdich is not going to do much to help his case.
Consider this excerpt: “As I considered all the known facts associated with the adjudication of your case, it was difficult to imagine another incident like yours which brought so much discredit to the organization. In my 23 years in the FBI, I have not seen a more impactful series of missteps which called into question the entire organization and more thoroughly damaged the reputation of the entire organization. In our role as FBI employees, we must sometimes make unpopular decisions, but the public should be able to examine our work and not have to question our motives.”
Bowdich said in the letter that he took out all the politics, pundits, commentary and media in order to reach his decision in Strzok’s case, concluding, “When I strip away all the ‘noise,’ I am left with the facts and the extremely damaging impact to our organization, which will take years to overcome.”
Whew! What could Strzok possibly say to get his job back in light of this? Honestly, the only argument that comes to mind is that since he left the FBI, it’s gone so much further into the dumper that he might as well come back.
It’s surprising that Strzok is suing for back pay, considering that after he was fired, he was given a lucrative book deal, has been featured prominently as an analyst on CNN, and received a teaching job at Georgetown University. He was canonized by the left; there’s no word on how much he might have made in speaking fees, but we can imagine. Surely Strzok, who's lucky he wasn't sent up the river, has made boatloads more money as a disgraced FBI agent than he was making during his years with the Bureau.
As Jonathan Turley said in August, “It was an extraordinary recovery from a scandal where he showed flagrant bias, engaged in an affair with another married colleague at the FBI, and fought to continue to investigate Russian collusion claims despite early warnings over the questionable basis of the allegations pushed by the Clinton campaign.”
His piece sums up Strzok’s exploits nicely.
(Note: Turley mentions that Lisa Page, the aforementioned married colleague, also received a media contract, but hers is as a legal analyst for NBC and MSNBC. So at least they’re not passing each other in the halls all day.)
“Strzok often seems to lack any self-awareness of his past controversy,” Turley says. Indeed, the fact that after all he’s done to damage the FBI, he would be SUING the FBI is evidence of that.
One thing that’s been hard to uncover: Was Strzok denied his pension from the Bureau? He was fired at 48, two years before he normally would have started receiving his full pension, but news reports vaguely suggest that he might still have been granted part of it. Heck, if he’s nervy enough to go for all his back pay after what he did, he’s probably suing for his pension, too. But I don’t think most of us would get very far with a termination letter like the one he got.