FBI fails to preserve messages

January 22, 2018

To quote Dana Carvey’s “SNL” character, “The Church Lady,” “Well, isn’t this conveeeeeenient?” It seems that about five months’ worth of text messages between anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok and his girlfriend, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, during a particularly critical period of the campaign/Hillary email investigation, have somehow failed to be retained by the FBI’s system, due to some sort of tech “glitch.” Sort of like the one that erased all those IRS records that might have proven targeting of Tea Party groups, or the one at the State Department that lost 33,000 of Hillary emails? You know, the ones federal agencies are required by law to preserve?

Where I come from, claiming that “the dog ate my evidence” is not cause for dropping an investigation. Oftentimes, it’s cause for adding another charge to the indictment. It’s especially rich when you consider these are the people who are allegedly trying to build a case for “obstruction of justice” against Trump for firing FBI head James Comey, whom he had the absolute power to fire for any reason, and who, as we are learning more every day, richly deserved to get the ax.

Frankly, I’m fed up with seeing well-connected insiders skate on abusing their power because the evidence conveniently disappeared. We all know that virtually everything we send by electronic means is recorded somewhere. It would be awfully ironic if the only text messages of the past eight years that weren’t recorded by the government were the ones between these two. I have just two words for the FBI on this topic:

“Look harder!”

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Comments 1-2 of 2

  • Elizabeth Litts

    01/23/2018 06:22 PM

    When are we the People going to get insulted enough to do something about these left over Obama toadies???

  • Dennis Killeen

    01/22/2018 04:56 PM

    The news this weekend that the FBI does not have months of text messages is really troubling and on a few levels. It is hard to believe the preeminent law enforcement agency is either stupid, incompetent or corrupt. There are 30,000 agents working hard every day and risk their lives only to have their fellow agents or superiors besmirch their reputation.

    The FBI IT staff, whether they were in-house or subcontractors, are either incompetent or corrupt. There is no way a credible IT staff would not have checked to see that the messages were being maintained. This would have been paramount in any rollover between technologies. It would have been tested and tested again before the rollout.

    Next where are the backups? This is the same excuse the IRS used that “the backups failed”. That turned to be a lie. Any IT staff would have ensured this task was functioning before a rollout. It would have been on the project managers check list, right along with the message copying function.

    I am always afraid that congressional leaders do not know enough about these types of projects to ask the right questions. There had to be several levels of approval in any technology project, especially one of this magnitude. The project plan had to have specific milestones that required signoff. I would almost guarantee, I will get back to this, that: text backup, message copying, compatibility to ensure message conversations were maintained, contacts information was ported from one device to another, can older messages on the “cloud” server be retrieved on the new device, can a user restore their device properly in the event of failure. I am not even on the FBI IT team, but I have executed these projects over a 50 year career in IT.

    This is what upsets me: the FBI thinks I am stupid, along with congress. Let me return to the “almost guarantee” I mentioned earlier. If none of the items I listed would have been a milestone event on the project plan, I would fire everyone associated with the conversion. If there was an outside vendor involved I would sue them in court for non-deliverance.

    When the rollout occurred, and I am sure it was a phased rollout, nobody on the team checked to see if their responsibility performed correctly? They did not check to see if the alpha group was not working to 100% compliance before rolling out to the beta group? No way that any reputable IT person would not do that. It is in their genes to make sure their work was done correctly. So who was the person responsible for the QA on the rollout?

    So I am faced with the terrible perception that the corruption in the FBI is wider than the public has seen to date. My first thought was Strzok is in the HR department, and damn, five months of text go missing right up to the date Mueller takes over. Although Strzok could not, or should not, have been able to execute any erasure on his own.
    A simple suggestion. Call the IT team together, ask for the project plan, see who signed off on the milestones, who checked that the initial rollout was working? Which vendors, Verizon maybe, signed off that the project was solid. I am sorry, but Wray should already be doing this as I type. So call him. You represent the taxpayer and they work for us.

    The taint on the FBI is painful, especially to those FBI agents who do their jobs without fanfare. It also reflects badly on the global scene as now the FBI is going to be compared with the likes of the KGB. Not a comparison that I support.

    By the way, was congress included in the rollout to the new phones? Any other agency? Did they lose their messages? I hope not, as national security comes into question.