Peter Strzok, an FBI agent who led its investigation into the 2016 White House race prior to being removed for allegedly expressing animosity towards President Trump, repeatedly complained about quality of the bureau’s cyber division in newly released text messages.
Mr. Strzok referred to the FBI’s Cyber Division as dysfunctional and “broken” in a series of texts sent to FBI attorney Lisa Page and released by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday amid the panel’s investigation into the criminal probe conducted during the 2016 race against Mr. Trump’s rival, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, over her use of a private email server while secretary of state.
“CyD is WILDLY disfunctional [sic]. I mean really bad. They can do individual investigations but there is NO coherent program management,” Mr. Strzok wrote in text dated Dec. 5, 2015.
FBI’s Cyber Division is “incapable of pulling it head out of its its ass,” Mr. Strzok texted Ms. Page on Sept 9, 2016. “cyber is f***** up. Cyber needs to fix itself. Cybers way of doing business is unacceptable.”
“They’re BROKEN, Lisa!” Mr. Strzok said in a text dated Oct. 9, 2016. “Is it going to take some f*cking 9/11 - type event for everybody to stop saying, just coordinate better, have lots of meetings, figure it out? The [FBI] will still recruit cyber people if we have a directorate. We will still recruit people if we can offer them work against cyber criminals, or state actors, or terrorist.”
“CyD prepping for election day on November 35th,” he joked in another text sent less than a month before Mr. Trump defeated Mrs. Clinton.
Mr. Strzok was chief of the FBI’s counterespionage division during the bureau’s investigation into Mrs. Clinton and her use of a private email server while secretary of state. The FBI ultimately declined to bring charges against Mrs. Clinton, and the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee subsequently launched a review of the government’s investigation.
Mr. Strzok was later appointed to lead special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election and allegations of Russian interference, but he was removed last summer after the bureau became aware of text messages he sent to Ms. Page suggesting a bias against Mr. Trump.
“NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!” Mr. Trump tweeted following their release Wednesday morning without citing specific exchanges.
“There is a lot within those text messages that gives us great cause for concern,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later Wednesday.
The U.S. intelligence community announced last January that Russia interfered in the 2016 White House race, and allegations of Moscow’s election meddling are currently being investigated by the special counsel’s office on behalf of FBI as well as in committees in the House and Senate.
Russia has denied meddling in the 2016 race, and the White House has denied colluding with the Kremlin.