Pictured: U.S. Attorney General William Barr (left) and FBI Director Christopher Wray on December 18, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
One is supposed to believe that Attorney General William Barr is in charge of the Department of Justice, and that FBI Director Christopher Wray works for Barr. Both men purportedly work for President Donald J. Trump. President Trump has been very clear about his desire and directives to declassify and release all materials related to the "Russia!" hoax. The President is consistently ignored by his staff.
Judicial Watch submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on February 16, 2018, to the FBI. It sought text messages sent from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2015, between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and FBI attorney Lisa Page, FBI Special Agent Jennifer Leonard, FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, and/or Obama administration Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco. In response, the FBI denied the request, asserting (incredibly) that text messages are not subject to FOIA.
Judicial Watch challenged the FBI's determination. It filed an administrative appeal with the Department of Justice arguing that "text messages involving government-related business sent between government officials, whom all of the persons identified in the scope of the request are, do in fact constitute government records that fall within the purview of FOIA." [Emphasis added]
In response, the Justice Department's Office of Information Policy remanded Judicial Watch's request for "further review," but the FBI ignored the directive and continues to withhold any text messages. Judicial Watch sued on October 19, 2020, just a few days ago, after the FBI failed to respond (again) to the remanded request.
The Wray FBI is acting in a disgracefully dishonest manner, and the attorneys of the Barr Justice Department are the advocates peddling this nonsense in federal courts. Here is what your government says it can do: Delete and keep secret all text messages – including those by the dirty cops running an illicit coup against President Trump.
Keep in mind that this sort of arrogant, uncorrected (and largely ignored) corruption goes on in Washington DC all the time. AG Barr accepts it all and takes no action.
Last month, Judicial Watch uncovered that senior members of Robert Mueller's Special Counsel's Office (SCO) repeatedly and "accidentally" wiped over 20 phones assigned to them. All just a coincidence, right?
The President has the authority to appoint his own Special Counsel (28 C.F.R. Part 600). He is not required to wait for AG Barr to act. Given AG Barr's affinity for nonsense like Mueller's wiped phones and denying that government text messages on government phones, sent by government agents, on government time about government business are somehow not government records – one is left to believe the President has waited far too long for AG Barr to actually "do" something (beyond Durham's indictment one third-stringer flunky DoJ attorney [Clinesmith].
Ask yourself why AG Barr fights Judicial Watch in virtually every FOIA lawsuit seeking records over the Obamagate coup plot. Why does he permit the FBI to claim in court that their agents' text messages on their government phones are not government records? That's insultingly preposterous – but it is the Justice Department's position. Your tax dollars in action.
At this point, one must believe that someone in the Trump White House has caught onto this pattern of conduct at the FBI and the Justice Department. The President is not well-served if this goes on and on and on – at this point for years – and no real action is taken. The past Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Rick Grenell, seemed to make some headway. Now DNI John Ratcliffe has moved the ball down the field a few more yards. Should President Trump be re-elected, the time will have come to break some china and flip over some tables at the FBI and Justice. Hopefully, President Trump will then show people what a "disruptor" truly looks like.
Chris Farrell is a former counterintelligence case officer. For the past 20 years, he has served as the Director of Investigations & Research for Judicial Watch. The views expressed are the author's alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.