On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fired disgraced agent Peter Strzok, another in a line of recently fired or demoted FBI and Department of Justice officials. Immediately, social media and the mainstream media exploded. Many called the firing politically motivated while others said it was long overdue. Taking the partisan lens off, it becomes clear the FBI was left with no choice but to fire the embattled agent.
One simple question needs to be asked in the Peter Strzok mania. What job could he do at the FBI?
To work as an FBI agent a high-level security clearance is needed, and according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Strzok no longer has his. The personal actions of former agent Strzok likely put an end to his security clearance.
Let’s not forget Strzok’s extramarital affair. While it is his personal life, when someone has one of the highest security clearances in the country and has access to data about every single American, that person must meet the highest ethical standards.
When an individual fills out an SF-86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, an in-person interview is done to investigate further the applicant getting the security clearance. In these interviews, there are questions about the applicant’s personal life.
The questions are designed to find out if the applicant can be blackmailed. The Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Informationlays out the reasoning for the questions. Section D is titled Sexual Behavior and states, “(a) The concern. Sexual behavior is a security concern if it involves a criminal offense, indicates a personality or emotional disorder, may subject the individual to coercion, exploitation, or duress, or reflects lack of judgment or discretion.”
Section E, titled Personal Conduct, states, “(a) The concern. Conduct involving questionable judgment, untrustworthiness, unreliability, lack of candor, dishonesty, or unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations could indicate that the person may not properly safeguard classified information. The following will normally result in an unfavorable clearance action or administrative termination of further processing for clearance eligibility.”
Having an extramarital affair falls under both categories. Peter Strzok’s affair put him a position to be blackmailed, a clear violation of the rules. For that reason alone, his security clearance should have been pulled.
What good is an FBI agent that cannot look at classified material? Even custodians have some form of clearance.
While the left and the mainstream media celebrated the fact that the DOJ IG report on the Clinton investigation did not explicitly say there was bias as it pertained to the Clinton matter, the report did highlight numerous examples of bias shown by Peter Strzok.
The report stated, “we were concerned about text messages exchanged by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Special Counsel to the Deputy Director, that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.”
The report concluded, “even more seriously, text messages between Strzok and Page pertaining to the Russia investigation, particularly a text message from Strzok on August 8 stating “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.” in response to a Page text “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!,” are not only indicative of a biased state of mind but imply a willingness to take official action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.”
A defense attorney would have a field day with an FBI agent like this on the stand, which according to official records, exhibited bias in an investigation.
Strzok was also at the center of the Russia investigation, which included the now debunked FISA warrant used to spy on former Trump campaign official Carter Page. It is no longer secret that the Steele dossier, which former FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress was “salacious and unverified,” was used as evidence to acquire the warrant.
As lead investigator, it would have been his duty to ensure the information given to the DOJ for the warrant was verified. Not only did that not happen, but the submission of the warrant also broke the law.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) pointed this out in a letter he sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March of this year. The letter lists five criminal statues the Carter Page warrant violated:
- 18 USC 242, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law,
- 50 USC 1809, Criminal Sanctions, someone who engages in electronic surveillance under color of law,
- 18 USC 241, Conspiracy against Rights,
- 18 USC Chapter 73, Obstruction of Justice, and
- Contempt of Court
Peter Strzok is at the center of each and every single one of those crimes.
What good is an FBI agent that cannot be called as a witness for the prosecution in a trial? It is more likely the defense will call Strzok for any investigations he is involved with. All the defense needs is one juror not to trust Strzok, and the jury becomes deadlocked.
What job could Peter Strzok possibly do at the FBI if he doesn’t have a security clearance, can’t write warrants, and cannot be called as a witness? None, so why keep him around?
The FBI is in crisis. The agency knows it needs to have the public’s confidence to do the job it has been chartered to do. The firing of Strzok was just the first step in the FBI regaining its once sterling reputation.
Peter Strzok became a liability to the FBI, and the agency had no recourse but to fire the disgraced agent.
Printus LeBlanc is the Legislative Director for Americans for Limited Government.