One of the interesting aspects of the IG report is the documented use of personal email by participants within the FBI “small group” Mid-Year-Exam (MYE) team. [pg 424]
One of those documented examples involves FBI Agent Peter Strzok downloading the content of the sealed Anthony Weiner Indictment, October 29, 2016, to his personal email address. Unauthorized extraction of a ‘sealed SDNY indictment‘, and transmission to a non-secure system, is a felony.
(From summary pg vii) We found that Strzok used his personal email accounts for official government business on several occasions, including forwarding an email from his FBI account to his personal email account about the proposed search warrant the Midyear team was seeking on the Weiner laptop.
==> This email included a draft of the search warrant affidavit, which contained information from the Weiner investigation that appears to have been under seal at the time in the Southern District of New York and information obtained pursuant to a grand jury subpoena issued in the Eastern District of Virginia in the Midyear investigation. <==
We refer to the FBI the issue of whether Strzok’s use of personal email accounts violated FBI and Department policies.
Details of this specific example continue on pages 426, 427, 428 and footnotes #217 #218:
[…] During our review, we identified several instances where Strzok used his personal email account for government business. […] Most troubling, on October 29, 2016, Strzok forwarded from his FBI account to his personal email account an email about the proposed search warrant the Midyear team was seeking on the Weiner laptop.
This email included a draft of the search warrant affidavit, which contained information from the Weiner investigation that appears to have been under seal at the time in the Southern District of New York and information obtained pursuant to a grand jury subpoena issued in the Eastern District of Virginia in the Midyear investigation.
The footnotes here are interesting:
fn #217 reads: ” The OIG previously notified the respective U.S. Attorney’s Offices about Strzok’s actions.”
Presumably fn #217 reflects the Office of Inspector General informing the Southern District of New York (sdny) and Eastern District of Virginia (edva) about Strzok downloading sealed Weiner investigation material to a personal email system and presenting abstracts containing that information to EDVA to gain the Huma Abedin laptop search warrant.
fn #218 reads: “We requested access to Strzok’s personal email account. Strzok agreed to produce copies of work-related emails in his personal account but declined to produce copies of his personal emails. Strzok subsequently told the OIG that he had reviewed the emails residing in his personal mailboxes and found no work-related communications. We determined that we lacked legal authority to obtain the contents of Strzok’s personal email account from his email provider, which requires an Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) search warrant to produce email contents. Strzok’s email provider’s policy applies to opened emails and emails stored for more than 180 days, which ECPA otherwise permits the government to obtain using a subpoena and prior notice to the subscriber. See 18 U.S.C. § 2703(a), (b)(1)(B)(i); COMPUTER CRIME AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, SEARCHING AND SEIZING COMPUTERS AND OBTAINING ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE IN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS at 129-30 (2009). In addition, although we learned that a non-FBI family member had access to Strzok’s personal email account in 2017, Strzok told the OIG that no one else had access to his personal email account during the period in question (i.e., late October 2016).”
(pg 428) We refer to the FBI the issue of whether Strzok’s use of personal email accounts violated FBI and Department policies. As noted above, Page left the Department on May 4, 2018.
Who was the primary stakeholder in the laptop? And who, as a matter of this very specific set of circumstances, did not have any control over the data?
As you consider this seemingly small and innocuous aspect of the IG report…. remember all of the effort that Hillary Clinton’s team put into the control over the information within her email network(s)…. Think about the exhaustive efforts into controlling, deleting, hiding, scrubbing, masking, transferring, bleach-bit wiping, etc. etc. Three years of exhaustive physical and financial expenditures to ensure the content of the communication network was never retrievable by any investigative authority; millions spent, lawyers paid…. and…
Now fast forward to late 2016…
Think about 675,000 emails and Blackberry communications; “emails dated beginning in 2007 and covering the entire period of Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State” [pg 324] just magically appearing in September 2016… and this time, literally, Clinton has no control over them.
Think about it for a few seconds.
Think about the angst.
Think about the potential ramifications.
Think about it from Clinton’s perspective.
Remember, throughout this campaign period her team and the FBI team were working hand-in-glove; a political reciprocity agreement with the Obama White House.
Now consider Page #315:
At 2:30 p.m. on October 26, Midyear FBI personnel, Midyear prosecutors, NYO, and SDNY participated in a conference call about the Weiner laptop. The highest ranking participants for each group on the call were Strzok, Toscas, the NYO A/SAC, and Kim.
The NYO A/SAC, ASAC, SSA, and Weiner case agent all participated in the call. This was the first time that the Weiner case agent had spoken directly with anyone associated with the Midyear investigation.
The case agent told us that he felt he was asked questions about information that he had already reported up the chain of command in September. He stated:
They were asking questions that I had already repeatedly answered in other calls. In other words, people were asking what domains are you seeing? How many emails are you seeing? What do you think you’re seeing? Who are they to, who are they from? What are the domains? Oh, we have that domain? What years? Like, questions that we, I had been asked and either had answered preliminarily, and then we became uncomfortable legally searching for those answers. But these were things that were known to me and had been made known above me for weeks.
The Weiner case agent stated that “the only thing that was new” was that others on the call asked him to speculate on what he had seen. According to the case agent, he stated, “Based on the number of emails, we could have every email that Huma and Hillary ever sent each other. It’s possible, given the pure volume, it’s possible.”
The NYO SSA described the call as “just basically discussions and information about…potentially what…was there, which we still didn’t know because we hadn’t looked at anything.” The A/SAC thought the call was “matter-of-fact” and said it was the first time they were questioned by an NSD lawyer.
According to the A/SAC’s notes, NYO briefed that there were 675,000 emails on the laptop spanning a time period from 2006 to 2016, and stated that there “appears to be blackberry messages” on the laptop.
The FBI’s Midyear team told us that they learned important new information on the call. Strzok described it as “the triggering event” and FBI Attorney-1 [Tashina Gauhar] stated that this was the “call where it was crystallized to me what was on the laptop.” (link)
Who were the stakeholders?
Knowing the nature of all FBI investigative benefits-of-doubt previously afforded throughout 2015 and 2016; do you think the FBI DC team didn’t immediately notify Team Clinton directly or through some facilitating channel?
Perhaps the answer to that question outlines why Peter Strzok suddenly found a need to download the sealed SDNY Weiner indictment and transfer it to his personal email?
Curioser and curiouser…