Feds Reach Settlement with Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in Privacy Claims Case

Congratulations, America! Your tax dollars will be used to pay former FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who both claimed that their privacy was violated by the disclosure of their texts in connection with the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email and the “Russia Collusion hoax” regarding former President Donald Trump.

The Justice Department settled a long-running lawsuit stemming from the decision to release text messages in 2017 between two former FBI agents involved in the investigation of alleged links between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The Justice Department announced on Tuesday that it had settled legal claims brought by former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and fired FBI agent Peter Strzok in 2019, alleging that their privacy was violated.

The settlement terms were not disclosed by the notice. It stated that Strzok’s claim that his firing violated both his First Amendment rights and his due process rights was not resolved. The lawsuit alleging that Trump pressured the FBI to fire Strzok before he could receive his full retirement salary is still ongoing.

Officials said that the texts were given to journalists around the time they were sent to Capitol Hill. The disclosure was intended to prevent lawmakers who were hostile to Strzok or Page from taking out of context the most incendiary messages.

The messages show that the couple, who were involved in an extramarital relationship, sent texts to each other describing Trump as “idiot”, saying Hillary Clinton deserved a win by a large margin, and discrediting Trump supporters. Strzok – who was also involved in the investigation into Clinton’s handling classified information – referred to the FBI Russia probe as an “insurance policy”, which Trump and supporters interpreted as suggesting it would be placed over Trump’s heads if he were to win the election.

The settlement, as noted above only resolves the privacy violations claims of Strzok & Page. The settlement does not resolve Strzok’s claims that his First Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights have been violated by his firing.

I confess that I had forgotten about the lawsuit filed by the lovers over their texts being revealed. Strzok’s Complaint is a good read for Sunday. The opening sentence was hilarious.

Peter Strzok has served his country for over 25 years as a Special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and in the Armed Services.

One of the things that immediately came to mind when I thought about the privacy claims was that the exchanges had taken place on devices issued by the government. The Government raised this point in its Motion to dismiss or, at the alternative, for summary judgment.

The communication between Plaintiff and Government Attorney did not take place on personal devices but on Department-issued devices that had clear banner warnings informing users of the lack any reasonable expectation privacy. Id. Id. P 14. Id. P15. Plaintiff and Government Attorney were aware or should have known that these texts could have been reviewed by others within the Department, and perhaps even subject to a FOIA Request or disclosed as part of criminal prosecutions. Id.

I’ve always wondered about this — Strzok and Page must have known that their carry-on devices were department-issued. They may have been so sure of their own righteousness that they thought they wouldn’t be called to account or questioned. This is disturbing in itself.

It appears, in any case, that the Midyear Exam debacle and Crossfire Hurricane is nearing its end. I would like to believe that the settlement amounts were of a peanut variety, but I am not so naive. Now that I have been reminded about Strzok’s ongoing First Amendment and Fifth Amendment litigation I will continue to monitor it to see how it all turns out.