When word broke about the “secret society” text sent between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page the day after the election, my initial thought was that it must be some kind of inside joke between two partisans. But this evening I’m being forced to reconsider. On today’s edition of Special Report, Sen. Ron Johnson told host Bret Baier that he has an informant who claims there really was a group at the DOJ holding some kind of secret, offsite meetings.
“And that secret society, we have an informant that’s talking about a group that were holding secret meetings offsite,” Johnson said adding, “There is so much smoke here…”
At this point, Baier interrupted Johnson to clarify what he’d just heard, “Let’s stop there. A secret society—secret meetings offsite of the justice department?”
“Correct,” Johnson replied.
“And you have an informant saying that?” Baier asked.
“Yes,” Johnson said.
“Is there anything more about that,” Baier asked.
“No, we have to dig into it. That’s—This is not a distraction. This is bias, potentially corruption at the highest levels of the FBI,” Johnson said. Here’s the clip:
.@SenRonJohnson on alleged 'secret society' mentioned in @FBI agents' texts: "That 'secret society' – we have an informant that's talking about a group, they were holding secret meetings offsite." #SpecialReport https://t.co/0NPVFhqWiY pic.twitter.com/NaXelnfaJP
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 23, 2018
Obviously, we don’t know what Sen. Johnson was told by this informant or how credible this person is. But the idea that there were disaffected DOJ employees holding resistance meetings offsite doesn’t seem completely outside the realm of possibility. Recall that shortly after the election there were reports of government employees coming to work in tears. And within a few months after that, there were fresh reports that some bureaucrats had joined the resistance:
At the EPA, a small group of career employees — numbering less than a dozen so far — are using an encrypted messaging app to discuss what to do if Trump’s political appointees undermine their agency’s mission to protect public health and the environment, flout the law, or delete valuable scientific data that the agency has been collecting for years, sources told POLITICO.
Fearing for their jobs, the employees began communicating incognito using the app Signal shortly after Trump’s inauguration. Signal, like WhatsApp and other mobile phone software, encrypts all communications, making it more difficult for hackers to gain access to them.
So this sort of thing really did happen at some federal agencies. Could it have happened at the FBI? A month ago I would have said no. Now, after reading texts about an “insurance policy” and a “secret society” and Strzok’s desire to “fix and finish” what started with the Clinton email investigation, I’m not so sure. There were clearly some heavily partisan people who let their personal views guide their careers at the FBI. At a minimum, we need to find those missing texts and see what else Page and Strzok were discussing between a month after Trump’s election and the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller the following May.
If you want more on this topic, here’s the Special Report panel discussing Sen. Johnson’s comments: