Senators Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley wrote a letter to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson asking him to investigate leaks that may have come from the CIA or other agencies regarding the Russia investigation. The letter was prompted by texts sent by former FBI agent Peter Strzok to lawyer Lisa Page:
We write today to highlight other information regarding the FBI’s apparent awareness of leaks by other agencies or entities to the media. Specifically, in a December 2016 text message between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page, Strzok told Page:
Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they’re kicking in to overdrive.
Later, in April 2017, Strzok e-mailed FBI colleagues and once again discussed leaks by others to the press. Specifically, with regard to the publication of an article in The Guardian titled, “British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia,” Strzok said:
I’m beginning to think the agency got info a lot earlier than we thought and hasn’t shared it completely with us. Might explain all these weird/seemingly incorrect leads all these media folks have. Would also highlight agency as source of some of the leaks.
These texts and emails raise a number of serious questions and concerns. For example, who are the “sisters” and what does it mean to say that the “sisters have [been] leaking like mad”? What are they worried about, and what are they kicking into “overdrive”? Which “agency” is he referring to and why does Strzok believe the referenced news article highlights that “agency as [a] source of some of the leaks”?
The question is how all of this ties into other stories that have been in the news recently. For instance, the woman who the FBI sent to a meeting with George Papadopoulos posing as Stephan Halper’s research assistant has been described as a “government investigator.” However, Papadopoulos said he had the impression she barely spoke English. Was she FBI or CIA? And what about Joseph Mifsud? Who was he working for when he claimed to introduce Papadopoulos to Putin’s niece. And what about the two DIA agents who contacted Papadopoulos out of the blue after his meeting with Mifsud?
If Strzok, who was clearly no fan of Trump, felt these agencies were acting “worried and political” after the election, it seems important to know why they felt that way. That’s especially true because we know who was running the CIA at the time: John Brennan. Brennan has become one of the promoters of the Russian collusion narrative and a frequent partisan critic of President Trump, even accusing him of treason last year. And about a year ago Real Clear Investigations reported that it was Brennan who selected Peter Strzok to author the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment concluding the Russian’s goal in meddling in the election was to help Trump win (as opposed to primarily wanting Hillary to lose over a personal beef).
There’s also the ongoing question of how word of the Steele dossier being briefed to Obama and Trump almost immediately made its way back to CNN. Maybe we’ll find out more when the DOJ IG releases his report next month. But it seems like a good idea to have the Intel Community IG looking into all of this as well.