Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page sued the Justice Department on Tuesday for violating the Privacy Act by “unlawfully” releasing text messages between her and former FBI deputy assistant director Peter Strzok — with whom she was having an affair — from her bureau-issued phone.
Citing the Inspector General report released Monday, which “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions” of the FBI to investigate Trump campaign officials, Page’s lawsuit argues that President Trump and his allies used the text messages to attack her and tarnish her reputation over allegations that she and the FBI sought to take down Trump.
“Neither of the two relevant OIG inquiries found any evidence of bias that affected investigative decisions as a result of Ms. Page’s participation in the investigation,” the lawsuit charges.
Page also claims that the release of her texts to reports in 2017 was “clandestine” and “inconsistent with the disclosure of agency records for transparency or to advance the public interest.”
“On information and belief, DOJ and/or FBI officials disclosed the messages to reporters for multiple improper reasons, including to elevate DOJ’s standing with the President following the President’s repeated public attacks of the Department,” Page argues.
Strzok, who filed a similar lawsuit against the FBI and the DOJ in August, was slammed for security violations by the DOJ in November for using a “personal email account to conduct FBI business.”
“Your excessive, repeated, and politically charged text messages while you were assigned as the lead case agent on the FBI’s two biggest and most politically sensitive investigations in decades, demonstrated a gross lack of professionalism and exceptionally poor judgement,” the Justice Department said. “Your misconduct has cast a pall over the FBI’s Clinton Email and Russia investigations and the work of the Special Counsel.”
Page broke her silence earlier this month, telling the Daily Beast that she denied allegations of partisanship, and said she was not worried about any new revelations in the IG report.
“I don’t engage in any sort of partisan politicking at all,” Page said in her interview. “I know I’m a federal employee, but I retain my First Amendment rights. So I’m really not all that worried about [the IG report].”
On Tuesday, attorney general William Barr denied that Horowitz’s report had cleared the FBI of political bias, and pointed to U.S. Attorney John Durham’s probe into the Russia investigation as the “full investigation.”
Durham said in a statement Monday that he did “not agree with” Horowitz’s assertion that the investigation was properly predicated.