There has been a great deal of speculation about FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Attorney Lisa Page leaking to media in their efforts to shape stories conducive to their pro-Clinton/anti-Trump efforts. Prior reporting showed the strong possibility Page and Strzok were leaking to the Wall Street Journal.
“Article is out, but hidden behind paywall so can’t read it,” Page texted Strzok on Oct. 24, 2016.
“Wsj? Boy that was fast,” Strzok texted back, using the initials of the famed financial newspaper. “Should I ‘find’ it and tell the team?” (link)
Some new information today, and some additional research, and we can not only confirm the prior suspicions outlined by John Solomon (The Hill) – but we also discover the actual Wall Street Journal reporter they were leaking to.
Yesterday Senator Chuck Grassley released a series of text messages between Page and Strzok (full pdf here). Within the release there is a portion of messaging where Lisa Page is identified on the phone with “Devlin” (see page #5 – screen grab below):
[Peter Strzok is ‘INBOX’ and Lisa Page is “OUTBOX’]
It now appears the “Devlin” in question is former Wall Street Journal National Security reporter Devlin Barrett, currently with The Washington Post.
Here’s why? On October 28th, 2016 (as above), at the exact time the re-opening of the Clinton investigation hit the media news-cycle, Page and Strzok were texting. From the released messaging we see at 5:19pm Lisa Page is on the phone with “Devlin”:
♦Page: 5:19pm “Still on the phone with Devlin. Mike’s phone is ON FIRE.”
♥Strzok: 5:29pm “You might wanna tell Devlin he should turn on CNN, there’s news on.”
♦Page: 5:30pm “He knows. He just got handed a note.”
♥Strzok: 5:33pm “Ha. He asking about it now?”
♦Page: 5:34pm “Yeah. It was pretty funny. Coming now.”
At 5:36pm Devlin Barrett tweets:
Apparently the “per sources” reference is FBI Attorney Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok leaking to Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett.
Looking back upon the released text messages, and comparing them to reporting by Devlin Barrett, another specific article jumps out.
On October 23rd, 2016, Devlin Barrett reported on a scoop:
“Scoop: McAuliffe PAC gave $467,500 to campaign of wife of senior FBI official who oversaw Clinton email probe” (link)
This October 23rd, 2016, “scoop” aligns with the internal text messaging discussion between Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Attorney Lisa Page who were discussing James Comey’s chief-of-staff James Rybicki recommending that FBI Asst. Director Andrew “Andy” McCabe should be recused from the Hillary Clinton investigation.
From the messaging the recusal was discussed mid-through-late October 2016:
00:52am …”if it’s a matter similar to those we’ve been talking about lately”…
It looks like the sourcing for the exclusive report by Devlin Barrett, on the controversy of Andrew McCabe and his financial connections to Clinton/McAuliffe, was again Lisa Page and Peter Strzok; key people within the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
A third likely connection related to the relationship between Strzok, Page and Devlin Barrett comes after Barrett leaves the Wall Street Journal and begins working for The Washington Post.
Barrett’s use of Page and Strzok on this story is actually quite odd because the story is about Page and Strzok.
On December 15th, 2017, after the revelations behind the Mueller investigation having to remove Agent Strzok and Attorney Page as a result of the Inspector General outlining their extreme political bias, the couples text messages were immediately part of the story.
One of the Barrett Washington Post stories was about those messages between the couple communicating via phones “that can’t be traced”.
National security journalist Devlin Barrett wrote a story specifically using “sources” to explain the context of the Page/Strzok message about phones was to hide the affair:
By Devlin Barrett – Two senior FBI officials who texted each other about President Trump and Hillary Clinton relied on work phones to try to hide their romance from a spouse and made the bureau’s probe of Clinton’s private email server their cover story for being in such close contact, according to people familiar with the matter.
The two officials, senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page and senior counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, are the subjects of an internal investigation that has roiled the FBI and emboldened its Republican critics who have accused the bureau of political bias. Had Page and Strzok used personal phones instead, people close to case say, it’s unlikely their text messages would have come to the FBI’s attention.
The texts, a trove of which were released by the Justice Department this week, have raised questions about the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian officials to interfere with the presidential election. Page and Strzok, who have declined to comment, were involved in both. (read more)
In this example there’s a really odd dynamic about using the subject of the article as a source of information on the subject of the article. “According to people familiar with the matter”, is likely to be Peter Strzok and Lisa Page themselves.
That’s perhaps the weirdest example of journalistic ethical juxtaposition in the past few months. Again, “sources say” now appears to be reporter Devlin Barrett writing an article based on direct information from Lisa Page and Peter Strzok who were the subjects of the story. Obviously they would have a vested legal interest in shaping/spinning that story in a very specific direction.
Knowing that DOJ/FBI Attorney Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok were key sources for Barrett’s stories at the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, you can go through all of his old articles at both publications and clearly identify stories were Strzok and Page were leaking to him.
Lastly, knowing Strzok and Page were key DOJ/FBI investigators on: #1) the Hillary Clinton investigation; #2) the Trump/Russia Counterintelligence Investigation; and, #3) the Robert Mueller investigation; and knowing they were leaking to the media to shape the outcomes of their own investigative narrative in each example; it makes you wonder who else within the DOJ and FBI team was also leaking to the media.
Then again, FBI Director James Comey was doing the same thing.
It seems to be a strange way to run a department that depends on integrity.