Former FBI Officials Reach Settlement With DOJ Over Private Messages

Caucasian male FBI agent wearing glasses in a green bulletproof vest with FBI logo seen from behind on the investigation spot.

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two former FBI officials involved in the RussiaGate scandal, reached a tentative settlement with the Justice Department late last month in their complaint that their privacy was violated by the DOJ when it leaked to the media the private text messages the pair exchanged during the 2016 election.

Strzok, who helped lead the FBI’s investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, was fired in 2018 after the text messages between him and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair, were leaked to the press. Page resigned from the bureau that same year.

In lawsuits filed in December 2017, the two officials accused the Justice Department of violating their privacy when it shared copies of their text messages in which they repeatedly attacked Donald Trump and discussed ways to stop him from taking office.

Strzok also sued the Justice Department for wrongful termination, alleging that the FBI violated his First Amendment rights and only terminated him due to then-President Trump’s “unrelenting pressure.” The wrongful termination suit is not included in the tentative settlement.

The text message exchanges were uncovered in an investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General during its probe of the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server, which was headed up by Peter Strzok.

The revelations in the text messages prompted Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office to remove Strzok from its Trump-Russia investigation.

After the text messages were released, Trump publicly demanded Strzok’s termination, accusing him of “treason.”

While the DOJ Inspector General found multiple flaws in the investigation, the probe found no evidence that the flaws were due to partisan bias.

The details of the tentative settlement were not provided.

The Justice Department previously argued that officials in the DOJ determined that it was permissible to share with the media the text messages disclosed to Congress.