The FBI’s termination letter to the official who led two high-profile investigations has been published, revealing another official made the choice to fire the agent because of “repeated, sustained errors of judgement.”
David Bowdich, the FBI’s deputy director, informed Peter Strzok that he was fired in August 2018. A draft of the termination letter was recently made public in a legal case brought by Strzok against his former employer.
In the letter, Bowdich said he was having difficulty fathoming Strzok’s “repeated, sustained errors of judgement” while leading the probe into Russia and President Donald Trump, and the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
While the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General did not find evidence of bias impacting the investigations, “your sustained pattern of bad judgement in the use of an FBI device has called into question for many the decisions made during both the Clinton e-mail investigation and the initial states of the Russian Collusion investigation,” Bowdich added. “In short, your repeated selfishness has called into question the credibility of the entire FBI.”
Strzok exchanged thousands of text messages with FBI lawyer Lisa Page while the investigations were happening. They both expressed animus against Trump and his supporters.
“In my 23 years in the FBI, I have not seen a more impactful series of missteps which called into question the entire organization and more thoroughly damaged the reputation of the organization,” Bowdich wrote. He said Strzok, as a deputy assistant director, was supposed to be a leader, setting an example for others in the bureau and being “beyond reproach.”
“You failed to do so repeatedly and put your own interests about the interests of the organization. Though it pains me to do so, it is for this reason that I am dismissing you from the rolls of the FBI,” Bowdich concluded.
Strzok did not respond to a request for comment. In his legal complaint, he alleged Bowdich’s decision “was the result of unrelenting pressure from President Trump and his political allies in Congress and the media” and violated his constitutional rights. Trump repeatedly posted missives on social media about Strzok, calling him one of the “bad players” in the government and asserting he “should have been fired a long time ago.”
Strzok is seeking reinstatement to his position, back pay, and damages.
Capitol Hill Appearance
A month before Strzok was fired, he appeared before lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington, defending his texts.
Strzok said the texts “have provided ammunition for misguided attacks against the FBI and that “not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took.”
Strzok also claimed the hearing itself was “a victory notch on Putin’s belt,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Then-Rep Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), for instance, said that the texts showed Strzok engaged in “textbook bias.”
In an email made public the ongoing legal case, Bowdich said that Strzok “held up well” during the hearing, but “he made some very serious mistakes by opining about a Presidential candidate, or maligning any political candidate.”
“In the FBI we draw a very hard line about any political opinions at the workplace……rightly so. In this case it was particularly harmful to our reputation with a segment of the country,” he added.
Bowdich was responding to a person named Jim, whose last name was redacted. The person told Bowdich that Strzok made the FBI “look great,” and claimed the Republicans on the panel came across as operating with bias.
‘Seeing the Damage’
Bowdich sat for a deposition for the case. A partial transcript was released by the Department of Justice, which is attempting to convince a judge not to grant Strzok’s requests to depose Trump and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“I had looked at those texts over and over and over again and I was seeing the damage that it was doing to our organization,” Bowdich said during the deposition, adding later: “I am taking all—all the noise, all that stuff, I try to clear that out completely and really focus on, What is the message that we are sending internally across the board? Because this isn’t a GS-10 agent, a brand new agent. This is a Deputy Assistant Director with … 20 years of experience, extensive experience in counterintelligence, of all things[.]”
Bowdich, meanwhile, said that he did not recall ever discussing Strzok with Trump and that Wray also never told him about a meeting with Trump in which Trump pressured Wray to fire Strzok.
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was also deposed. He said that he was not involved in the decision to terminate Strzok and does not recall speaking to Wray or Trump about the matter.
The depositions bolster the argument that neither Trump nor Wray should be deposed, DOJ lawyers said.
Strzok came to the opposite conclusion.
“In light of former President Trump’s repeated statements calling for and then claiming credit for Strzok’s firing and his otherwise egregious conduct towards Strzok, Plaintiff should be allowed to depose those with first-hand knowledge of his actions,” his lawyers wrote in a filing. “Nothing from the Bowdich or Rosenstein depositions supports the government’s arguments to the contrary.
From The Epoch Times