In a departure from FBI procedure and recommendation, the agent who criticized Trump via text message before the election has been fired.
It is yet another example in an ever-lengthening list of troubling instances in which government officials and agencies choose to prioritize their fear of the president’s displeasure ahead of what is right.
The official in charge of employee discipline as well as the bureau’s office of professional responsibility had both recommended that Strzok be suspended for 60 days and that his supervisory responsibilities be revoked — not that he be fired.
While assisting Special Council Robert Mueller in his investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 election, Strzok texted FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair.
The text messages were in response to the then breaking news story that the president had insulted the family of Captain Humayun Khan, who had been killed in the Iraq War.
Following this incident, Page asked Strzok if he thought Trump would ever become president.
Doubting that anyone would ever elect such a morally corrupt human being to the highest office in the country, Strzok responded, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
Despite his assertions that he was using “we” as a general pronoun, and despite the fact that he was simply exercising his right to free speech, he instantly became a rallying point for Republicans who believe the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.”
“A lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work. The decision to terminate was taken in response to political pressure, and to punish Special Agent Strzok for political speech protected by the first amendment, not on a fair and independent examination of the facts.” — Aitan Goelman, attorney to Strzok
It is highly unusual for a member of the intelligence community to be fired for criticizing a leader, whether that leader be the director of the FBI or the president of the United States.
As Strzok’s lawyer pointed out, this decision was made entirely out of fear of political reprisal and the desire to make an example and flew in the face of all testimony and evidence.
It is a concerning development indeed and carries substantial implications for one’s right to exercise the right to free speech.
Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.