Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok – who played a central role into the now debunked investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia – is now arguing that his politically charged anti-Trump text messages are protected under the First Amendment.
This argument is so weak, considering his texts were mainly made on the bureau’s government issued phones, which require FBI agents to use them for work purposes only.
Strzok, who once was deputy head of the FBI’s counterintelligence office, is suing the Department of Justice for reinstatement into the FBI. He stressed in a new court filing Monday, with the federal district court that “firing an employee for the content of his or her non-public communications is unconstitutional, irrespective of any balancing interests,” which would include damage to the FBI’s reputation and other mitigating factors.
In his claim against the DOJ he argues that he didn’t leak his texts, instead it was the DOJ, therefore he argues, his texts should be considered private speech. He then argues that he shouldn’t be held to a higher legal standard, using the 1968 Supreme Court case Pickering v. Board of Education. The Pickering case applied to public statements by government employees.
Strzok said he was entitled to “develop a full factual record through discovery.” He said it would be premature to dismiss the case at this early stage.
Strzok’s filing was a response to the DOJ’s motion to dismiss his lawsuit to be reinstated to the FBI by November. The Justice Department slammed Strzok in its motion to dismiss Strzok’s case stating that the embattled former FBI agent admitted to conducting official FBI business on his personal iMessage account and violated FBI regulations in use of his work issued cell phone.
For example, the DOJ included a letter from the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) regarding its own investigation of Strzok that stated in part that “the investigation uncovered numerous occasions on which you used your personal email account to conduct FBI business…you claimed your ‘usual practice’ was to double delete the work emails after you sent them. You acknowledged you had been issued an FBI laptop to work from home but claimed you did not know how to properly log on to use the machine.”
Unbelievable that Strzok gave these excuses to OPR, considering he was the top of the bureau’s counterintelligence division.
First of all, Strzok played a central role both in the investigation into the Trump campaign and Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured server to send classified emails. His text messages were sent on his government issued phone, which is not his private phone but owned by the government. Those text messages revealed exactly how biased the FBI agents conducting the investigation felt about their subject: President Trump.
In fact, when his...