Anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok insisted on preserving his security clearance and powers he held as a deputy assistant director at the agency before joining Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, newly released emails show, Fox News informed.
The emails, collected by the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch, claim that Strzok’s supervisor agreed to make him a “floating” deputy who would be able to approve national security letters and declassify documents – all while working on the Mueller team probing the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian government.
“Broadly, I need to be able to act at least in the capacity of my old CD [counterintelligence division] DAD [deputy assistant director] job – approve NSLs [national security letters], conduct [redacted] declassify information, [redacted] agent travel, requisitions, etc. Of those, the most problematic and one of the most essential is declassification authority,” Strzok wrote in an email to Bill Priestap, FBI counterintelligence chief, dated July 13, 2017.
Priestap wrote back a few days later, saying his request was approved: “In answer to your initial question, while assigned to the special counsel’s office, you will retain your CD DAD authorities to include declassification authority.”
“Assuming the 7th floor approves, you will remain on CD’s books as a fourth (floating) DAD. When you move on from your DAD position, your DAD slot will revert back to HRD [human resources department],” he added.
Strzok’s insisting on keeping the declassification authority raises doubts whether such authority gave the Mueller probe special capabilities to target President Trump.
“It sure did,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told Fox News. “Strzok wouldn’t have asked for it if he didn’t think it’d be useful in his new job.”
“He wanted the authority to issue national security letters, which essentially are secret requests for information that fall short of needing court approval,” Fitton continued. “He also wanted – and he said this was ‘essential,’ which is very unusual – he wanted the ability to declassify information. He wanted to keep that ability.”