A Republican senator says he recently found out two agents at the center of complaints by President Donald Trump and others regarding partisan bias at the FBI have not yet lost their elevated security clearances within the bureau.
According to his interpretation of a letter he recently received, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has determined Peter Strzok and Lisa Page still have the ability to “search FISA data or other classified databases.”
After evidence of their anti-Trump bias surfaced, the two individuals, whose relationship has been described as romantic, were reassigned from Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
Paul sent the FBI an inquiry letter seeking to determine whether those concerns similarly led to a diminished security clearance level for the two agents.
In addition to asking whether Strzok and Page “still have security clearances” and associated permissions within the bureau, the senator also asked about safeguards against possible political biases playing out within investigations.
“Is there a process in place to routinely analyze searches of databases by agents to ensure that such searches are not done for political or personal reasons?” he wrote.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 11, 2018
As it pertained to his initial questions regarding the agents’ security level, Paul later said in a Fox News Channel interview that the FBI’s cautious response nonetheless revealed a key detail.
“All FBI employees must maintain a Top Secret security clearance,” wrote FBI Office of Congressional Affairs Assistant Director Gregory Brower, who has since resigned from the bureau. “Because of security concerns and law enforcement sensitivities, the FBI does not reveal the specific accesses granted to particular employees.”
If Strzok and Page are “still FBI agents, which apparently they are,” the senator surmised that Brower’s “non-answer specifically really is an answer.”
Paul said his takeaway from the letter is that “they can search our databases.”
In his mind, the two agents deserve to be fired for engaging in private texts with each other in which they criticized the president.
“At the very least, they need to be suspended from any privileges to look at these databases until it’s determined whether or not they can still remain at the FBI,” he said.
In his initial letter to the FBI, the libertarian-leaning Republican offered his argument for maintaining the checks he suggested within the bureau.
“James Madison warned that men are not angels,” Paul wrote. “The exposure of political bias at the FBI is exactly why many of us advocate for greater oversight of the FBI, especially since recently passed legislation leaves FISA Section 702 surveillance largely without checks and balances.”
He went on to conclude that if “openly biased agents such as Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page still have access to classified databases, one might argue that the FBI’s internal controls are inadequate.”
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