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.
FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich Letter to Peter Strzok PDFbowdich-letter-to-strzok