Two FBI officials who worked closely with Peter Strzok and Lisa Page had no idea about the pair’s extramarital affair, they testified to a congressional committee, even though they work for an investigative agency and considered themselves friends.
The two who did not pick up on any signs of an affair played key roles in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server use, which did not result in any criminal charges after FBI head James Comey drafted an exoneration speech before the investigation had concluded.
FBI personnel are trained to look for activity that could lead to an agent being blackmailed, which could include an extramarital affair.
A former undercover federal agent, Wayne Black, told The Daily Caller News Foundation the officials’ blindness to the affair says something about the Clinton probe, in which important leads were allegedly not followed.
But it also, he said, suggests Strzok used his FBI-provided training in the art of deception to become a cunning liar, a talent turned against his wife, his colleagues and investigators examining his role in the Trump-Russia investigation.
TheDCNF obtained unreleased transcripts of testimony from the two officials to the House committees on oversight and the judiciary. Both testified in the summer of 2018.
Jonathan Moffa, now deputy assistant director at the FBI, worked as a counterintelligence analyst for 20 years.
“When the Midyear Exam Investigation began and it was based in the counterespionage section, they put me in charge of the analytic team associated with that investigation,” he testified.
The investigation into Clinton’s emails was codenamed Midyear Exam.
Moffa, who knew Strzok well enough to go to ballgames with him in addition to interacting heavily at work, said he never picked up the clues that two colleagues were having an affair.
Q: I think I have a pretty clear understanding, going way back several hours ago, what your professional relationship with Mr. Strzok was. Did you have a social relationship with him at all?
A: Yeah, I think we had a limited social relationship. And by that term, I mean kind of the classic work friend. So occasionally, you know, you’d catch a game or, you know, I think our families had met a couple of times, two or three times. But certainly not, like, a regular social interaction. We worked together very closely, and I think, like anybody you work with closely for years — and I knew Pete for more than 10 years — you get to know them as a person. But what I wouldn’t say is we were, like, close social companions outside of the office, in large part because we spend a lot of time interacting in the office, and so there was no need to interact outside of it.
Q: Prior to all the news reporting about the texts and all the drama about that, prior to any of that, were you aware of an extramarital affair going on around you?
A: No, I actually wasn’t. He never spoke to me about it, and I had no evidence of that to point to.
Congressional investigators grilled Moffa on whether detecting affairs was a part of FBI training, given that someone in Strzok’s position could be blackmailed by a foreign power with the threat of exposing his sexual affair:
Q: In your training, knowledge, and expertise as a counterintelligence professional, as a counterintelligence analyst, and as an FBI employee, is a tool used to recruit assets in the espionage world the fact that someone might be having an extramarital affair?
A: In a general sense, I think any exploitable fact like that could be used in that way, sure.
Q: Is extramarital affair specifically something that the FBI cautions about for potential weakness to a hostile adversary?
A: I don’t know if we do or not, to be honest, if in any of our security guidance that’s called out or not. I just don’t recall it.
The second employee was Sally Moyer, a unit chief at the FBI’s Office of General Counsel, where Page worked, who said she was “friends” with Page inside and outside of work.
“I started as an assistant general counsel, and then eventually I was promoted to unit chief. And the whole time I’ve worked in the counterintelligence law unit,” she said of her 13 years with the Bureau. “So for Midyear Exam, I was an acting unit chief at the time.”
Q: And you were close friends with Lisa Page?
A: I was friends with her, yeah. […]
Q: And when you say “friends,” you socialize outside of work?
A: Yes. […]
Q: Were you aware she was having an affair with Peter Strzok?
Q: So you learned about it when the public learned about it through the texts and the publication of certain texts?
A: I learned about it when the, I believe The Washington Post had an article. […]
Q: Is there concern in espionage matters, or is an indication or a vulnerability to commit espionage, is having an extramarital affair something that you’re familiar with in your knowledge of espionage matters?
A: That’s one of many factors that can be used to try to recruit a subject. […]
Q: Real quickly going back just a second. If we were told by an FBI employee that you affirmatively reported the Lisa Page/Peter Strzok affair to supervisors, how would you assess the validity of that information?
A: That’s not true.
Moyer was represented at the deposition by lawyer Bill Pittard. He also represented Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in her efforts to prevent the Capitol Police from examining evidence tied to her IT aide Imran Awan, whom House authorities deemed “an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives.”
Judiciary Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, implied in July 2018 that Strzok had deployed his skills in deception as a counterintelligence agent against Congress and his own wife.
“How many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page?” Gohmert said. “You do it with a straight face and I watched you in the private testimony you gave and I told some of the other guys, ‘he is really good, he’s lying, he know, we know he’s lying and he can probably pass the polygraph.’”
The FBI declined to comment for this story.
Black, the former undercover agent, said he believes on some level, Strzok and Page’s colleagues must have suspected the affair, but chose to remain in the dark — which he compared to what he said was a willful ignorance when it came to pursuing the Clinton email probe.
“When they say they didn’t know, do they just mean they never walked in on them having sex? Intel is proactive, not reactive,” Black told TheDCNF. “You don’t wait until something slaps you in the face. When you’re in the intel field you’re sensitive to something, you come up with a hypothesis, and you try to disprove or prove it.”
“Either they suspected it and got into denial and didn’t talk about it, or they knew about it and suppressed it,” he continued. “Either way they should have reported it, because [affair participants are] subject to blackmail.”
As for Strzok, “Someone in his position has extensive undercover and counter-intel training, so if he’s doing something untoward, it’s second nature for him to use that deception training. He’s in survival mode. I watched those hearings, I think he’s pathological.”
Story cited here.