The Atlantic

Why the FBI Fired an Agent Who Wrote Anti-Trump Texts

The FBI’s disciplinary office had recommended Peter Strzok be suspended for two months but was overruled by the bureau’s deputy director.
Source: Joshua Roberts / Reuters

The paperwork was signed. The former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who had become a lightning rod for efforts to undermine the Russia investigation, was set to receive a two-month suspension and a demotion as punishment for his alleged misconduct during the 2016 election. Then the FBI’s deputy director, David Bowdich, stepped in and fired him, saying he had undermined “the credibility of the FBI.”

Strzok came under fire late last year after the Justice Department released text messages that he sent using an FBI-issued device that were critical of Donald Trump. But questions have been raised about what specific bureau policies Strzok violated in sending those texts.

Candice Will, the longtime deputy director of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), had cited three ways in which Strzok had allegedly violated FBI policies during the election, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The first, “unprofessional conduct off duty,” directly related to his use of an FBI-issued cell phone to send the private texts. The second, “investigative deficiency”—later reduced to “dereliction of supervisory duty”— related

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