Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Why Were FBI/DoJ Texts Ever Redacted?

I'll keep this brief, because the in depth version can be read at Jeff Carlson' excellent blog: Why Did the DOJ Redact Text Messages Sent by FBI Employees Strzok and Page.

We've all heard the whining from FBI/DoJ that releasing the unredacted texting of Comey, McCabe, Stzok, Page and the rest of the Russia Hoax gang would pose a risk to national security by exposing sources and methods or other classified information. Carlson convincingly demonstrates that that's all hogwash.

First of all, under DoJ policy:

Under no circumstances can classified information be sent via text. Electronic devices aren’t even allowed in areas or facilities that contain or process classified information (PDF).

As Carlson notes, if there was any classified information contained in any of those texts, it was a violation of clear DoJ policy.

Now, it's possible for an exemption to be granted to allow designated officials to text classified info, but the general rules, which Carlson quotes, are these two:

a. Do not use Short Message Service (SMS) to conduct official government business.b. Do not connect non-DOJ mobile devices and/or accessories to DOJ networks, including wireless access.

Further, OIG appears to indicate that there was no exemption, expressly noting departmental policy, and Carlson himself states that he has come across no evidence of such an exemption (and Carlson is very thorough). 

All that being the case, if there is classified information contained in the texts, certainly to include sources/methods, it should be redacted, but we've seen from previous un-redacting of texts that were initially redacted, that those redactions were not of sensitive information improperly incuded in the texts. They were redactions of information that was either embarrassing or incriminating--or both.

Therefore, the process of providing unredacted texts should be quite straightforward, even unproblematic.

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