Lisa Page, former FBI lawyer and half of the infamous anti-Trump FBI lovebirds, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer and the Justice Department, alleging privacy violations over her text messages with former FBI agent and paramour Peter Strzok.
In the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Page says her text messages with Strzok were unlawfully released to the press for “multiple improper reasons.” One of those, she maintains, is an attempt by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curry favor with President Trump.
I sued the Department of Justice and FBI today.
I take little joy in having done so. But what they did in leaking my messages to the press was not only wrong, it was illegal.https://t.co/ecR58rmxlB
— Lisa Page (@NatSecLisa) December 10, 2019
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Page’s suit claims the message release was an invasion of her privacy and that the manner in which the DOJ released the messages was strange:
The December 12 disclosure to the media of text messages pertaining to and about Ms. Page, which were then the subject of an ongoing review by OIG, constituted an unwarranted invasion of Ms. Page’s privacy. Ms. Page’s privacy interest was not outweighed by any public interest in the messages’ release.
Indeed, prior to the disclosure on December 12, DOJ and/or FBI officials could not in good faith have determined that public disclosure was warranted on that basis, given the preliminary nature of OIG’s review of the text messages. Nor would agency officials acting in good faith and with a reasonable basis for the lawfulness of their conduct have released the messages in the manner that officials chose here: ushering reporters to DOJ premises after business hours; allowing them to view, but not copy or remove, the set of messages; and forbidding them from sourcing the material to DOJ.
Defendants’ willful and intentional disclosure of records pertaining to and about Ms. Page has adversely affected her. In particular, the unlawful disclosure has caused Ms. Page the following financial losses:
(a) permanent loss of earning capacity due to reputational damage;
(b) attorneys’ fees relating to investigations and congressional testimony as well as efforts to prevent the release of personal text messages;
(c) the cost of childcare during and transportation to multiple investigative interviews and appearances before Congress;
d) the cost of paying a data privacy service to protect her personal information; and
(e) the cost of therapy to cope with unwanted national media exposure and harassment caused by the December 12 disclosure.
Page’s suit also complains that the president targeted her by name in more than forty tweets and “dozens of interviews, press conferences, and statements from the White House, fueling unwanted media attention that has radically altered her day-to-day life.”
She seems to be overlooking the pain she inflicted on the lives of innocent people she had a role in defaming, such as Carter Page:
April 10, 2017: (former FBI Special Agent) Peter Strzok contacts (former FBI Attorney) Lisa Page to discuss a “media leak strategy.” Specifically, the text says: “I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go.”
April 12, 2017: Peter Strzok congratulates Lisa Page on a job well done while referring to two derogatory articles about Carter Page. In the text, Strzok warns Page two articles are coming out, one which is “worse” than the other about Lisa’s “namesake”.” Strzok added: “Well done, Page.”
Page’s suit comes a day after Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report said she “did not play a role in the decision” by the FBI in 2016 to open the probe into the Trump’s campaign. And the report added that the IG “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation” influenced the FBI’s actions.
Like her former boss, James Comey, who did a victory lap after the Horowitz report was released, Page shouldn’t get too complacent. John Durham has broader authority than Horowitz. He is still working on his investigation.
What’s more, Fox News reports that “the Supreme Court has previously ruled that suits against the government under the Privacy Act for mental and emotional distress are not immune from the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which limits the right of individuals to sue the federal government.” It will be interesting to see where this all goes.
Cross posted at The Lid