Former and current FBI agents who worked with an investigator assigned to look into Russian collusion with Trump campaign staffers have come to his defense after it was revealed he was shunted aside for exchanging anti-Trump texts with another official.
According to Business Insider, veteran counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok has seen his name drug through the mud after he was exposed as the agent who was reassigned by the Washington Post, with conservatives calling special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation "tainted" because of him.
The attacks on the longtime FBI agent have rankled many who have worked with him, with one saying his banishment from the Trump investigation should make Moscow "happy."
According to Frank Montoya, Jr., a former FBI special agent who served as the Director of the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, the assault on Strzok fall in line with the Trump administration's continuing war on U.S. intelligence agencies that date back to right after the 2016 election.
While some agents have dismissed Trump's complaints about the FBI as "nonsense," Montoya was much more blunt.
"There is a lot of anger in the FBI (the entire intelligence community, for that matter) over how this president will say nary a negative word about the Russians, but will insult us every chance he gets," Montoya said in an interview."There's a lot of partisan political white noise out there about Pete's supposed 'bias.' It's all nonsense. I've known Pete for a long time. I didn't know what his political opinions were. Never asked. Never cared. That's the way it was for the vast majority of us."
Calling a Strzok a " great loss to the investigation," Montoya noted the timing and added, "Moscow was happy, I'm sure, when that happened."
Another agent -- who spoke on background -- described Strzok's history with the bureau, saying the counterintelligence expert "rose to the level of Deputy Assistant Director in the usual way: by being a reliable, consistent, and capable member of the executive team."
Montoya also stepped up to defended Strzok from accusations that he manipulated the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails.
"There's been a lot of accusation lately in the public arena about how Pete's supposed biases may have affected outcome of the email investigation and predication for Russia investigation -- more nonsense," he explained. "Pete wasn't the only guy working on those cases. His was one voice, albeit an important one, but there were other important voices in the mix, too."
Former FBI unit chief Mark Rossini also defend the agent, saying that like any normal human being, they may have opinions that interfere with their jobs.
"FBI agents, like anyone else, are human beings. We are allowed to have our political beliefs. If anything, the overwhelming majority of agents are conservative Republicans," Rossini remarked. "It would be literally impossible for one human being to have the power to change or manipulate evidence or intelligence according to their own political preferences."
You can read the whole report here.