By Aaron Miller-
Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page who has been a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s barbed tweets and comments has sued the Justice Department and the FBI over what she claims were illegal and “improper” disclosures to media outlets of her nearly 400 text messages with an FBI agent with whom she was having an affair.
The suit in the federal court in Washington, D.C has been lodged under the Privacy Act of 1974, which governs the government’s framework for collection, usage, maintenance and dissemination of personally identifiable information in federal systems.
She claims text messages she exchanged with Peter Strzok were illegally released by the Justice Department to reporters in December 2017 to promote a false narrative that she, Strzok and others at the FBI “had conspired to undermine” Trump illegally.
Ms Page claims the texts were released in violation of the federal Privacy Act without her consent , and had an ulterior motive “to elevate” the Justice Department’s standing with Trump “following the President’s repeated public attacks of the Department and its head,” then Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Page claims “many of these messages” that she exchanged with Strzok “involved matters that were ‘of a personal nature, including discussions … about their families, medical issues and daily events.’” Only about a quarter of the 375 messages screened by a department watchdog were considered “political,” according to the suit.
The leaked texts show that during the 2016 election, the pair who were then said to be having an affair Ms Page and Mr Strzok expressed fear to one another about a potential Trump presidency.
“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president? Right?!” Ms Page wrote to him. She also reportedly wrote: “This man cannot be president,” according to the New York Times. Her legal suit makes reference to 375 text messages included in the 90 page document released by the US government to reporters in December 2017.
Mr Page said on twitter: “I sued the Department of Justice and FBI today,” Ms Page wrote on Twitter. “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.”