Fact Check

Did Christine Blasey Ford's Brother Work with a Close Relative of Peter Strzok's?

Conspiracy theorists claim they've found 'three degrees of separation' between fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and Brett Kavanaugh's sexual assault accuser Christine Blasey Ford.

Published Oct. 1, 2018

Updated Oct. 1, 2018
Image Via C-Span
Christine Blasey Ford's brother, Tom Blasey, worked in the same company as a close relative (wife, sister, or sister-in-law) of former FBI agent Peter Strzok.

After California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford stepped forward in September 2018 to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, conspiracy theorists spun yarns aimed at implicating her in a supposed plot by Democratic Party elites to smear Kavanaugh's reputation.

Conspiracy mongers circulated miscaptioned photographs allegedly linking Dr. Ford to prominent liberals. They also asserted, falsely, that Ford had filed similar sexual misconduct accusations against a previous Trump appointee, Neil Gorsuch. They shared images that supposedly showed Ford attending an anti-Trump rally and exhibiting drunken behavior at parties.

During the week of her scheduled testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, they made a concerted effort to demonstrate so-called "close family ties" between Ford and former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was fired in mid-2018 for sending anti-Trump text messages. Far-right bloggers have portrayed Strzok as a "deep state" operative "planted" in the FBI to undermine Trump's presidency.

One version of the family-ties scenario held that Strzok's sister-in-law (identified in the video below as "Jill Strzok") works with, or used to work with, Christine Blasey Ford's brother, Thomas Blasey:

Other versions identified Jill Strzok as Peter Strzok's wife:

Elsewhere, Jill was identified as Peter Strzok's sister:

The notion that Peter Strzok and Jill Strzok are spouses appears to have originated with a 26 September post on a blog called "Common Sense Evaluation":

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

Christine Blasey Ford’s brother, Thomas Blasey, worked with Jill Strzok who is married to Peter Strzok.

Isn’t it interesting how all these scumbags know each other? Almost like a little club.

For the record, Jill Strzok is not Peter Strzok's wife. Peter is married to Melissa Hodgman, an attorney who works, as of this writing, at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. As will be confirmed shortly, Jill isn't Peter Strzok's sister or sister-in-law, either.

Interestingly, all these variants based their claims on the same documentation, a patchwork genealogical chart supposedly connecting the dots between the Strzok and Blasey families:

One needn't confirm the accuracy of the chart to see that it doesn't prove what it's supposed to prove. According to the diagram, Peter Strzok's grandfather and the grandfather of Jill Strzok's husband (Sidney Strzok) were siblings, which, if true, would mean that Sidney and Peter are second cousins, and Jill Strzok would be Peter's second cousin-in-law:

But the chart has a crucial detail wrong: Peter and Sidney Strzok's grandfathers were not, in fact, siblings. According to published obituaries, Sidney's grandfather (Thomas Charles Strzok) was the son of Charles and Frances Mary Strzok. Peter's grandfather (Michael John Strzok) was the son of John and MaryAnne Strzok. We can't tell, based on the information at hand, what familial connection (if any) the grandfathers may have had, nor how far back one has to trace these separate branches of the Strzok family tree to find a point of intersection. At best, Peter and Sidney Strzok could be distant cousins, which would make Jill Strzok Peter's distant cousin by marriage.

Another area of the chart indicates, correctly, that Christine Blasey Ford has a brother named Thomas Blasey, whom the Washington Post confirmed is a Washington-area lawyer. According to his LinkedIn profile, Blasey currently holds the position of assistant general counsel at Northrop Grumman Corporation in Falls Church, Virginia.

It's alleged that Thomas Blasey and Jill Strzok currently or formerly worked for the same company, Exelis Inc., an aerospace and defense contractor. Blasey's LinkedIn profile confirms he was employed by Exelis Inc. from 2011 to 2015. Although Jill Strzok's LinkedIn profile doesn't list Exelis by name, it does list ITT Corporation as one of her ongoing employers from 2005 to the present. Exelis Inc. was a division of ITT until it was spun off as a separate company (still branded "ITT Exelis) in 2011. We found evidence that Strzok was an employee of Exelis Inc. in the form of an undated document naming ITT Exelis as the prime contractor for a military software design project and Jill Strzok as the "procuring contract officer" on behalf of Exelis.

We have not been able to determine the exact period of time during which Strzok worked specifically for Exelis, however. A popular "people search" website, Radaris.com, says she worked there between 2005 and 2007, though that information is unvetted and possibly unreliable.

In any case, it scarcely matters whether Strzok and Blasey worked for the company at the same time. Strzok is a subcontracts manager who worked out of Exelis's Colorado offices; Blasey is an intellectual property lawyer who worked out of the company's office in McLean, Virginia. It's unlikely their paths ever crossed.

More to the point, the notion that Jill Strzok and Thomas Blasey (who conceivably have never met one another) represent "three degrees of separation" between alleged "deep state" conspirator Peter Strzok and Christine Blasey Ford depends on Jill and Peter Strzok being close relatives, which they demonstrably are not.  


Contrera, Jessica and Ian Shapira.   "Christine Blasey Ford's Family Has Been Nearly Silent Amid Outpouring of Support."     The Washington Post.   27 September 2018.

Common Sense Evaluation.   "Christine Blasey Ford’s Brother Worked with Jill Strzok."     26 September 2018.

ITT Corporation.   "ITT Board of Directors Approves Spinoffs of Xylem and ITT Exelis."     5 October 2011.

LinkedIn.   "Jill Strzok Profile."     Accessed 1 October 2018.

LinkedIn.   "Thomas Blasey Profile."     Accessed 1 October 2018.

Marshfield News Herald.   "Michael John Strzok Obituary."     20 March 2002.

Thorp Courier.   "Frances Strzok Obituary."     8 November 1945.

Thorp Courier.   "Richard G. Strzok Obituary."     6 February 2008.

Thorp Courier.   "Theodore Joseph Strzok, Jr. Obituary."     7 February 2018.

Thorp Courier.   "Thomas C. Strzok Obituary."     15 November 1928.


Correction [1 October 2018]: A previous version of this article erroneously stated that Peter Strzok and Jill Strzok are second cousins-in-law.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.