Did James Comey just pull one over on us?
After letting Hillary Clinton off the hook for the first time, there was a brief glimmer of hope when he reopened the investigation into her emails. The media, which had previously lauded Comey for doing his job rather than playing politics after the conclusion of the original investigation, hounded the man for interfering with the election.
But did he really? The FBI closed their reopened investigation yesterday, and all the ground Trump gained as a result of the reopened investigation was erased (according to the betting odds). Was his plan all along to take attention away from Wikileaks, then pull the rug out from under Trump at the last minute?
It’s a question those inclined towards conspiracies may be asking, and they’re not completely crazy to think so. Here’s another question worth answering: how did the FBI manage to sort through 650,000 newly discovered emails in a mere eight days?
Government efficiency sure has skyrocketed in Obama's final year https://t.co/sLRc3tLTPT
— Matt Palumbo (@MattPalumbo12) November 6, 2016
There are 691,200 seconds in eight days, so assuming the FBI worked around the clock, we’d have to believe they processed those emails at a rate of about one per second. Even if some of the emails were duplicates, it still takes time to process one as such.
Meanwhile, how long does the State Department need to review Hillary’s deleted 31,000+ emails? According to the Washington Examiner – five years.
State admits today it has 31,000 pages of Clinton material from FBI.Wanted as long as 5 years to turn it all over. Court skeptical.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) November 7, 2016
The updates came from a Freedom of Information Act hearing Monday in a lawsuit filed by conservative-leaning Judicial Watch.
So is it possible? The reaction from the experts is mixed. Here are a few opinions below, courtesy of Law Newz:
Bill Thomas (Former federal prosecutor): “I don’t know how you do a meaningful review of 30,000 documents in such a short period of time. I would imagine that with all the criticism of his conduct and the implications resulting from a pending investigation of a presidential candidate, the FBI pulled out all the stops to get them reviewed.
Page Pate (Atlanta, Criminal Defense Attorney, adjunct professor of law at the University of Georgia): “It’s possible if they put over a hundred agents on it. And it looks like that’s what they did. (Were you surprised?) Not considering all the pressure the FBI was under after he made the announcement. The reputation of the entire FBI was on the line.”
Nancy Savage, Executive Director, Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI: They used technology to parse the emails to only those that went through Clinton’s server, then they were able to parse the ones they had not seen yet, and had agents and analysts working around the clock looking at the new stuff. Apparently, they ruled the new emails to be more of the same or not indicative of the pertinent criminal violations of law. Obviously they threw resources at it to resolve before election. FBI is apolitical and did not want to be in this position of having to review new evidence on this case right before an election.
You’d think an FBI competent enough to do what Nancy Savage describes would also be competent enough to recommend charges against a presidential candidate who ordered her maid to print out classified disinformation. You’d think…
Most surprising of all is NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s comments on the FBI’s feat.
Hey @Snowden, for context, how long would it take the NSA to dedupe 650k emails?
— Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) November 7, 2016
Drop non-responsive To:/CC:/BCC:, hash both sets, then subtract those that match. Old laptops could do it in minutes-to-hours.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 7, 2016
Comey has insisted that the FBI was working around the clock, yet Snowden gives the impression that they were, in fact, taking their time. Why couldn’t the FBI have used such methods to expedite the first FBI investigation into Hillary’s emails? That remains a mystery.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]