Yes, the FBI can review 650,000 emails in 8 days – Errata Security

In today’s news, Comey announces the FBI have reviewed all 650,000 emails found on Anthony Wiener’s computer and determined there’s nothing new. Some have questioned whether this could be done in 8 days. Of course it could be — those were 650,000 emails to Wiener, not Hillary.

Trump’s team is spreading the meme that there are only 692,000 seconds in the eight days during which the FBI had been looking at these emails, so how could they have scanned 650,000 emails? Frankly, this is a no-brainer. As this article explains, these are Anthony Wiener’s emails, and the first step was to find which ones mentioned Hillary Clinton or Huma Abedin. You can do this on a Mac with a smart mailbox: total time, less than a minute. From there, it’s pretty simple to compare the Message-ID: headers of these new emails with ones the FBI already has.

It’s not rocket science, but Trump’s people want you to think it is. And they can get away with it, because most people have no idea how these things work.

Source: Yes, the FBI can review 650,000 emails in 8 days – Errata Security

10 thoughts on “Yes, the FBI can review 650,000 emails in 8 days – Errata Security

  1. True . . . agreed . . .

    however, don’t forget that it’s often a practice to ‘code’ email to mean something else. And it should never be assumed that people don’t have multiple email ghosts — maybe dozens — so it might not be quite as easy to “find” the offending emails as many might think.

    Plus it’s very easy to remove a hard drive and replace with another. It’s a common practice to pull a mirror drive, and put it on the shelf, and replace with another. In fact we cannot assume that Hillary’s people were stupid. They are virtuoso professional career politicians — of course they take every precaution to avoid detection. The real emails are on a hard drive, in a safe somewhere, probably off shore.

    The whole realm of electronic communications should remember and adhere to the rules set up over 25 years ago by the set-up staff of AOL (of which I was a memeber) . . .
    “If you don’t want it public, then don’t put it there.” . . .
    “Nothing is secure once you click ‘send’ … NOTHING.”
    . . . . 🙂
    People just don’t learn.

    🙂

  2. True . . . agreed . . .

    however, don’t forget that it’s often a practice to ‘code’ email to mean something else. And it should never be assumed that people don’t have multiple email ghosts — maybe dozens — so it might not be quite as easy to “find” the offending emails as many might think.

    Plus it’s very easy to remove a hard drive and replace with another. It’s a common practice to pull a mirror drive, and put it on the shelf, and replace with another. In fact we cannot assume that Hillary’s people were stupid. They are virtuoso professional career politicians — of course they take every precaution to avoid detection. The real emails are on a hard drive, in a safe somewhere, probably off shore.

    The whole realm of electronic communications should remember and adhere to the rules set up over 25 years ago by the set-up staff of AOL (of which I was a memeber) . . .
    “If you don’t want it public, then don’t put it there.” . . .
    “Nothing is secure once you click ‘send’ … NOTHING.”
    . . . . 🙂
    People just don’t learn.

    🙂

  3. I am an investigative attorney at a US government agency. I agree in large measure with what you have written here.

    That said, if I told my supervisor (herself an experienced investigative attorney) that I had completed my review of a 650,000 document production in a couple days, she would be question whether my review was thorough or complete.

    This is not an unreasonable reaction.

    I think it paints with too broad a brush to suggest that ignorance and a desire to mislead are the only reasons to be skeptical.

    • But the review in question is only to determine if these emails are pertinent to anything involving Hillary Clinton, right? In which case, sorting them to find any that are to or from Clinton, or that mention her name, probably results in a very small number of emails that aren’t already in the FBI’s hands. Certainly, if the goal is to review the 650,000 emails in regard to Anthony Wiener, that’s a totally different situation, and that, I assume, would take months.

  4. I am an investigative attorney at a US government agency. I agree in large measure with what you have written here.

    That said, if I told my supervisor (herself an experienced investigative attorney) that I had completed my review of a 650,000 document production in a couple days, she would be question whether my review was thorough or complete.

    This is not an unreasonable reaction.

    I think it paints with too broad a brush to suggest that ignorance and a desire to mislead are the only reasons to be skeptical.

    • But the review in question is only to determine if these emails are pertinent to anything involving Hillary Clinton, right? In which case, sorting them to find any that are to or from Clinton, or that mention her name, probably results in a very small number of emails that aren’t already in the FBI’s hands. Certainly, if the goal is to review the 650,000 emails in regard to Anthony Wiener, that’s a totally different situation, and that, I assume, would take months.

  5. It goes to levels of certainty.

    The procedure you set forth probably gets you 85% of the way there. Some significant messages could be sent between other people and be pertinent without mentioning HRC by name. These messages would be hard to find using the the rough sorting methods you describe, and also without going message-by-message. (I face this dilemma in investigations every day.)

    Under the circumstances, it’s not unreasonable to say 85% certainty is good enough. But it’s also not unreasonable that some people desire more. (And of course, it’s no surprise that people’s judgments often align with their political orientation.)

    I am agnostic, but I write simply because I am concerned about the increasing unwillingness by people on both ends of the political spectrum to allow room for honest disagreement and differences in judgment.

  6. It goes to levels of certainty.

    The procedure you set forth probably gets you 85% of the way there. Some significant messages could be sent between other people and be pertinent without mentioning HRC by name. These messages would be hard to find using the the rough sorting methods you describe, and also without going message-by-message. (I face this dilemma in investigations every day.)

    Under the circumstances, it’s not unreasonable to say 85% certainty is good enough. But it’s also not unreasonable that some people desire more. (And of course, it’s no surprise that people’s judgments often align with their political orientation.)

    I am agnostic, but I write simply because I am concerned about the increasing unwillingness by people on both ends of the political spectrum to allow room for honest disagreement and differences in judgment.

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