FBI Director James Comey’s letters to Congress regarding the ‘new’ Hillary Clinton emails sucked. Let me explain.
I’ve done a bit of email discovery in my practice. It can be rewarding when you put together a complicated case by organizing the emails into a chronology.
Occasionally, you will find a ‘smoking gun’ email. Usually, however, individual emails are building blocks that need to be put together to get to a clear picture of what happened.
The best word to describe the process is ‘tedious.’
One of the reasons that reviewing emails is tedious is that you often see the same email(s) multiple times. If there are replies back and forth in the same email string, you see each reply as a separate document/ email.
Plus, you often obtain emails from multiple sources. So you see multiple copies of the emails you already saw multiple times in reply strings.
Once you’ve tapped a good source, a new source is likely going to produce mostly (or all) emails that you have already seen. It’s usually going to involve reviewing the same emails you have already seen again.
There is a 100% chance that the FBI knows this. So learning that there are emails on another computer in a case where you’ve already reviewed thousands of emails is probably not going to be a big deal.
Previously, the FBI reviewed tens of thousands of Clinton emails. So when the FBI discovers the existence of Huma Abedin emails to or from Hillary on a computer being searched in connection with the investigation of Abedin’s soon to be ex-husband Anthony Wiener, their first reaction is NOT going to be that they’ve discovered the ‘case cracker.’
Instead, their first reaction is likely to be: “great. Now we have to review a whole bunch of emails we’ve already reviewed again.” But Comey didn’t explain that in his letters to Congress.
Here is a link to Comey’s first letter.
Here is a link to Comey’s second letter.
Comey’s first letter implied that the new emails were going to be the ‘case cracker.’ Comey’s second letter did not come back and explain why they weren’t and why they were unlikely to ever be.
If Comey was going to lob a hand grenade into a presidential election, he should have written better letters–like with some explanation and context. The way Comey did it suggested that the ‘case cracker’ was going to be on Weiner’s computer. The FBI knew that this was highly unlikely to be the case.
I don’t know what Comey’s political intent was–if any. I just know that his letters were poorly phrased if he didn’t have politics on his mind.