Sunday, November 06, 2016

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

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.

Reading Wiener's own emails, those unrelated to his wife Huma or Hillary, is unlikely to be productive. Therefore, the FBI is going to filter those 650,000 Wiener emails to get at those emails that were also sent to/from Hillary and Huma.

That's easy for automated tools to do. Just search the From: and To: fields for email addresses known to be used by Hillary and associates. For example, search for (Hillary's current email address) and (Huma Abedin's current email).

Below is an example email header from the Podesta dump:

From: Jennifer Palmieri <>
Date: Sat, 2 May 2015 11:23:56 -0400
Message-ID: <-8018289478115811964@unknownmsgid>
Subject: WJC NBC interview
To: H <>, John Podesta <>, 
 Huma Abedin <>, Robby Mook <>, 
 Kristina Schake <>

This is likely to filter down the emails to a manageable few thousand.

Next, filter the emails for ones already in the FBI's possession. The easiest way is using the Message-ID: header. It's a random value created for every email. If a Weiner email has the same Message-ID as an email already retrieved from Huma and Hillary, then the FBI can ignore it.

This is then like to reduce the number of emails need for review to less than a thousand, or less than 100, or even all the way down to zero. And indeed, that's what NBC news is reporting:

The point is is this. Computer geeks have tools that make searching the emails extremely easy. Given those emails, and a list of known email accounts from Hillary and associates, and a list of other search terms, it would take me only a few hours to do reduce the workload from 650,000 emails to only a couple hundred, which a single person can read in less than a day.

The question isn't whether the FBI could review all those emails in 8 days, but why the FBI couldn't have reviewed them all in one or two days. Or even why they couldn't have reviewed them before Comey made that horrendous announcement that they were reviewing the emails.


sigi said...

When someone needs 30 Seconds to analyse an email and has a normal workday, he/she can have a look at 7680 Emails.

When you are the FBI, i'm guessing it shouldn't be a problem at all to get 85 People working on that topic to analyse them without taking an hour overtime :-)

If you can reduce that many emails, it just gets cheaper.

namykcul said...

You said to enter their new emails addresses to and fro? What about her previous or any other alias type emails addresses? Everyone knows that she broke the law that's not the question, the question is why isn't she being held accountable for it?

Unknown said...

Thanks for providing a clear explanation for this. I think that it should be obvious to most people that a logical and methodical process combined with some pretty basic technology would make this a trivial problem to solve. BUT, it is good to see it spelled out. Thanks!!!

Unknown said...

Well, It's impossible if It's just not one person reviewing them, if a 100 people do it, then its surely possible.

dangermoose said...

Explain to me how the FBI can review 650,000 emails in 8 days to come to the conclusion they did whereas IT TOOK OVER A YEAR FOR THE STATE DEPT TO RELEASE 55,000?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

artifactsofmars said...

You sir are a liar. While it is true that computers can scan through huge amounts of data in a short amount of time, they cannot understand intent or context. A HUMAN must deal with that.
Here is a hypothetical phrase. One person says to another, "I see the truck now".
The other says "I need a tow".
Most people would assume that his car is broken down. But way, these two in my hypothetical example are in norther Iraq, and they are planning to blow up a specific truck. The "tow" I mentioned is a US provided tow missile, and these are terrorists planning on destroying a truck. I am calling you out.

Unknown said...

Clearly you didn't understand anything he explained, then. He explained how the FBI, or really anyone with some halfway decent skills, can find the group of relative emails, those sent to or from Hillary Clinton and her staff, then they filter the messages for duplicates against what is already in their possession that they have already read. Those emails get ruled out. Nobody needs to read them again. Then, they're left with a manageable amount of relevant emails that human beings can read. Not that difficult to do or understand.

blogsofbogs said...

To artifactsofmars: You're 100% wrong; what, do you think compilers which rely on context are full of it? They aren't. Even besides that there is this little other issue: if there aren't many emails it's easy to go through; just because you can't read sufficiently doesn't mean everyone can't. Furthermore, it was as I recall reported the FBI put a lot of effort into the matter exactly because of the election.

dangermoose: Same as to 'artifacts'. It's called priorities. Pretty elementary stuff here. Or is this the American problem getting you? It's that isn't it?

Jarp Habib said...

They don't care about context if the 650,000 emails are outside of the scope of their investigation (between Wiener and anybody, EVERYBODY who isn't HRC) or duplicates of what they already have. They use the computer programs to filter out what they don't need. If you just want to snipe hunt though, I've got a time portal to 1950 where you can hunt all the subversives you want with Uncle Joe McCarthy.

The guy with the hair said...

Didn't Huma swear she had turned over all devices with state dept info on them? How is this not a crime?

Blah said...

"Newsweek also notes that Weiner told investigators that he had synced Abedin's phone to his laptop for backup purposes."

She likely did not know he was doing this

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