Editor’s note: This article is a rewritten version of the original that we published on August 4, 2018 because factcheck.org took issue with our original statement the 350,000 HRC emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, “These were never reviewed by the FBI investigators assigned to help lead agent Peter Strzok. Nor, was any attempt made to analyze the newly discovered files until after the election was over.” (Bold added for emphasis)
“Despite Strzok statements under oath to the contrary, this official filing shows he sat on the laptop for more than 6 weeks – until the election was over!”
We stand corrected. The 350,000 emails belonged to Huma Abedin. How many involved Hillary Clinton, and how many of those were actually reviewed, becomes the subject of this edited column.
Factcheck.org points out that “The Justice Department’s Inspector General’s report disputes your statement that the emails from the laptop “were never reviewed by the FBI investigators assigned to help lead agent Peter Strzok.”
Our claim that the laptop was never looked at before the election is inaccurate. However, we find it hard to believe that 3 FBI agents were able to read and vet all 48,982 emails in the short time they had to do so.
Elder Patriot – The FBI’s release, in early August, from the their “vault” files on Hillary Clinton brought us one giant step closer to uncovering the massive systemic corruption that the Clinton’s and Obama seeded throughout our government.
The newly released documents discuss the contents of Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s laptop. The laptop was seized, under court warrant on September 25, 2016, by the NYPD as part of their investigation into the Weiner sexting case.
While the NYPD was conducting a forensic analysis of the Weiner/Abedin laptop, it was discovered that the hard drive contained 350,000 emails and 344,000 Blackberry backup files that belonged to Huma Abedin.
Abedin has been Hillary Clinton’s closest adviser and personal assistant for two decades. How many of these emails were the subject of communications with Hillary Clinton and whether they were properly reviewed for potential national security breaches are questions we believe the FBI assiduously avoided answering in the days preceding the presidential election.
Here’s what you were never told by the HRC-BHO protective media.
Despite lead agent Peter Strzok’s testimony that all 350,000 emails had been examined two days prior to the election on November 6, 2016, there is little evidence to support his claim other than his own assertions.
To begin with, it appears that Strzok lied about immediately turning the Weiner/Abedin laptop over the the FBI’s Operational Technology Division (OTD).
From page 388 of the IG report:
Midyear agents obtained a copy of the Weiner laptop from NYO immediately after the search warrant was signed on October 30 . The laptop was taken directly to Quantico where the FBI’s Operational Technology Division (OTD) began processing the laptop.
That account is contradicted by a key document that Strzok filed with the OTD. On or around August 3, 2018, the FBI released the case support request from Strzok to the OTD in Quantico that tells a different story than Midyear agents had told the IG:
These newly released documents showed that Strzok didn’t hand the laptop over to OTD, as he had previously claimed, until the day after the election. Clearly, Strzok and/or other Midyear agents had lied about that to the IG.
At the very least, this is proof that Strzok had no interest in determining whether foreign actors had penetrated the laptop. But, Strzok’s assertion at the bottom of the third page that “no previous attempt to analyze this evidence” (the laptop) likely tells a bigger story.
That’s significant because without the OTD doing “some amazing” that lie makes Strzok’s next claim a lie as well:
Again, from the IG report (page 388):
The Lead Analyst told us that given the volume of emails on the laptop and the difficulty with de-duplicating the emails that “at least for the first few days, the scale of what we’re doing seem[ed] really, really big. Strzok told us that OTD was able “to do some amazing things” to “rapidly de-duplicate the emails on the laptop, which significantly lowered the number of emails that the Midyear team would have to individually review. Strzok and/or the LEad Agent stated that only after that technological breakthrough did he begin to think “it was possible we might wrap up before the election.”
But from page 389 of the IG report we learn that there was no “technological breakthrough” When the OTD was finally given possession of the laptop, after the election, they determined that would be impossible:
The FBI analysis of the review noted that “[b]ecause metadata was largely absent, the emails could not be completely, automatically de-duplicated or evaluated against prior emails recovered during the investigation” and therefore the FBI could not determine how many of the potentially work-related emails were duplicative of emails previously obtained in the Midyear investigation.
It defies credulity to trust that Strzok and/or the Lead Agent simply misremembered these key claims that surrounded the forensic examination of the laptop. It fits his established fact pattern to conclude that Strzok deliberately lied to protect the conclusion reached in dismissing the original Midyear exam.
Documentary evidence had previously been uncovered that Comey had already began writing Clinton’s exoneration as early as May of 2016, before any interviews were conducted.
Back then Comey, Strzok, and/or Midyear agents were handing out immunity deals to key witnesses who were also possible targets of their own criminal investigations. It was also reported that the same FBI investigators allowed evidence to be destroyed in order to soften to some degree, Comey’s exoneration of Clinton.
In fact, the IG determined that in this second go round: (page 389)
The FBI reviewed 6,827 emails that were either to or from Clinton and assessed 3,077 of those emails to be “potentially work-related.”
The IG found that only 3,077 of 350,000 emails were reviewed by the FBI prior to the election. It’s hard to believe that Huma Abedin forwarded 350,000 emails to her husband’s laptop and less than 0.9% involved her closest associate.
The timeline also casts doubt on the rest of Strzok’s claims. It shows that Strzok delayed taking possession of the laptop for more than 5 weeks – from September 25, 2016 until, according to the IG report (page 388), October 30, 2016 – when the warrant was granted.
It would seem logical that if Strzok had been intent on conducting a thorough investigation he’d have moved to take possession of the laptop immediately, and certainly within days of the New York Office notifying Washington of its discovery.
Without the “amazing technological breakthrough” to bolster Midyear agents’ now time-constrained efforts, Strzok’s claim that they reviewed every email to determine which were “potentially work-related” doesn’t hold up.
There’s no reason to but, let’s assume the Lead Analyst was telling the truth to the IG:
FBI leadership, including Comey, was briefed on an almost daily basis during the review process. The Lead Analyst told us that he recalled briefing Comey on Friday, November 4, stating:
I told [Comey], I said…I think there’s a possibility we may be able to get through this before the end of the weekend. So he said if you think you can do it, you should try to. So that’s what we did. We brought, we basically put all hands on deck for [that Saturday]. (page 388)
And, according to page 389 of the IG report:
The Midyear team flagged all potentially work-related emails encountered during the review process and compared those to emails that they had previously reviewed in other datasets. Any work-related emails that were unique, meaning that they did not appear in any other dataset, were individually reviewed by the Lead Analyst, Strzok, and FBI Attorney 1 for evidentiary value.
Utilizing various searches targeting Clinton emails, the FBI reviewed in full “approximately 48,982” items on the Weiner laptop.
The suggestion from the IG report is that three agents – Lead Analyst, Strzok, and FBI Attorney 1 – completed the review of 48,982 items on that last Saturday. Again, that defies credulity.
With “approximately 48,982” items passed on to the Lead Analyst, Strzok and FBI Attorney 1 for a more detailed review, the timeline suggests that was near impossible to fathom.
Do the math. With 48,982 emails (forget the Blackberry messages) to review, the three agents working 24 hours through Saturday night with no breaks to eat, use the restroom, or grab a cup of coffee, would only have 5 seconds per email or message to determine the nature of each.
And, that’s only if there were a steady stream of emails being uncovered by the army of agents – if there really was an army of agents – that had been claimed to have been brought in to assist in the process.
Other than the claim of the Lead Analyst (page 389), it appears that there were only three agents assigned to the task of sorting through the emails. At least we never uncovered evidence in the IG report citing the involvement of any additional agents other than the Lead Analyst, Strzok, and FBI Attorney 1.
If they exist they should be questioned.
Even if the Lead Analyst, Strzok, and FBI Attorney 1 had spent the previous six days manually reviewing the 694,000 emails and Blackberry files, it’s unthinkable that they could’ve made a serious dent in reviewing them.
If they reviewed the emails at a rate of 1 per second each, over the course of six consecutive 16-hour days, without any breaks, the three of them would have looked at all of them. Not likely.
That would have been a Herculean effort if it were attempted. There is no proof, other than the word of the discredited agents, that such a review was attempted. It likely all came down to that single Saturday prior to the election.
Comey wrote the exoneration letter to Congress the next day, Sunday, November 6, 2016. (IG report page 390)
At the very least, the agents involved, including Strzok, have been found to have made misleading and incredible statements to the IG. This throws every other representation they made in defense of their work, and now in their own defense, into question.
At the worst, agents involved in the Midyear exam were complicit in burying evidence of serious and significant wrongdoing on the part of Hillary Clinton. Wrongdoing so severe that it would’ve destroyed any chances of her becoming president.
Combined with the manner in which the FBI targeted Donald Trump it’s hard to countenance the disparate treatment that the different candidates received.
The American people deserve a full accounting. If, as many Americans fear, that the FBI – and other agencies, the CIA, DOJ, State Department, among others, had been turned into partisan political operations by a previous administration(s), then protecting of sources and methods do little to protect us.
In fact, the competing narratives coming from the left and from President Trump’s supporters have cleaved our country in half, fomenting violence in many quarters and a general air of political division that is leading to a civil war.
Americans should be demanding a full accounting, including declassification of all pertinent documents, immediately. One side or the other is lying without regard to the long term welfare of the republic.
They need to be held accountable, every last one of them, whoever they are.