General David Petraeus was arrested for leaving his classified schedule on mistress Paula Broadwell’s nightstand. Kristian Saucier was arrested for taking a classified photograph on a submarine. Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin had dozens of classified Clinton emails on a laptop and…
There are a great deal of inconsistent application of law surrounding classified information. There is also a great deal of fatigue surrounding discussion of those inconsistent applications. Contradictions, inconsistency and obtuse justifications are as rampant in our midst as the political narratives shaping them. Perhaps that’s by design.
We begin reading Chapter 11 of the IG Report with a growing acceptance that not only is there a need for a special counsel, but there is a brutally obvious need for multiple special counsels; each given a specific carve-out investigation that comes directly from the content of the Inspector General report. This issue of the handling of the Weiner/Abedin laptop screams for a special counsel investigation on that facet alone. Why?
Well, consider this from page #388 (emphasis mine):
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. 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 stated that only after that technological breakthrough did he begin to think it was “possible we might wrap up before the election.” (pg 388)
The key takeaway here is two-fold. First, the laptop is in the custody of the FBI; that’s important moving forward (I’ll explain later). Also, specifically important, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, the lead investigative authority in the Hillary Clinton MYE (Mid-Year-Exam), is explaining to the IG how they were able to process an exhaustive volume of emails (350,000) and Blackberry communications (344,000) in a few days; [Oct 30 to Nov 5]
Note: “OTD was able “to do some amazing things to rapidly de-duplicate” the emails on the laptop.”
OK, you got that?
Now lets look at the very next page, #389 (again, emphasis mine):
[…] The FBI determined that Abedin forwarded two of the confirmed classified emails to Weiner. 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 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. (pg 389)
See the problem? See the contradiction?
Strzok is saying due to some amazing wizardry the FBI forensics team was able to de-duplicate the emails. However, FBI forensics is saying they were NOT able to de-duplicate the emails.
Both of these statements cannot be true. And therein lies the underlying evidence to support a belief the laptop content was never actually reviewed. But it gets worse, much worse….
To show how it’s FBI Agent Peter Strzok that is lying; go back to chapter #9 and re-read what the New York case agent was saying about the content of the laptop.
The New York FBI analysis supports the FBI forensic statement in that no de-duplication was possible because the metadata was not consistent. The New York FBI Weiner case agent ran into this metadata issue when using extraction software on the laptop.
CHAPTER 9: The case agent assigned to the Weiner investigation was certified as a Digital Extraction Technician and, as such, had the training and skills to extract digital evidence from electronic devices.
The case agent told the OIG that he began processing Weiner’s devices upon receipt on September 26. The case agent stated that he noticed “within hours” that there were “over 300,000 emails on the laptop.”
The case agent told us that on either the evening of September 26 or the morning of September 27, he noticed the software program on his workstation was having trouble processing the data on the laptop. (pg 274)
The New York Case Agent then describes how inconsistent metadata within the computer files for the emails and Blackberry communications, made it impossible for successful extraction. The FBI NY case agent and the Quantico FBI forensics agent agree on the metadata issue and the inability to use their software programs for extraction and layered comparison for the purposes of de-duplication.
Both NY and Quantico contradict the statement to the IG by FBI Agent Peter Strzok. However, that contradiction, while presented in a factual assertion by the IG, is entirely overlooked and never reconciled within the inspector general report. That irreconcilable statement also sheds more sunlight on the motives of Strzok.
Next up, there were only three FBI people undertaking the October Clinton email review. To learn who they are we jump back to Chapter #11, page #389.
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, [Peter] Strzok, and FBI Attorney 1 [Tashina Gauhar] for evidentiary value. (pg 389)
Pete Strzok, Tash Gauhar and the unknown lead analyst. That’s it. Three people.
This is the crew that created the “wizardry” that FBI Director James Comey says allowed him to tell congress with confidence that 1,355,980 electronic files (pg 389), containing 350,000 emails and 344,000 Blackberry communications were reviewed between October 30th and the morning of November 6th, 2016.
Pete, Tash and one lead analyst. Uh huh.
The Inspector General just presents the facts; that’s obviously what he did. Then it’s up to FBI and DOJ leadership to accept the facts, interpret them, and apply their meaning.
But FBI is committed to bias training?
There is an actual hero in all of this though. It’s that unnamed FBI Case Agent in New York who wouldn’t drop the laptop issue and forced the FBI in DC to take action on the laptop. Even the IG points this out (chapter #9, page 331):
We found that what changed between September 29 and October 27 that finally prompted the FBI to take action was not new information about what was on the Weiner laptop but rather the inquiries from the SDNY prosecutors and then from the Department. The only thing of significance that had changed was the calendar and the fact that people outside of the FBI were inquiring about the status of the Weiner laptop. (pg 331)
Those SDNY prosecutors only called Main Justice in DC because the New York case agent went in to see them and said he wasn’t going to be the scape goat for a buried investigation (chapter #9, pg 303) “The case agent told us that he scheduled a meeting on October 19 with the two SDNY AUSAs assigned to the Weiner investigation because he felt like he had nowhere else to turn.” … “The AUSAs both told us that the case agent appeared to be very stressed and worried that somehow he would be blamed in the end if no action was taken.”
On October 20, 2016, the AUSAs met with their supervisors at SDNY and informed them of their conversation with the Weiner case agent. The AUSAs stated that they told their supervisors the substantive information reported by the case agent, the case agent’s concerns that no one at the FBI had expressed interest in this information, and their concern that the case agent was stressed out and might act out in some way. (pg 304)
Why would the New York Case Agent be worried?
Consider Page 274, footnote #165:
fn 165: No electronic record exists of the case agent’s initial review of the Weiner laptop. The case agent told us that at some point in mid-October 2016 the NYO ASAC instructed the case agent to wipe his work station. The case agent explained that the ASAC was concerned about the presence of potentially classified information on the case agent’s work station, which was not authorized to process classified information.
The case agent told us that he followed the ASAC’s instructions, but that this request concerned him because the audit trail of his initial processing of the laptop would no longer be available. The case agent clarified that none of the evidence on the Weiner laptop was impacted by this, explaining that the FBI retained the Weiner laptop and only the image that had been copied onto his work station was deleted. The ASAC recalled that the case agent “worked through the security department to address the concern” of classified information on an unclassified system. He told us that he did not recall how the issue was resolved.
- There were only three people in the Mid-Year-Event team granted authority to physically do the Clinton email review.
- They were: FBI Agent Peter Strzok, FBI Attorney-1 Tashina “Tash” Gauhar, and an unnamed lead analyst.
- FBI Agent Peter Strzok says they were able to cull the number of emails through the use of “some amazing things to rapidly de-duplicate” the emails.
- The New York FBI case agent assigned to the Weiner investigation, a certified Digital Extraction Technician, as well as the FBI forensics team in Quantico say it was impossible to use the conflicted metadata to “de-duplicate” the emails.
- Someone is lying.
- FBI Director James Comey said his investigative unit used some form of “wizardry” to review the content of the Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner laptop.
- The Inspector General makes no determination as to who is telling the truth; and never asked the question of whether an actual review of the laptop emails took place.
- The FBI still has possession of the Abedin/Weiner laptop.