The FBI should and could easily have finished its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop by no later than early Monday morning. And, consistent with its current policy, it should have disclosed the result of its review by no later than noon on Monday.
It should be easy for the FBI to eliminate almost all of the 650,000 emails using only metadata. First, eliminate any emails not to or from the email address that Hillary used for the private server. Next, eliminate any emails not sent or received within the four-year span of her tenure as Secretary of State. Finally, eliminate any emails with the same unique message ID as those already reviewed. All of this could be automated, and all could be done within the space of an hour. Even if the FBI hadn’t already reviewed any of the emails, they should have been done with their review by early Monday morning.
We can estimate how many emails would remain for review. Suppose that about a third of the emails on Mr. Weiner’s laptop were to or from Ms. Abedin (say 220,000).
Ms. Abedin has been Ms Clinton’s confidante from 1996 to date. However, the useful life of a laptop is much less. Assuming that Ms. Abedin used that laptop for email starting when Hillary became Secretary of State (January 21, 2009), just over half of her emails occurred within Hillary’s tenure in that position, which ended February 1, 2013. Half of the 220,000 Abedin emails is 110,000 emails.
(Note that if the laptop is either newer or older than January 1, 2009, the percent of Abedin-Clinton emails that were during Hillary’s tenure would increase.)
Doubtless, Ms. Abedeen corresponds with others besides Hillary. Let’s guess that about 1/4 of her correspondence during the period was with Hillary (say 28,000).
Of Ms. Abedeen’s correspondence with Hillary within the period, let’s guess that one-quarter was to or from the private server (say 7,000).
It is also likely possible to filter out those emails that do not contain the confidential “C” designation – the only emails that are of interest in the probe.
After the elimination of the non-“C” emails and the deduplication by message ID, it may be that the FBI has already reviewed all of the remaining emails. But even assuming that it turns out that the FBI hasn’t yet reviewed any of the estimated 7,000 emails between the private server and Ms. Abedin during the period, and that all of them bear the “C” notation, review of those emails should have been completed by early Monday morning. A matter of this urgency and magnitude warrants the work of at least 100 reviewers at all times. Each reviewer would only need to review 70 emails each, which could easily be accomplished within an hour. Then, assuming that one out of one hundred emails needs senior scrutiny, that’s only 70 emails.
What is the delay?