As emails are scoured, FBI's handling of other probes raises questions

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton talks to staff members, including aide Huma Abedin (L), onboard her campaign plane in White Plains, New York, U.S. October 28, 2016. 

REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTX2QVBW

The New York Times reports that the FBI during the summer showed more caution with investigations linked to the Clinton Foundation and Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, raising new questions about the FBI director’s decisions to tell Congress about emails that may have gone through Hillary Clinton’s private servers. 

According to the New York Times, officials avoided steps that “would make the cases public so close to the election.”

FBI Director James Comey spoke with Department of Justice head Loretta Lynch earlier this week. CBS News is told the two discussed the seriousness of the situation and Lynch asked Comey how he’s doing overall. This comes as agents and engineers are using a program to methodically search through the massive quantity of emails, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues.

Inside the labs of the FBI’s elite Operational Technology Division in Quantico, Virginia, agents are using a sophisticated software program to scan and sort through several hundred thousand emails on Anthony Wiener’s laptop.

The software is searching for emails belonging to Huma Abedin, which are expected to number in the thousands. They’re trying to figure out if any are relevant to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

The program the FBI is using is likely similar to one built by San Francisco-based company, Logikcull.

“It tells you what’s inside that data. In 650,000 emails, how many attachments are there? How many documents are images that don’t have any searchable content at all? How many duplicates are there?” said Andy Wilson, the company’s CEO.
 
Wilson said the process can be completed in days, not weeks.

“If they do it in a more modern way, it could be done literally in a couple of hours or a day or two,” Wilson said.

But even with sophisticated technology sorting through the emails, the review is expected to take time despite mounting pressure on the FBI and director James Comey.

“Can you do that in seven days?” Pegues asked.

Depending on volume, the answer could well be no,” said Ron Hosko, a former assistant director of the FBI.
 
“Can you do it thoroughly?” Pegues asked.

“I would think not, I would think not,” Hosko said. “I would say no because I want to be right. I don’t just want to be fast.”

This week the FBI released records related to the investigation of former President Bill Clinton’s controversial 2001 pardon of Marc Rich, a wealthy Democratic donor. Hillary Clinton’s campaign criticized the timing, but officials said the release was in response to a Freedom of Information request.

The FBI defended the timing of the release, saying it needed to make the documents public or else it would have been withholding information.