Sunday, October 30, 2016

"FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe"-WSJ

Federal agents are preparing to scour roughly 650,000 emails contained on the laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner to see how many relate to a prior probe of Hillary Clinton’s email use...
The review will take weeks at a minimum...
The FBI has had to await a court order to begin reviewing the emails, because they were uncovered in an unrelated probe of Mr. Weiner, and that order was delayed for reasons that remain unclear.
The latest development began in early October when New York-based FBI officials notified Andrew McCabe, the bureau’s second-in-command, that while investigating Mr. Weiner for possibly sending sexually charged messages to a minor, they had recovered a laptop with 650,000 emails. Many, they said, were from the accounts of Ms. [Huma] Abedin [Weiner's then wife and long-time close advisor to HRC].

Those emails stretched back years, these people said, and were on a laptop that both Mr. Weiner and Ms. Abedin used and that hadn’t previously come up...[So, completely different 'puter. This was the weiner-puter. How many 'puters have they searched?]

The FBI had searched the computer while looking for child pornography [Weiner is accused of wagging his weiner at under-age girls.], people familiar with the matter said, but the warrant they used didn’t give them authority to search for matters related to Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement at the State Department.

[Okay, pause: that totally makes sense, legally. You have to confine your search to the four corners of the search warrant, can't go beyond it. They were looking for child porn, how do you look for child porn and find HRC emails? If law enforcement has a warrant to search your house for firearms, let's say, they can go into any place, closets, drawers,  e.g., in your house in which it is reasonable that firearms may be found. If, during that reasonable search for firearms they discover child porn in a drawer, they can seize the child porn. They could not search your computer. If the search warrant says "Go search for firearms," they must confine their search to where it is reasonable that firearms may be. They could not look in your computer or in pill containers in your bathroom. Now here, they are searching a computer for child porn, they must similarly "minimize" intrusion. So, let's say they do a search of weiner's computer by typing in "CP" in his email window. That would be a reasonably tailored search term for the scope of the warrant. Let's say they get back a result from "Cocaine Purchase." They can pursue that unintended find. But how did they go legally from searching Weiner's computer for child porn to finding HRC emails? I don't know. Unpause.]

In their initial review of the laptop, the metadata showed many messages, apparently in the thousands, that were either sent to or from the private email server at Mrs. Clinton’s home...Senior FBI officials decided to let the Weiner investigators proceed with a closer examination of the metadata on the computer, and report back to them.

[Wait. Let's think this through. Of course the computer's metadata is going to show communication between HRC and Abedin. But the metadata search would have to be reasonably related to child pornography, the search scope of the warrant. The FBI was authorized by the judge who signed the warrant to search in reasonable places by reasonable means for child porn. The "closer examination" of the metadata would still have to be related to child porn.]

At a meeting early last week of senior Justice Department and FBI officials, a member of the department’s senior national-security staff asked for an update on the Weiner laptop, the people familiar with the matter said. At that point, officials realized that no one had acted to obtain a warrant, these people said.

[Wait. There was SOME warrant, no? They got a judge to sign a warrant to look in Weiner's computer for child porn, no? "A" warrant means "A warrant related to HRC emails," no? How would they get a warrant for HRC emails even if they discovered them unintentionally on Weiner's computer? Anybody who HRC emailed can have their computers searched? No. They could search Weiner's computer with Weiner's consent but this article doesn't mention that this was a "consent search." This is confusing on the legalities.]

Mr. [Andrew] McCabe [FBI's #2] then instructed the email investigators to talk to the Weiner investigators and see whether the laptop’s contents could be relevant to the Clinton email probe...After the investigators spoke, the agents agreed it was potentially relevant.

[Well. Technically, like legally, the Weiner investigators would not have known if the computer had emails relevant to HRC if they had "minimized" properly. IF there was a search warrant to minimize in conformity to. This article does not state on what legal authority Mr. McCabe based his instruction to the Clinton investigators to find out if the Weiner investigators turned up anything "relevant" to HRC emails. Nor is it clear how that EVER could be done.]