The most recent round of hearings on the Hill have provided plenty of blogging fodder and subjects for cable news roundtable discussions, but it wasn’t all focused on Flynn. Ted Cruz managed to once again raise the issue of Huma Abedin and all of those emails which she forwarded to the laptop of Carlos Danger for printing. (Including some which were classified.) We haven’t heard much out of Comey on the subject since he informed the nation a few weeks ago that he had no plans to charge Abedin or her sext-crazy husband over those lapses, citing a lack of evidence of “criminal intent.” (I’m still trying to figure that one out.)
But were the original claims about the extent of Huma’s document dispersion accurate? I ran across an interesting piece at Propublica which claims that their investigations, including reports from unnamed sources “close to the investigation” revealed that Comey’s comments were “inaccurate” and the real numbers would be shown to be far lower. Can that be real? It may all come down to semantics.
The problem: Much of what Comey said about this was inaccurate. Now the FBI is trying to figure out what to do about it.
FBI officials have privately acknowledged that Comey misstated what Abedin did and what the FBI investigators found. On Monday, the FBI was said to be preparing to correct the record by sending a letter to Congress later this week. But that plan now appears on hold, with the bureau undecided about what to do.
Wow! If this is true then it’s a real bombshell they’ve got on their hands. But there were specific numbers of emails, both general traffic and classified, coming out of that investigation at regular intervals. Could they really be wrong? Let’s see Propublica’s explanation. (Emphasis added)
According to two sources familiar with the matter — including one in law enforcement — Abedin forwarded only a handful of Clinton emails to her husband for printing — not the “hundreds and thousands” cited by Comey. It does not appear Abedin made “a regular practice” of doing so. Other officials said it was likely that most of the emails got onto the computer as a result of backups of her Blackberry.
It was not clear how many, if any, of the forwarded emails were among the 12 “classified” emails Comey said had been found on Weiner’s laptop. None of the messages carried classified markings at the time they were sent.
Okay… I think this is coming into focus now. If there is, in fact, any discrepancy in the testimony given by Comey, it’s not actually about the number of emails in question. This appears to be an argument over semantics. Perhaps the number of emails which were specifically sent to Weiner’s laptop for printing by individually selecting them and hitting the “Forward” button on her email account was relatively small.
But none of this changes the fact that the thousands of other items were still present on the laptop. Whether they were individually sent using a forwarding function or if they were part of an automated, batching backup system from her phone is irrelevant. I’m fairly sure that Blackberry isn’t selling phones which come with a default setting of, “Send All Of My Emails to Carlos Danger Unless I Opt Out.” (Or if they are, everyone reading this should pause while you go find a hammer and smash your phones into a pile of dust before continuing.)
All of this smoke and fog over Comey “misstating” something regarding Huma Abedin and those emails sounds like so much dancing on the head of a pin. Even if they were transferred as part of a normal backup routine, somebody set that function up. And since it was Abedin’s phone and her husband’s laptop, the responsibility lies with them.