“This is not rocket science,” says Jonathan Zdziarski, a forensics expert who’s consulted for law enforcement and worked as a systems administrator. “Eight days is more than enough time to pull this off in a responsible way.”
One former FBI forensics expert even tells WIRED he’s personally assessed far larger collections of data, far faster. “You can triage a dataset like this in a much shorter amount of time,” says the former agent, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid any political backlash. “We’d routinely collect terabytes of data in a search. I’d know what was important before I left the guy’s house.”
In this case in particular, forensics experts say, investigators’ jobs might even be particularly easy: Because the new collection of emails under investigation were taken from the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the husband of Clinton Aide Huma Abedin, only a portion of those emails would be messages sent to or from Clinton or anyone else on the campaign rather than those sent to or from Weiner’s contacts. Simple filtering by “to:” or “from:” could cut out hundreds of thousands of messages.