Colleagues: Huma, What’s In Those Emails?’ Abedin: ‘Hey, I’m in the Dark, Don’t Ask Me!’

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Clinton aide said to be unsure how emails ended up in her husband’s laptop, and what their significance could be.

— Former federal computer-crimes prosecutor Orin Kerr, now a law professor at George Washington University
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“The newly found emails number in the tens of thousands or more, with at least some pertaining to the period when Abedin worked for the State Department from 2009 to 2013, first as a deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Clinton and later as a consultant, a law enforcement source said. Some of the messages could already be among the large set of messages the FBI pieced together from a variety of different devices and sources during the yearlong inquiry into Clinton’s private email server”

Word that Abedin claims to be unaware of the cache of messages came as a U.S. official revealed that the FBI obtained a warrant to examine the emails in greater detail.

The disclosure of an additional trove of emails that FBI Director James Comey says may be relevant to the Clinton email investigation has rocked the final days of the presidential campaign, with Comey coming under withering criticism for disclosing to Congress last week that new work was underway in the Clinton probe as a result of the discovery of the new set of messages.

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“Sources familiar with the investigation said the laptop was seized early in October as part of an FBI probe into allegations that Weiner, a former congressman, traded sexually explicit messages with an underage girl.”

Late Sunday, already intense heat on Comey from the Clinton campaign and its allies grew even more searing. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Comey “may have broken the law” by engaging in partisan political activity. And former Attorney General Eric Holder became the most prominent figure to join a long list of former prosecutors condemning the FBI director’s decision to disclose the new politically sensitive discovery just 11 days before the presidential election.

The newly found emails number in the tens of thousands or more, with at least some pertaining to the period when Abedin worked for the State Department from 2009 to 2013, first as a deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Clinton and later as a consultant, a law enforcement source said. Some of the messages could already be among the large set of messages the FBI pieced together from a variety of different devices and sources during the yearlong inquiry into Clinton’s private email server, officials said.

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“Despite sharp disagreement with Comey’s decision to publicize the discovery of the new set of emails just days before the presidential election, Justice Department officials pressed quickly for the warrant once they learned of the messages and are trying to organize a quick review of the emails.”

Abedin had an account on that server, but there were conflicting news reports about whether the newly found set of messages was from her clintonemail.com account and whether it contained messages exchanged with Clinton. Until the warrant was issued Sunday, legal concerns limited the analysis the FBI could do of the messages.

Sources familiar with the investigation said the laptop was seized early in October as part of an FBI probe into allegations that Weiner, a former congressman, traded sexually explicit messages with an underage girl.

[Read the full story here, at POLITICO]

Despite sharp disagreement with Comey’s decision to publicize the discovery of the new set of emails just days before the presidential election, Justice Department officials pressed quickly for the warrant once they learned of the messages and are trying to organize a quick review of the emails, a U.S. official told POLITICO.

However, it seems impossible that a full analysis will be completed by Election Day on Nov. 8 because if potentially classified messages that haven’t been found before are located, they will have to be farmed out to various intelligence agencies for classification review. That interagency process often takes months.

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“As painful as this is for people, this was not a close call.”

— FBI Director James Comey

While Comey’s extensive public comments on the Clinton email investigation have angered many of his current and former Justice Department colleagues, legal experts said they also created awkwardness for prosecutors seeking to draft arguments that would justify a search or seizure warrant for the new batch of Abedin emails.

For months, Comey has been public about his agency’s conclusion that the evidence obtained in an almost-yearlong investigation into Clinton’s private server setup was not remotely close to what would justify filing criminal charges against the former secretary of state or her advisers.

“As painful as this is for people, this was not a close call,” the FBI chief told skeptical Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee last month.

However, to get the warrant, Justice Department lawyers appear to have mounted nearly the opposite argument: that the newly discovered messages were likely to contain evidence of a crime. Read the rest of this entry »


Andrew McCarthy: What Was Cheryl Mills Doing There?

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Andrew C. McCarthy writes:

…Among the most eye-popping claims Clinton made to the FBI was that she was unfamiliar with the markings on classified documents. Yes, you read that correctly: one of the highest ranking national security officials in the United States government – an official whose day-to-day responsibilities extensively involved classified information; who had secure facilities installed in her two homes (in addition to her office) so she could review classified information in them; and who acknowledged to the FBI that, as secretary of state, she was designated by the president as “an Original Classification Authority,” meaning she had the power to determine what information should be classified and at what level – had the audacity to tell the interviewing agents that she did not know what the different classification symbols in classified documents signified…

“I nearly fell out of my chair upon reading the very first paragraph of the notes of Clinton’s interview, which identifies the lawyers for Clinton who were permitted to be present for the interview. Among them is Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s longtime confidant and chief-of-staff at the State Department.”

…Clinton also claimed that she “did not pay attention to the ‘level’ of classified information.” The interview notes do not explain how the FBI squared this with, for example, (a) Clinton’s acknowledgement that top-secret “special access program” (SAP) information was delivered to her by paper in her office and she knew it was supposed to be handled with extraordinary care; and (b) Clinton’s admission that she made use of her Original Classification Authority at times (though she couldn’t say how often). That means she had to have assigned to some information the very classification levels with which she portrays herself as scarcely familiar.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

We also learn in the FBI documents not only that Mrs. Clinton frequently lost her Blackberry devices, but that the FBI failed to account for some thirteen of them, most if not all of which she used while transmitting the over 2,000 classified emails the FBI identified.

Clintons land in Haiti to showcase industrial park

“As Clinton’s chief-of-staff, Mills was intimately involved in issues related to Clinton’s private email set up, the discussions about getting her a secure BlackBerry similar to President Obama’s, and questions that were raised (including in FOIA requests) about Clinton’s communications.That is to say, Mills was an actor in the facts that were under criminal investigation by the FBI.”

Clinton aides told the FBI that her devices – loaded with stored emails – would at times disappear and their whereabouts would become unknown. Interestingly, in the notes of Mrs. Clinton’s interview, the FBI says she told them that her BlackBerry devices would occasionally “malfunction”; when this happened, “[h]er aides would assist in obtaining a new BlackBerry.” I have not yet found indications that the FBI asked her about lost rather than malfunctioning devices.

[Full text here, at National Review]

We do learn, though, that on February 9, 2016, the Justice Department asked Clinton’s lawyers to turn over all 13 mobile devices that the FBI identified as having potentially transmitted emails. Almost two weeks later, on February 22, the lawyers told the FBI “they were unable to locate any of these devices.” As a result, the notes recount, “the FBI was unable to acquire or forensically examine any of these 13 mobile devices.” Read the rest of this entry »


[BOOKS] ‘Losing the Signal’: The Inside Story of How the iPhone Crippled BlackBerry

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‘Losing the Signal’ examines Research In Motion’s efforts to take on Apple’s game-changing smartphone

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[Read an excerpt here, at WSJ.com]

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[Order the book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and
Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry”
 
from Amazon.com]

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WSJ.com

 


SMIDGEN REPORT: Blackberry? Destroyed it.

IRS Destroyed Lois Lerner Blackberry When? AFTER Congressional Inquiry Began, That’s When.

NROIan Tuttle reports: According to the second round of IRS affidavits submitted to U.S. district court judge Emmett Sullivan, who is presiding over the lawsuit brought against the nation’s tax agency by watchdog group Judicial Watch, Inc., IRS technical analysts did not search Lois Lerner’s Blackberry for her allegedly “lost” e-mails — and the smartphone was destroyed after congressional investigation had begun.SMG-REPORT

“There is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any Blackberry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this litigation.”

— Stephen Manning, IRS Information Technology business unit

Lerner’s government-issued laptop reportedly crashed in June 2011, at which time IRS analysts tried but failed to recover data, including e-mail communications, according to previous testimony. In his sworn declaration, Stephen Manning – deputy chief information officer for strategy and modernization with the IRS Information Technology business unit – reports that “there is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any Blackberry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this litigation.” This despite the fact that Lerner had been in possession of a government-issued Blackberry since November 2009, according to the statement of Thomas J. Kane – deputy associate chief counsel for procedure and administration within the IRS Office of Chief Counsel – and it would likely have hosted at least some of Lerner’s electronic communications….(read more)

Read the rest of this entry »


BlackBerry Sues the Competition

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When patent law blocks innovation

Jesse Walker  writes:  Patents are supposed to foster innovation by restricting competition—in the Constitution’s words, to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” by giving inventors a temporary “exclusive Right” to their creations. But sometimes those restrictions can suppress innovation instead of encouraging it.

Consider the Typo Keyboard Case, which is supposed to start shipping to consumers this month. The idea behind the device is simple. Right now, people who prefer a smartphone with a physical keyboard basically have just one option, the BlackBerry. If you like real keyboards but prefer the iPhone’s operating system, you have to either put up with the BlackBerry’s software or put up with the iPhone’s virtual keyboard; no phone-maker offers a product that combines the best of both worlds. The Typo fills that gap. It’s a case that lets you slip a keypad over an iPhone and type the way the QWERTY gods intended, without a flat touchscreen that makes errors inevitable and without an algorithm that “corrects” words that weren’t errors in the first place.

Read the rest of this entry »


Privacy Scandal: NSA Can Spy on Smart Phone Data

eye_of_the_one_dollar_pyramidSPIEGEL has learned from internal NSA documents that the US intelligence agency has the capability of tapping user data from the iPhone, devices using Android as well as BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure. 

The United States’ National Security Agency intelligence-gathering operation is capable of accessing user data from smart phones from all leading manufacturers. Top secret NSA documents that SPIEGEL has seen explicitly note that the NSA can tap into such information on Apple iPhones, BlackBerry devices and Google’s Android mobile operating system. Read the rest of this entry »


Reminder to Microsoft: It’s Still Hard to Be Like Apple

Jared Newman for TIME

Jared Newman for TIME

Although Microsoft has talked about becoming an Apple-like “devices and services” company for nearly a year, the acquisition of Nokia’s device and service arms puts those plans on the fast track.

My colleague Harry McCracken pointed out last night that Nokia sells nearly 87 percent of all Windows Phones, and that number seems likely to grow. By purchasing Nokia, Microsoft will gain near-complete control over Windows Phone hardware, not just the software.

For smartphones, this is as close to Apple‘s approach as it gets. Apple is famous for its tight integration of hardware and software, which generates lots of satisfied customers as well as huge profits.

Read the rest of this entry »


Do you like Android? Do you like iPhone? SHUT UP!

REQUEST: PLEASE STOP FIGHTING ABOUT YOUR SMARTPHONE:

Do you like Android? You should, it’s amazing. iOS? Wow, what a great platform, no wonder it started a revolution. Windows Phone? Seriously, it’s got a remarkable and beautiful interface. BlackBerry? There are plenty of great reasons people love it. And no matter which platform you adore, it’s shockingly possible to both have a preference and respect that other people may prefer an entirely different device. I know. Totally weird. But true.

Or, you can just call anyone who expresses a contrary opinion a jerk, or a fanboi, or butthurt, some other un-clever and deeply unoriginal pejorative that ends with the suffix “tard” and ultimately makes you look dumber than the person you’re trying, vainly, to insult.

The phone wars, the platform wars, should be left to people who work for Apple and Samsung and Google and Microsoft and Nokia and BlackBerry. Do you work for Apple? Do you work for Samsung? No? Then shut up.

Nobody cares what kind of smartphone you believe in. It’s not a religion.

It’s more like a sports team, for some.

via Instapundit