On Sunday, FBI Director James Comey declared for the second time that Hillary Clintoncommitted no crimes regarding her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. Unsurprisingly, the reaction to this news was a highly partisan one, and perhaps Comey did work some damage to the Clinton campaign (as was the main criticism of his poorly timed public announcement). We can only speculate about that until Tuesday ends.
Speaking of speculation, a conspiracy theory immediately popped up on Twitter after Comey issued his letter. The bureau took about a week to comb through 650,000 messages amid all of the unsavory flotsam that surely resides on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. This was a lighting fast result, but was it too speedy?
Trump enthusiast General Michael Flynn — who was last seen declaring that Mark Cubanwas “not a legitimate person” — questioned how Comey and his staff could possibly dig through an average of one email per second. He tweeted that this was “IMPOSSIBLE,” and “something does not jive.”
IMPOSSIBLE:— General Flynn (@GenFlynn) November 6, 2016
There R 691,200 seconds in 8 days. DIR Comey has thoroughly reviewed 650,000 emails in 8 days? An email / second? IMPOSSIBLE RT
It took 1 year to review 60K and 8 days to review 650K? Smart machines or not, something does not jive. Thoughts?— General Flynn (@GenFlynn) November 6, 2016
And so, a conspiracy theory was born and began to spread like wildfire across social media. Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine decided to confront the storm head on by calling upon Edward Snowden for a judgment call on how long the process would truly take.
Hey @Snowden, for context, how long would it take the NSA to dedupe 650k emails?— Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) November 7, 2016
Snowden’s answer was swift and indicated that the task could be completed in a few hours, tops, even with a crusty old laptop.