A special team of analysts has been activated to sort and sift through the cache of newly discovered emails that kick-started the dormant Hillary Clinton email probe, two intelligence sources confirmed to Fox News.
The sources say the multi-agency task force was re-engaged over the weekend, with analysts working overlapping shifts covering 16 hours a day to identify new classified material.
The objective is to gain more clarity on the records recovered from ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s computer -- to assess if intelligence sources and methods were compromised and to inform FBI Director James Comey in case he faces more pressure for answers on the state of the investigation.
Comey’s announcement Friday that the bureau was reviewing newly discovered emails in the Clinton case – discovered during the separate sexting probe of the disgraced former congressman and estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin – drew criticism from Clinton allies who accused him of meddling in the election.
The White House, though, has defended Comey.
His investigators are proceeding despite the controversy surrounding Friday’s announcement.
Sources told Fox News that as of Tuesday afternoon, agents were using computer software to exploit the relevant emails from Weiner's laptop. This process is being undertaken by members of the FBI's Computer Analysis and Response Team, or CART.
The program being used was developed by FBI forensic computer experts. The program knocks out duplicates from the cache and, with Sunday’s warrant, investigators will then be able to read the email content.
The first step is relatively quick.
“You can process a very large set of emails that eliminate duplicates, eliminate redundancies and really focus your attention on the documents in those emails that are new,” said former Justice Department official Thomas Dupree.
If new records are identified, a second phase kicks in during which investigators will physically review the emails, then farm them out to the intelligence agencies for final classification.
The Donald Trump campaign asserts that highly sensitive documents are on the computer.
“They have probably discovered … classified information in this 650,000,” said retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a Trump surrogate.
The FBI is not commenting. The Justice Department sent a letter to Capitol Hill pledging every available resource to expedite the review before Election Day.
Karen Dunn, representing Abedin, told reporters that Abedin was surprised to learn her emails were on the computer.
"From the beginning, Ms. Abedin has complied fully and voluntarily with State Department and law enforcement requests, including sitting for hours-long interviews and providing her work-related and potentially work-related documents,” she said in a statement. “While the FBI has not contacted us about this, Ms. Abedin will continue to be, as she always has been, forthcoming and cooperative.”
And late Tuesday, the conservative group Judicial Watch released new Clinton emails, uncovered by the FBI in the first review, showing that in November 2010, Clinton’s unsecured server was attacked 10 times in two days. The Secret Service was informed. The FBI director said in July there was no evidence of a breach, though it could not be ruled out.
A government official also confirmed Tuesday that Comey and his boss Attorney General Loretta Lynch met for the first time since his decision to re-initiate the Clinton email investigation. The official characterized the meeting as cordial.
Fox News’ Matthew Dean contributed to this report.
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”