When FBI concluded the investigation of the last of the 650 000 emails on Clinton’s email server, Trump expressed that ”You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days”. As a search engine developer, we in IntelliSearch are surprised that it actually took as much as eight days.
We have earlier often described how effective an internal search engine can be for an organization. Just for the record, with search engine we don’t mean Google or Bing. We are instead referring to indexing content in internal documents, or as in this scenario: 650 000 suspicious emails on Hillary Clinton’s private email-server.
Our goal is not to in any way to take side in any of the ongoing presidential campaigns. We merely want to correct the statement that reviewing that many emails in such a short timeframe is impossible. It is actually possible to review a lot more than 650 000 email in shorter time than the eight days FBI used.
Let us explain.
First of all, we can assume that FBI indeed has access to powerful search-engines capable of such tasks. By obvious reasons FBI does not publish what kind of tools they have available.
The task of reviewing 650 000 emails is all about structured intelligent work by smart people, assisted by good search tools. The first task is to index the emails into the search engine. 650 000 items will, given the right amount of hardware and resources, take only hours. When the emails are indexed they are at the same time categorized, so that the analysts can then easily drill down into the emails, using a category-tree. The default is to allow for drilling into sender and receivers, dates, attachments and attachment-types. Finally, they can also set up additional categories for mentions of other persons, places, items or basically anything of interest. At the same time they can add a filter that makes sure that any of the emails that they have already processed earlier this summer are whitelisted and thus excluded.
This means that FBI most likely is left with a considerable smaller amount of emails than they started with. With the remaining items the analysts are now free to drill down into the emails as described above, combined with the possibility of doing direct searches for words, expressions and phrases. Any suspicious results would then be tagged, for another team of analysts to manually verify.
In other words, it is obviously just about impossible to use manual labor to review such an amount of emails in that timeframe. But, isn’t that exactly why we have created powerful hardware and software?
A search-engine can be a very effective tool to both analyze and search for information. You can set it up to monitor an information source for words and phrases and have preemptive results delivered to you. By surveilling multiple sources, you can then have total control and not have to issue searches in each of the source-systems manually. You can also safely run a search engine without worrying about disturbing the servers being monitored, as they are not interfering with the workflows.
A search-engine is simply put just a very hard-working colleague and friend that is always in the office and ready to assist.