The announcement on Friday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a new batch of Hillary Clinton emails has sent shockwaves through the intelligence community.
FBI director James Comey broke bureau protocol informing the Senate of possible new evidence related to the case.
“This letter is a shocker,” said James Wedick, who headed the FBI’s corruption squad in Sacramento.
In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey explained that the bureau “has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”
Comey did not explain where the new emails came from, only saying only that they surfaced “in connection with an unrelated case.”
The New York Times reported Friday that the new batch of related emails were discovered on the devices of former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, as part of another FBI investigation into illicit text messages that Weiner sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina.
But some experts caution against jumping to conclusions.
“Even if Comey found minimal evidence that could potentially be relevant, he would have to make it public immediately to avoid the perception that he was aiding the Clinton campaign by keeping it hidden until after the election,” former FBI special agent, M. Quentin Williams, told TheWrap.
In July, Attorney General Loretta Lynch accepted Comey’s recommendation that no charges be pursued in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
“We cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts,” Comey said in a prepared statement at the time.
In his Friday letter, Comey made clear that the agency has yet to assess the new information and that he could not say how long it would take, suggesting perhaps that the investigation could continue past the Nov. 8 election.
“There is no way the information can be evaluated in a 10-day period,” Wideck said. “It’s impossible.”