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Using Logikcull to decode the DNC's leaked emails

July 26, 2016  |  5 min read


First there was the Bush White House. Then Snowden. Then Sony. Then Hillary. These days, you can find a juicy email leak whatever your particular persuasion or affiliation.

For journalists and others, Wikileaks has yielded an embarrassment of these riches. And the latest trove of email, belonging to Democratic National Committee staffers, executives and confidants, including the recently ousted chairwoman, is no exception. This particular dump has all the makings of a good scandal: political intrigue, Russian spies and cursing. Lots and lots of cursing.

Naturally, whenever one of these stories breaks, we do our best to track down the email and take Logikcull for a spin -- to see what it can really do.

The searchable Wikileaks database, which is available here, is great for running rudimentary keywords, but it's limited. With Logikcull and other advanced tools, you can build complex searches with filter carousels, metadata fields, and boolean-like search syntax. You can also do a bunch of whiz-bang stuff that old-school tools just can't match -- for instance, isolate emails that include attachments of documents with revisions, or highlight foreign language messages, or email with BCC recipients or confidential information.

This is why journalists and others prefer Logikcull, because it makes big data intelligible, automatically.

Below are a few things you can do with a legal intelligence solution like Logikcull. To be clear, we have no horse in this race. Our mission is to reveal what's in data. You can draw the conclusions.

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1. Identify emails to and from DNC lawyers with 'potentially privileged' filter

At the heart of this story are allegations that the DNC tried to undermine the presidential bid of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Certain emails seem to suggest that DNC lawyers were giving "pro-Hillary" advice on certain matters. To identify these emails with Logikcull, we simply select the "Potentially Privileged" QC filter (seen below at right), which automatically identifies documents that include domains of any U.S.-based law firms. Also fun, but unrelated: searching "Bernie Bro".

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2. Build advanced searches to identify DNC communications with press

Go into the Advanced Search Builder and select from a drop-down menu of domains of media outlets. Once those domains are specified, you can run searches within that subset of emails, or continue winnowing it down by searching metadata fields, such as email headers or subject lines. Not pictured below: Chuck Todd stroking chin mischievously.

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3. Find that one email calling cybersecurity concerns "dumbest thing ever"

Because email. It never comes back to haunt you.

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4. Read the hot takes that made DNC media booker Pablo Manriguez an overnight internet hero

With Logikcull, you can search within individual email domains or isolate emails that go to and from certain senders and recipients, so you can quickly key in on this particularly fiery staffer's hysterical one-liners. Alternatively, you can just search for "Pablo calm it down buddy," and select the messages that include threads. Not included: an NSFW filter.

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5. Get clever guerrilla marketing ideas

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6. Review drafts of speeches, email blasts and op-eds

Logikcull allows you to quickly pull documents that have revision histories or emails with document attachments that include revisions. So if you want to dig up that would-be front page Journal op-ed some poor junior staffer spent all night meticulously crafting only to have his self-esteem stamped out the next morning by a senior communications director with a quick delete finger ... you can. Lessons? Don't overlook attachments when searching emails. And also, get to the point, kid.

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7. Collaborate with colleagues from anywhere at any time

When you're wasting time at work researching a story and come across something hot, you naturally want to share it with your co-workers so you can waste their time, too. With Logikcull, you can tag other users using the @ symbol and include comments. It's Facebook-easy. And it sends a message right to that user's inbox and within the app. This is an especially convenient feature for large-scale data projects where multiple reviewers are working on the same data set simultaneously.

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8. Remove spam from your data set to get to the good stuff quicker

Email collections generally contain large amounts of documents that aren't relevant to the investigation at hand. With Logikcull, you can identify these messages in bulk using filters, keywords or other searches, select them, and remove them from your data set en masse. It's super convenient if you're running late for Diamond Joe's killer bash.

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If you're a journalist who would like to use Logikcull at no cost, please reach out to Robert Hilson at If you'd like to see Logikcull in action, please request a demo below.