Ever wonder what color the sky is in the mainstream media’s world?
Throughout the last week, stories exploded about the Obama FBI embedding an informant inside the campaign of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump called the reports “bigger than Watergate” and the “all-time biggest political scandal!”
But not to The Washington Post and The New York Times. Over the weekend, both stellar news agencies wrote stories saying the insertion of an informant was simply to protect Trump.
“The FBI didn’t use an informant to go after Trump. They used one to protect him,” read the Post’s headline.
“Trump and his backers are wrong about what it means that the FBI reportedly was using a confidential source to gather information early in its investigation of possible campaign ties to Russia. The investigation started out as a counterintelligence probe, not a criminal one. And relying on a covert source rather than a more intrusive method of gathering information suggests that the FBI may have been acting cautiously — perhaps too cautiously — to protect the campaign, not undermine it,” wrote Asha Rangappa, a “lecturer” at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University and a former FBI agent.
As a former FBI counterintelligence agent, I know what Trump apparently does not: Counterintelligence investigations have a different purpose than their criminal counterparts. Rather than trying to find evidence of a crime, the FBI’s counterintelligence goal is to identify, monitor and neutralize foreign intelligence activity in the United States. In short, this entails identifying foreign intelligence officers and their network of agents; uncovering their motives and methods; and ultimately rendering their operations ineffective — either by clandestinely thwarting them (say, by feeding back misinformation or “flipping” their sources into double agents) or by exposing them.
Rangappa concludes: “Ironically, the FBI’s apparent attempt to protect the campaign by investigating Russia’s efforts quietly is now being weaponized against it. Accusations that the FBI was “spying” on the Trump campaign — rather than spying on foreign spies, which is its job — erase the important distinctions between counterintelligence and criminal investigations. It also displays a shocking ignorance of the devastating consequences to our national security. …”
The Times followed suit in a story headlined “F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims.”
In fact, F.B.I. agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign. The informant, an American academic who teaches in Britain, made contact late that summer with one campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, according to people familiar with the matter. He also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other aide, Carter Page, who was also under F.B.I. scrutiny for his ties to Russia.
To the Times, it’s no foul, no problem.
“No evidence has emerged that the informant acted improperly when the F.B.I. asked for help in gathering information on the former campaign advisers, or that agents veered from the F.B.I.’s investigative guidelines and began a politically motivated inquiry, which would be illegal.”
But then the “paper of record” says this: “Details about the informant’s relationship with the F.B.I. remain scant. It is not clear how long the relationship existed and whether the F.B.I. paid the source or assigned the person to other cases.”
That’s right: We still know hardly anything about the informant, what information he gathered, etc.
But when did having no facts ever stop the MSM?