No, Trump was not spied on by FBI

James Comey clears the air about Trump's charges that the FBI employed people to spy on his campaign. As always, Mr. Comey is totally upright and honest with the American public.

Washington (CNN)Former FBI Director James Comey pushed back on President Donald Trump's spying claims on Wednesday, warning that attacking the FBI "will do lasting damage to our country."

In a tweet that did not address the President by name, the former FBI director wrote, "Facts matter. The FBI's use of Confidential Human Sources (the actual term) is tightly regulated and essential to protecting the country. Attacks on the FBI and lying about its work will do lasting damage to our country. How will Republicans explain this to their grandchildren?"

By the way, what is a Confidential Human Source, anyway? Here's how the Assistant Director, Director of Intelligence for the FBI, Walter M. Murphy, used the term back in his 2007 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

As the Assistant Director for the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence, I am responsible for coordinating and establishing standards for human source development, source validation and evaluation, and targeting and exploitation across the FBI and ensuring standards are met. I set the framework in place for policies and procedures that translate our authorities and the direction set forth by the Attorney General, into guidance upon which we spot, assess, recruit, sustain, and validate FBI human sources. [...]

[T]he FBI has worked closely with our intelligence community counterparts to ensure we are building standards that will meet or exceed the expectations established for the intelligence community regarding the handling of human sources. The FBI recently developed a comprehensive human intelligence (HUMINT) development and collection course to significantly enhance our ability to routinely and systematically identify, target, develop, and operate human sources of high intelligence value.

If you are still confused after that, I wouldn't blame you, but if you examine what he said closely, you can see that a "Confidential Human Source" is a euphemism for "spy." Confidential Human Sources, according to the FBI Director of Intelligence, are targeted. Then they are recruited. and developed. Then they must be operated. The intelligence they provide must be validated.

What he didn't say was that they are confidential informants that the FBI authorized to break the law over "22,800 times" between 2011 and 2014 (yes, during the Obama administration). Guess what is another word commonly used as the equivalent of an "informant." It's "spy." Also, spook, mole, inside agent ... well, you get the idea. By the way, here is how Dictionary.com defines a spy:

... a person who seeks to obtain confidential information about the activities, plans, methods, etc., of an organization or person ...

So, James Comey is "technically" telling the truth when he tells us that the term used by the FBI for the people used by the FBI to spy on Trump's campaign are formally called "Confidential Human Sources." But that's just a fancy way to avoid stating the obvious: that the FBI was using people to spy on the activities of those employed by Trump and his campaign in his run for office. If you're the Washington Post, you refer to this spy as a "secret intelligence source," but the truth is our intelligence agencies did spy on Trump's campaign, despite Mr. Comey's disingenuous denials.

We now know the name of at least one the FBI's "Confidential Human Sources" - Stefan Halper, a man with an extremely shady past as an intelligence operative.

To begin with, it’s obviously notable that the person the FBI used to monitor the Trump campaign is the same person who worked as a CIA operative running that 1980 Presidential election spying campaign. [...]

The NYT in 1983 said the Reagan campaign spying operation “involved a number of retired Central Intelligence Agency officials and was highly secretive.” The article, by then-NYT reporter Leslie Gelb, added that its “sources identified Stefan A. Halper, a campaign aide involved in providing 24-hour news updates and policy ideas to the traveling Reagan party, as the person in charge.” Halper, now 73, had also worked with Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Alexander Haig as part of the Nixon administration.

Regardless of you opinion of Trump, this is seriously dangerous activity by our intelligence community that threatens the integrity of our government, and has for apparently decades. But then, anyone familiar with the history of the CIA and FBI would not be surprised in the least to see these organizations interfering in US elections in order to obtain leverage over whomever the American people choose to serve as our elected officials. That so few people, especially in the media, are disturbed by this behavior by our intelligence community simply because the odious figure of Trump was its target is further proof we do not have a democracy, not in the true sense of that term, and haven't for a very long time.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

are there any campaigns they aren't spying on?

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17 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal In fact, are there any politicians that they aren't spying on, whether on campaign or not?

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14 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Where are the boundaries between the CIA and the FBI these days, organizationally and functionally?

Are there any?

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16 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

JekyllnHyde's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal


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11 users have voted.

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

by David Foster Wallace. The title is "Just Asking."

I don't apologize for reprinting it in full because I suspect the author would have wanted it spread as far as possible.

Just Asking

Just Asking
DAVID FOSTER WALLACE NOVEMBER 2007 ISSUE U.S.

Are some things still worth dying for? Is the American idea1 one such thing? Are you up for a thought experiment? What if we chose to regard the 2,973 innocents killed in the atrocities of 9/11 not as victims but as democratic martyrs, “sacrifices on the altar of freedom”?2 In other words, what if we decided that a certain baseline vulnerability to terrorism is part of the price of the American idea? And, thus, that ours is a generation of Americans called to make great sacrifices in order to preserve our democratic way of life—sacrifices not just of our soldiers and money but of our personal safety and comfort?

In still other words, what if we chose to accept the fact that every few years, despite all reasonable precautions, some hundreds or thousands of us may die in the sort of ghastly terrorist attack that a democratic republic cannot 100-percent protect itself from without subverting the very principles that make it worth protecting?

Is this thought experiment monstrous? Would it be monstrous to refer to the 40,000-plus domestic highway deaths we accept each year because the mobility and autonomy of the car are evidently worth that high price? Is monstrousness why no serious public figure now will speak of the delusory trade-off of liberty for safety that Ben Franklin warned about more than 200 years ago? What exactly has changed between Franklin’s time and ours? Why now can we not have a serious national conversation about sacrifice, the inevitability of sacrifice—either of (a) some portion of safety or (b) some portion of the rights and protections that make the American idea so incalculably precious?

In the absence of such a conversation, can we trust our elected leaders to value and protect the American idea as they act to secure the homeland? What are the effects on the American idea of Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, PATRIOT Acts I and II, warrantless surveillance, Executive Order 13233, corporate contractors performing military functions, the Military Commissions Act, NSPD 51, etc., etc.? Assume for a moment that some of these measures really have helped make our persons and property safer—are they worth it? Where and when was the public debate on whether they’re worth it? Was there no such debate because we’re not capable of having or demanding one? Why not? Have we actually become so selfish and scared that we don’t even want to consider whether some things trump safety? What kind of future does that augur?

FOOTNOTES:
1. Given the strict Gramm-Rudmanesque space limit here, let's just please all agree that we generally know what this term connotes—an open society, consent of the governed, enumerated powers, Federalist 10, pluralism, due process, transparency ... the whole democratic roil.

2. (This phrase is Lincoln's, more or less)

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18 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Mark from Queens's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
That guy was so brilliant, and had all the right qualities to discern modern life in America for what it really is.

I've been on a heavy trip lately exploring his essays, interviews and reading The Broom of the System.

I don't think he would have minded either.

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3 users have voted.

(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Mark from Queens No problem! Hope things are going well with you. Smile

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Amanda Matthews's picture

campaign gets a pass, we are done as a nation of laws and rights. We’re pretty that way already. This will be the “coup de grâce”*.

And it wouldn’t havebeen possible without President Hopey Changey. He was Transformational all right. And not in a good way.

Not at all.

*Dictionary.com
noun, plural coups de grâce . French.

1. a death blow, especially one delivered mercifully to end suffering.
2. any finishing or decisive stroke.
Origin: literally, blow of mercy

EDIT: added to first paragraph and added definition from Dictionary.com

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15 users have voted.

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

gulfgal98's picture

when our government is employing spies or moles or whatever they are called to spy on one campaign in order to help another campaign. We have slid down a very slippery slope into an abyss.

Take the names of individuals out of this and then consider the impact of it upon our supposed democratic institutions. This is a form of totalitarianism.

Sadly, once we have gone down that road, it is almost impossible to go back.

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16 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@gulfgal98 I have heard the rumor (unsubstantiated) that Congress is infested with people from the CIA, mostly working as staffers.

It wouldn't surprise me.

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16 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

The Aspie Corner's picture

@gulfgal98 We have never had either. Ever. And we never will as long as the cappies are in charge of everything.

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5 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Alligator Ed's picture

who, on his way out the back door of the WH, said that "at least there were no major scandals in my administration".

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9 users have voted.

The Devil's Chessboard by David Talbot. It's a biography of Allen Dulles and the history of the CIA. While the Church committee in the 70's tried to rein in the abuses of the CIA, it appears to me that it has continued its crimes against democracy without a pause.

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6 users have voted.

"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@Fishtroller 02

I agree that Talbot's book on Allen Dulles is one of the most important things all Americans should read. I wish Talbot had spent more of his book on Dulles' early career as the attorney for industrial firms that armed Hitler because that part of Dulles' legacy is still with us, the impunity with which U.S. corporations arm our enemies, as in the CIA's current support of Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, Libya and Iraq.

I also agree with you that the current shenanigans being unearthed about CIA, FBI, and DOJ dealings with respect to Clinton and Trump surveillance are reminiscent of the crimes revealed in the Church hearings. Again, the impunity is glaring. It's like, "Catch me if you can." And if you catch me, I'll stonewall and fog and act victimized and accuse you of siding with the enemy.

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4 users have voted.

@Linda Wood

Family of Secrets by Russ Baker. It is a history of the Bush family starting with Prescott, who of course was friends with Dulles and had dealings with the Nazis. It was the first book I read touching on the CIA and the fact that George H Bush was an agent starting in the 50's. The oil business was a cover. Also, he was in Dallas the day of the Kennedy assasination.

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2 users have voted.

"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin