Friday, June 15, 2018

Spies from the FBI, oh my!

Since it was leaked that the FBI had an informant contact members of the Trump campaign, Trump has been trying to frame it as though his campaign was infiltrated and spied on for political purposes. This is most likely a mountain of hogwash, as it so often is when Trump opens his mouth or gets on twitter. The guy is such a glib liar that he probably only accidentally utters the truth. As a person who cares deeply about truth, I find this appalling. Trump, on the other hand, finds lies to be completely normal.

So Trump says his campaign was being spied on, and he calls it 'Spygate.' What do others, who perhaps remember what truth means, say about this?

There's an interesting contrast between this article from Huffpost and this one from Fox News. The Huffpost article focuses on a former Trump aide who's embarrassed by his conspiracy theorizing. The Fox article, starting at the headline, exaggerates the FBI operation as a 'web of informant contacts.'

If you swallow the story that this was politically motivated spying, then it looks terrible. Trump wants people to swallow that. Along those lines, Trump regularly claims that the Russia issue is a hoax, ignoring all the parts of it that are real and are known to really have occurred. Again, Trump doesn't care about the truth, just his narrative.

Trey Gowdy, as a former prosecutor, has some idea what is required in an investigation. He has spoken clearly that he supports this part of the FBI investigation:
"Based on what I have seen, I don’t know what the FBI could have done or should have done other than run out a lead that someone loosely connected with the campaign was making assertions about Russia..."
But conservatives can't agree on this, not even at National Review. To some of them, the FBI crossed a line that must not be crossed! They don't bother to say what intelligence agencies or the FBI are supposed to do when there is somewhat credible information of foreign influence on a campaign. Only that it is forbidden to investigate by covertly asking questions of the campaign.

Well, that argument is so weak that it crumbles as soon as someone asks what the FBI should do when it hears of criminal activity like hacking our elections. Critics are left sounding as though they want the FBI to 'stand down' -- not do anything. Maybe the FBI should go on twitter and label it all a hoax. Maybe the FBI no longer needs to do investigations and work to protect the US and enforce the laws, but can become a post-reality entity where truth is optional and random. But I'd kind of prefer them to continue the role they had before reality TV took over the presidency and so much of the electorate.


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