Act like a spy, talk like a spy, they'll call you an informant

Act like a spy, talk like a spy, they'll call you an informant
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The FX show, “The Americans,” just aired their series finale, putting an end to the drama that followed the lives of two KGB spies sent from Russia to live in Washington, D.C., during the Reagan administration. As spies posing as small-business owners with their two children, the two main characters, Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, befriend Americans to get information, plant information, or in some instances totally eliminate threats to their mission, all while protecting Russia.

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Decades later, in the real world, we are still dealing with this oft-times tumultuous and increasingly fragile diplomatic relationship with Russia and the issues of spying.

 

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of a spy includes:

  1. A person employed by a government to obtain secret information or intelligence about another, usually hostile, country, especially with reference to military or naval affairs.
  2. A person who keeps close and secret watch on the actions and words of another or others.
  3. A person who seeks to obtain confidential information about the activities, plans, methods, etc., of an organization or person, especially one who is employed for this purpose by a competitor: an industrial spy

If you refer to any Thesaurus it will show you the word spy is synonymous for the word informant.

Why does this all matter? #Spygate.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE has said the FBI placed someone in his campaign to gain information. It is a fact that, at the behest of the FBI, long-time operative Stefan Halper sought out the president’s campaign staff and advisers. President Trump has said that person acted in a way that would line up with the definition of a spy. That is clearly also a fact.

In the FX show, "The Americans," there are countless examples of the seemingly normal KGB agents going to a company, a Senate office, working high-level sources and never identifying themselves as who they really are in order to get information. That is what spies do. While many in the media and at the FBI want to classify Stefan Halper as an “informant,” we are essentially arguing over semantics. It seems that if you act like a spy and talk like a spy in 2018, they call you an informant.

Diction aside, the alarming issue is the fact that the FBI effectively infiltrated the campaign of the next president of the United States of America via this so-called informant, without notifying the candidate. Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySunday shows preview: 2020 Democrats jockey for top spot ahead of Nevada caucuses Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Green says House shouldn't hold impeachment articles indefinitely MORE (R-S.C.) viewed the evidence and concludes the FBI informant was not targeting then-candidate Donald J. Trump or the Trump campaign — the target was Russia. But if the Trump campaign did not do anything wrong, was not under investigation, and there was no evidence of collusion, then why not just tell the campaign manager, or Mr. Trump, what was happening?

It seemed there was a narrative to uphold, a long-term strategy of undermining this particular campaign and connecting it to some sort of unproven collusion with Russia. It could be the same reason why former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyA tale of two lies: Stone, McCabe and the danger of a double standard for justice DOJ attorney looking into whether CIA withheld info during start of Russia probe: NYT Graham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation MORE refused to publicly say what he told the president to his face, that he was not the target of any FBI investigation.

All candidates for office, on both sides of the aisle, should look at what the FBI did to the Trump campaign under the leadership of James Comey and Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeA tale of two lies: Stone, McCabe and the danger of a double standard for justice Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump Barr back on the hot seat MORE. Unchecked power always runs the risk of doing things the average American would consider an abuse of power. You can call him an informant but his actions were that of a spy. When you do not identify yourself, or what you are doing, or who you are working for, in order to get information, and would have otherwise never contacted that person, group, or campaign staffer, whether marginal or vital, you are acting as a spy — and we all know it.

Paris Dennard (@PARISDENNARD) is a communications strategist and GOP political commentator, currently serving as the senior director of Strategic Communications at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Paris served as the associate director for Coalitions at the Republican National Committee from 2009-2011 and worked in the President George W. Bush White House, most notably as The White House Director of Black Outreach.