The latest FBI/intelligence leak to the friendly reporters at the New York Times suggests that the rats are scurrying about in the hope that they might keep the ship afloat. The Times has placed this straightforward headline over the story by Adam Goldman, Michael Schmidt and Mark Mazzetti: “F.B.I. Sent Investigator Posing as Assistant to Meet With Trump Aide in 2016.” Here is how it opens:
The conversation at a London bar in September 2016 took a strange turn when the woman sitting across from George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, asked a direct question: Was the Trump campaign working with Russia?
The woman had set up the meeting to discuss foreign policy issues. But she was actually a government investigator posing as a research assistant, according to people familiar with the operation. The F.B.I. sent her to London as part of the counterintelligence inquiry opened that summer to better understand the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.
The American government’s affiliation with the woman, who said her name was Azra Turk, is one previously unreported detail of an operation that has become a political flash point in the face of accusations by President Trump and his allies that American law enforcement and intelligence officials spied on his campaign to undermine his electoral chances. Last year, he called it “Spygate.”
The decision to use Ms. Turk in the operation aimed at a presidential campaign official shows the level of alarm inside the F.B.I. during a frantic period when the bureau was trying to determine the scope of Russia’s attempts to disrupt the 2016 election, but could also give ammunition to Mr. Trump and his allies for their spying claims.
You really have to read the whole thing. These Times reporters can’t possibly be as credulous and stupid as they appear to be in this story. They must feel some of the heat that their friends in the FBI/intelligence community are feeling and are just trying to lend a hand. Molly Hemingway comments in the tweet below.
For not spying on the Trump campaign, there sure was a lot of spying on the Trump campaign.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) May 2, 2019
Kim Strassel thinks we have a mind-bending preview of coming attractions.
Unbelievable. Just how many spies did the FBI run at the Trump campaign? (BTW, no coincidence things like this are leaking now. Everyone trying to get out ahead of Barr's investigation.)
— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 2, 2019
Azra Turk — as the officer says in Dr. Strangelove, if that really is your name.
UPDATE: Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale has just issued this statement:
There is a word for this in the English language: Spying. Democrats and their media friends have expressed horror at the term, but there is no other way to describe it: The FBI spied on the Trump campaign in 2016. For two years, Democrats and their allies in the media have lied to the American people about the Russia collusion hoax, when all along the real scandal was the Obama Administration using the Justice Department to spy on a political adversary’s campaign. As President Trump has said, it is high time to investigate the investigators.
This seems to me substantially understated.
PAUL ADDS: According to the Times, “Ms. Turk” posed as Stephan Halper’s research assistant. Halper is the professor who “kept tabs” on the Trump campaign by “staying in touch” with campaign aides George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and Sam Clovis. In reality, it seems, “Turk” was sent by the Obama FBI to help Halper “keep tabs” on Trump’s campaign.
Halper was known to associates as “The Walrus.” So it looks like the CIA used the team of “Turk and The Walrus” to spy on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Imagine the fun the media would be having with that collaboration if the target of the spying had been a Democrat.