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None Dare Call It Spying (But It Was Obviously Spying)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

We used to be able to get along. We really did. We haven’t always been able to work together – it’s difficult to find common ground when you want the polar opposite of your opponent – but at the end of a long day of fighting, people were perfectly capable of eating a meal near or even with each other. Now we can’t even agree in the obvious definition of words. 


Dictionary.com defines “spy” as:

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.

There is no possible interpretation of those definitions that does not cover what the Obama administration did to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump in 2016. Whether it was justified or not is irrelevant to the fact that spying did occur. Yet to one side of the aisle, to speak that indisputable truth is akin to declaring the moon landing was filmed by Stanley Kubrick on a soundstage in Hollywood.

When Attorney General William Barr used that word, spoke the truth, before Congress last month Democrats were outraged. Chuck Todd, host of Meet the Press and former staffer for Democratic Senator Tom Harkin’s 1992 presidential run, was beside himself. “Using the word ‘spying’ plays into the President's language and argument that the Russia investigation, to him, is just a witch hunt,” Todd said. “And every time they've brought up this allegation, there has been zero factual basis for it.”

Of course, there was plenty of “factual basis for it.” But for Chuck and others on the left wanted no part if it; it did not fit the narrative. Rather than deal with reality, they simply denied it and changed the meaning of the word. 


Former FBI Director James Comey, just after Barr’s testimony, said, “When I hear that kind of language used, it's concerning because the FBI and Department of Justice conduct court ordered electronic surveillance, I have never thought of that as spying. If the attorney general has come to the belief that that should be called spying, wow, that's going to require a whole lot of conversations inside the Department of Justice.”

There’s no need for conversations when you can simply rewrite definitions. 

But there is no question, no matter how many euphemisms they create or how many tortured word salads they toss, the intelligence community under the administration of Barack Obama used every tool they had at their disposal to spy on the Trump campaign.

They spent a year and a half running a “counterintelligence operation” that turned up nothing actionable. No arrests were made, no coordination with any foreign government occurred – nothing. They listened to phone calls, read emails, even sent in undercover agents to bait them, and zip. 

So why, after all that does the Justice Department, as a result of manipulation by the then recently fired FBI Director through leaks of government material to the New York Times, launch a Special Counsel investigation into the very same thing they’d been working covertly for a year and a half? They’d found nothing while being knee-deep in the operations of the campaign while it was happening, what did they expect to find after the fact?


The truth is they knew they’d find nothing because they’d found nothing, at least on the idea of collusion. But they needed to damage the Trump administration, and nothing in politics does that like the whiff of scandal. 

But acknowledging the dry well they’d already dug would not have allowed them the opportunity to manufacture process crimes – charges of lying to investigators during an investigation that came up dry when it was covert. They claimed a few scalps that way – General Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos. They’d broken them financially and got them to agree to plead guilty to inconsequential “lies” in order to avoid the type of lifelong financial ruination only federal prosecutors can inflict. Weird, considering the Justice Department knew everything those men had done, and that they hadn’t broken the law, because they were watching and listening the whole time. 

They got others on crimes unrelated – Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen’s tax issues, for example. 

But all the information Robert Mueller was handed on day one should have made clear there was no coordination with any foreign government during the campaign because the FBI and God knows who else had been monitoring them. 

So what took almost 2 years to come to that conclusion? Was Mueller not given everything? Did he not care? Who authorized our intelligence apparatus, both domestic and foreign, to be unleashed on political opponents of the President Obama? And what did he know, and when did he know it?


These are questions that terrify the left. So much so that they’re willing to beclown themselves by insisting no spying occurred. If they had to declare water to be dry to protect themselves, they’d do it.

Which makes working with them an impossibility. Coming at issues from different perspectives and having conflicting views of the role of government is one thing, it’s something else entirely when the two sides can’t even agree on the basic definition of words because one side is willing to change any of them when it suits their needs.

Derek is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!) and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses.

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